30 November 2017 – The Ministers of the Western Mediterranean Countries met today in Naples for supporting and promoting the initiative for the sustainable development of the Blue Economy in the Western Mediterranean: a common set of actions aiming at pursuing the goal of a cleaner, safer, more secure and productive maritime common area.
Ministers agreed on the governance system of the West Med Initiative and decided that its steering Committee will be co-chaired by Algeria and France in 2018, France and Morocco in 2019 and Morocco and Italy in 2020. The informal meeting was concluded with the adoption of a joint declaration signed by the ten participating Countries (Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia).
Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries stated that: "The Ministerial Declaration adopted today shows the political intention of the participating Countries to promote a sustainable development in the Western Mediterranean Region. We need to join our efforts in order to create a safe, secure and cleaner Mediterranean sea. If we also intend to create new jobs and favor a safe, secure and sustainable blue economy , we should continue to work in the same direction; and it is nice to see that both the EU partner Countries of the Union for the Mediterranean and the Countries situated in the South of the EU, are accepting this initiative with the same conviction”.
Graziano Delrio, the Italian Minister of Infrastructures and Transport , stated that: “Geography is a destiny and geography cannot be set aside: the Mediterranean is part of the destiny shared by the ten Countries which today agreed with the European Union (EU) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) on the fact that its environmental protection and development are essential for our future. In order to make an important contribution to the global and sustainable growth of our societies, we strive to turn the Mediterranean Sea into an area of peaceful and sustainable development at social, economic and environmental level. We need to ensure that this common geographic destiny will be a trigger for a welfare policy for all the people in this geographic area”.
Fathallah Sijilmassi, the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, stated that: "The blue economy is a driving force for promoting sustainable development and job creation in the Mediterranean Region, thus contributing to human development, regional integration and stability. We are here today to join our common efforts for enhancing cooperation at regional and sub-regional levels, in order to promote a shared and positive agenda for the implementation of concrete initiatives and projects in the Mediterranean Sea”.
EU Conference on the blue economy
The EU Conference on the blue economy was held in parallel with the Transport Ministerial Meeting. The Conference gathered more than 400 participants from 30 Countries, representing national, regional and local authorities, the private sector, international organizations, universities and the civil society’s organizations dealing with marine and maritime issues. The interested parties discussed on the opportunities and challenges faced by the blue economy’s sectors in the Mediterranean and on the way of boosting economy and job creation.
At the conclusion of the Conference’s plenary session, the Secretary of the Union for the Mediterranean and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM-FAO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on sustainable fishing.
West Med Initiative Information Document
In 2015, the Ministers of the Union for the Mediterranean agreed on “ the need for the Mediterranean Sea to make the best possible use of its blue economy’s potential for promoting the sustainable blue growth, jobs, investments and reducing poverty, while at the same time ensuring healthy seas”. The Ministerial Declaration issued by the Union for the Mediterranean invited all the participating Countries to explore ways of cooperation at sub-regional level. In 2016, the Ministers for the Foreign Affairs of Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia have concluded a partnership agreement in the Western Mediterranean. In response to this strategy, in April 2017, the European Commission launched the initiative for the sustainable development of the Blue Economy in the Western Mediterranean Region.
The goals of the West Med Initiative are as follows:
• a safer and more secure maritime space;
• better governance of the sea;
• a smart and resilient blue economy.
The blue economy provides a huge potential for promoting job creation and investments in the Mediterranean, and therefore for fostering regional development and political stability. This potential can be fully exploited only through a close cooperation in the maritime and marine sectors between all the Mediterranean Countries.
For further details: