Conference on the blue economy of the Black Sea: stakeholders gather in Odessa to continue and deepen cooperation (14/06/2016)

Conference on the blue economy of the Black Sea: Towards better integration

The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Kistion, opened today in Odessa a high-level Black Sea stakeholder conference entitled “Conference on the blue economy of the Black Sea: Towards better integration”.

Now at its 3rd edition, this yearly event allows for in-depth debate on marine and maritime issues in the Black Sea. Participants (who are government representatives, policy makers, researchers and private stakeholders from the Black sea coastal states) can take stock of the work carried out and the results achieved over the last year, showcase successful maritime undertakings and gather new ideas for blue growth from people on the ground. The conference also seeks to help craft partnerships across sectors and interest groups, as these can maximize the economic benefits for coastal communities and coastal states' economies.

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, emphasised the need for a cooperative approach to exploiting the potential of the sea in a sustainable way: "In the EU we have already adopted an integrated approach to maritime policy – one that takes the whole "sea system" into account. This requires the different sectors – from the local level all the way up to the supranational sea-basin level – to talk to one another. Our experience in the Baltic, the Atlantic, and Adriatic-Ionian shows that when all parties agree to work together in a structured way on a few pragmatic areas, this improves the investment climate in the region. And with that come new businesses, jobs, economic growth."

Volodymyr Kistion, Vice Prime-Minister of Ukraine said: “The model of an integrated maritime policy may become our effective common response to the multi-faceted challenges we are facing today in the Black Sea region, as well as the tool to realise new opportunities which become available within the emerging phenomenon of the ‘blue economy’. Ukraine is keen to use the advanced EU expertise in this area to accelerate systemic reforms in its coastal regions, and to promote international cooperation on the basis of the shared vision, values and principles.” 

The Black Sea is an important transport corridor between Europe and Asia, a tourist destination and an emerging market with space for cooperation and sound competition. It is also a strategic region between Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Its blue economy, already plainly visible in cities like Odessa, Constanta, Varna or Istanbul, has great potential. To allow the blue economy to thrive, however, certain issues should be addressed: for instance there is room for adapting infrastructures to an innovative and global economy and improving access to the common heritage, offering high-quality services and optimizing security.

The conference seeks ways to tackle these challenges by taking all relevant parties on board, finding avenues for cooperation and identifying funding opportunities that will enable sustainable solutions.

Background

The cycle of high-level stakeholder conferences was started in Bucharest in January 2014 and carried on in Sofia in March 2015. The Black Sea coastal States are Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.

For further information

The Communication can be read at: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/fishing_rules/tacs/index_en.htm

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