29-30 March 2023, Barcelona – The UfM took part in Barcelona REACT 2023 Economic Reactivation Days, organized by the Barcelona City Council since 2021. REACT is the meeting point for Barcelona’s economic sectors, bringing together experts, and local, national and international leaders, to reflect on the next decade’s economic outlook and on key ongoing projects at local level.
A valuable opportunity to exchange on regional and local experiences, best practices, and lessons learned, UfM Deputy Secretary General for Water, Environment, and Blue Economy, Almotaz Abadi, took part in a session on ‘The blue economy in Barcelona, placing the Sea on the city’s agenda.
A driving force in the Mediterranean region, Sustainable Blue Economy holds great potential to boost the sustainable development of maritime traditional and emerging economic sectors; Support livelihoods by creating new and quality ‘blue’ jobs across the region (including for youth, women, vulnerable coastal communities; and linking also to the hinterland); attract sustainable ‘blue’ investments and develop the related innovation potential; address climate change; Ensure the health of marine and coastal ecosystems while protecting the crucial environmental services they provide; and to play a central role in driving the twin blue and green transitions at Mediterranean level.
Barcelona is home to a rich blue economy ecosystem and is increasingly becoming an international hub for sustainable blue economy players. In this context, the UfM recently signed an MoU with the Barcelona-based World Ocean Council (WOC) to boost private sector engagement and stewardship in the Mediterranean Sustainable Blue Economy. The city of Barcelona also launched its Blue Economy strategy in 2021 (Learn more on the Mediterranean Blue Economy Stakeholder platform managed by the UfM Secretariat).
Linking and sharing best practices and experiences between leading local blue economy ecosystems and the ongoing work at UfM/regional level is essential to boost the sectors and activities of the Mediterranean Sustainable Blue Economy, as well as to bring stakeholders together, and to better converge and coordinate efforts. This is also valuable to identify new capacity-building opportunities and to foster discussions around the replication potential in other areas of the Mediterranean of successful initiatives, projects, programmes, and processes.
The Session also provided an opportunity to share the UfM’s experience at regional level in the framework of the 2021 UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy and the Roadmap for its implementation – a milestone in the region. DSG Abadi further shared recent updates on the Mediterranean Blue Finance process; stressed the important potential of ‘blue skills, careers, and jobs’ at regional level and in the framework of the UfM’s Sustainable Blue Economy dossier; and recalled key upcoming dates including the 2nd UfM Sustainable Blue Economy Stakeholder Conference due to take place in early 2024.