- The Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Nasser Kamel, participated in the Ministerial Meeting of the WestMED initiative, which took place today in Algiers.
- The WestMED initiative seeks to promote specific measures to secure a sustainable development of the maritime economy in ten Western Mediterranean countries. The UfM is closely associated to the initiative to ensure coherence and synergies with the broader Mediterranean Blue Economy agenda.
Algiers, 4 December, 2018. Ministers of the Western Mediterranean countries, together with the European Commission and the Union for the Mediterranean, adopted today a declaration to strengthen regional cooperation on the WestMED initiative. This initiative promotes the maritime economy in the Western Mediterranean, and involves 10 countries from in and outside of the EU (Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia).
The signatories agreed on a common roadmap for the development of a sustainable blue economy in the sub-basin to generate growth, create jobs and provide a better living environment for Mediterranean populations, while preserving the services performed by the Mediterranean ecosystem.
Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean said: “The Mediterranean Sea has an enormous potential and a wealth of resources that we need to optimise in a sustainable and collaborative manner in order to promote growth, jobs and investments as well as reduce poverty, whilst safeguarding healthy seas. The promotion of the blue economy in the Mediterranean region is a priority for the UfM countries. For this reason, I welcome today’s declaration, which will help us plan and build specific initiatives for a more sustainable and inclusive growth in our region”.
UfM Secretary General stressed the common work carried out in the region to strengthen the competitiveness of the ports and the maritime transport and mentioned specific initiatives such as the recent creation of the Association of Mediterranean Ports (MedPorts), and projects supported by the UfM, such as TransLogMED, LOGISMED Training Activities or OPTIMED. He also recalled the importance of tackling the issue of marine plastic pollution and highlighted the UfM-labelled project Plastic Busters, which seeks to address the entire management cycle of marine litter, from monitoring and assessment to prevention and mitigation in the Mediterranean.
The WestMED Roadmap identifies six joint priorities for action by participating countries, specifically: maritime cluster development, biodiversity and marine habitat conservation and restoration, sustainable consumption and production, development of coastal communities and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, skills development and circulation, maritime safety and the fight against marine pollution.
On the eve of the ministerial meeting, the European Commission and the Co-Presidency of the WestMED Initiative organised a stakeholder conference “Towards concrete ‘blue’ actions in the western Mediterranean”. The conference gathered 250 participants from the 10 participating countries with the aim to exchange of project ideas and promote concrete projects among regional maritime stakeholders (businesses, researchers and institutes, national and local authorities belonging to the western Mediterranean countries). The project ideas, concrete proposals and potential partnerships discussed will benefit from the support put in place by the Assistance Mechanism set up by the European Commission in 2018 to boost the implementation of the WestMED Initiative.
About the WestMED Initiative
“Towards an initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean (WestMED)” was formally adopted, together with a governance structure and framework for action, by the Ministers of the participating Member States at the Informal Ministerial Meeting of the WestMED held in Naples (Italy) on 30 November 2017.