Ministers from the 42 Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) countries have agreed to intensify their efforts towards a sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean. Doing so, they want to promote the recovery of the region’s economies from the COVID-19 crisis, and address the environmental and climate challenges.

Six years after the first Union for Mediterranean Ministerial Declaration on Blue Economy, Ministers adopted today a new declaration, firmly committing to cooperate closely and address joint challenges in key blue economy sectors. They agree to promote transformative policies and tools such as maritime clusters or maritime spatial planning, and support the overall shift towards low-emission technologies and circular blue economy. New joint activities and projects will be set up on a wide range of issues, including “blue skills”, marine litter, marine renewable energies and nature-based tourism.

The Ministerial Conference tool place virtually, under the co-presidency of the European Union and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in the presence of Nasser Kamel, UfM Secretary General.

From the declaration, as regards marine research and innovation, skills, careers and employment the Ministers are concerned about the disparities in research and innovation and their potential impact on the sustainable development of blue economy in the region and about the mismatch between the skills of the labour force and the evolving needs of the industry, as well as a shortage of attractive jobs in the sector (...) Ministers reaffirm then the need to invest in socioeconomic observatories and provide scientific evidence to support integrated approaches to the development of the sustainable blue economy and that research and innovation investments at all levels are needed to address key challenges of the region, provide tailor-made solutions for society (...) as well as the need to prioritize education, vocational training and scientific capacity. They call for (...) the continuation and further development of the Copernicus marine service to  tackle coastal challenges (...) and to stakeholders to work together in sector-specific partnerships to develop and implement strategies to address skill gaps and promote decent work and tailored training for blue economy sectors.

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