The CPMR Intermediterranean Commission co-organized and participated in the Blue Growth Community’s 6th capitalization and community-building event. This major conference on “Strengthening the Science-Practice-Policy Interface in Blue Growth” took place on 16th & 17th April 2019 in Marseille, France.
Organised by the Blue Growth Project (Interreg MED), which includes the CPMR-IMC as a key partner, the event gathered about 80 participants from both sides of the Mediterranean representing a wide diversity of stakeholders from researchers to policymakers and contributors from blue economy sectors. The CPMR-IMC contributed to sharing and identifying better methods and tools for successful knowledge and technology transfer to practice and policy-making.
The first day of the event was dedicated to addressing the main barriers for innovation in the Blue Economy, such as the difficult access to finance for projects coming from emerging sectors, regulatory uncertainty or the lack of understanding between inventors and investors. Presentations from Blue Growth Community actors illustrated the key role of clusters in supporting cross-linkage and communication between the civil society, academia, the private sector and decision-makers to tackle these challenges and meet market expectations.
In a session dedicated to decision-makers’ viewpoints, the CPMR-IMC presented, amongst others, the last developments of Co-Evolve (Interreg Med) and MedCoast4BG (Union for the Mediterranean labeled) projects resulting from a long capitalization process stemming from the Bologna Charter. This Charter aims at strengthening the role of coastal administrations in the context of European policies and initiatives at the Mediterranean scale regarding coastal protection, integrated coastal zone management, and adaptation to climate change. It also helps to get access to diversified funding resources with a high capacity of mainstreaming and therefore constitutes a true tool and good practice in terms of linking science to policy and practice.
The first day ended with a focus on the further scientific developments required to enhance the development of the Blue economy in the Mediterranean region, and the limitations of current policies. Various ideas, tools, and initiatives were presented by contributors from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) and the EU Commission’s Joint Research Center at Ispra (Italy). Respectively, underlining current gaps in some blue sectors in terms of policy and implementation coordination, but also presenting efficient tools for the further development of the blue economy through regional smart specialization strategies and the mainstreaming of European funds. Representatives from the BlueMed Initiative, the WestMed Initiative Assistance Mechanism’s French National Hub, and the Union for the Mediterranean completed the discussions, presenting their respective works and aiming at true coordination between governance actions throughout the Mediterranean and in an inclusive way.
Funding, education, and training for Blue Growth
The second day of the event was first dedicated to funding issues with a debate around ways to improve funding research programs for blue sectors and paths to facilitate access to research finance and innovation projects.
Tools and practices regarding awareness raising for innovative education and training models towards a more efficient Science-Practice-Policy interface were shared during the second session of the day.
Two round-tables allowed the participants to exchange views about the themes that will compose the Blue Growth Community Summer School program taking place from 1st to 5th of July 2019 in Kotor, Montenegro.
Finally, it came to the conclusion that the integration of science into policy and practice to support evidence-informed decision-making is essential in order to foster the blue economy. The coordination and complementarity between initiatives and strategies are also key to ensure a true impact on the territories, as well as the sustainability of tools over time.
Through this event, the CPMR-IMC contributed to establishing a platform for researchers, investors, funders, the industry, the public, and private sectors and other stakeholders to bridge science to policy and practices frameworks through the exchange of knowledge and data, with the final aim to tackle sea and land-based challenges jointly.
Make sur to SAVE THE DATE for the Blue Growth Community Summer School – Next July 01-05, 2019 in Kotor, Montenegro