Output 7.3 will be implemented by the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) and will focus on integrating circular economy principles in blue economy sectors within the framework of the Barcelona Convention and the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP).

It comprises a set of three interrelated activities:
1. Preparation of recommendations on the integration of circular economy principles in selected blue economy sectors and their mainstreaming in national and regional processes in the context of the Barcelona Convention.

2. Engagement of relevant stakeholders in dialogues to reach consensus on a shared vision of the Blue Economy for the Mediterranean and strategic actions in that sense to be included in the MAP’s forthcoming Programmes of Work (2022-2023 and 2023-2024).

3. Recognition of innovative and sustainable blue economy solutions in the 2023 edition of the Mediterranean green business award, a flagship initiative of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development.

Further details on these activities are provided below.

 

Output 7.3 will be implemented by the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) and will focus on integrating circular economy principles in blue economy sectors within the framework of the Barcelona Convention and the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP).

It comprises a set of three interrelated activities:
1. Preparation of recommendations on the integration of circular economy principles in selected blue economy sectors and their mainstreaming in national and regional processes in the context of the Barcelona Convention.

2. Engagement of relevant stakeholders in dialogues to reach consensus on a shared vision of the Blue Economy for the Mediterranean and strategic actions in that sense to be included in the MAP’s forthcoming Programmes of Work (2022-2023 and 2023-2024).

3. Recognition of innovative and sustainable blue economy solutions in the 2023 edition of the Mediterranean green business award, a flagship initiative of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development.

Further details on these activities are provided below.

 

Blue economy opportunities in the Barcelona Convention and MAP framework

The recognition of the importance of a sustainable blue economy has steadily increased within the policy framework of the Mediterranean, and the activities foreseen in SwitchMed will aim to bring additional insight on how to capitalize on blue economy opportunities within related ongoing planning processes in the region, namely the development of the UNEP/MAP Mid-Term Strategy (MTS) 2022-2027 and the mid-term evaluations of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development and the Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).

In December 2019 at their 21st Meeting (COP21), the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols adopted the Naples Ministerial Declaration, which provides guidance for the preparation of the UNEP/MAP Medium-Term Strategy (MTS) 2022 – 2027 including with respect to the blue economy and its focus on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Sustainable Tourism. Recommendations foreseen in Output 7.3 therefore have the potential to inform the development of the Blue Economy component of MTS 2022-2027.

Prior to the Naples Ministerial Declaration, an important strategic framework for the development of the Blue Economy was established in the context of the UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention through the adoption of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) 2016-2025 and the Regional Action Plan on SCP in the Mediterranean at COP19 in 2016. The “Transition towards a green and blue economy in the Mediterranean” is one of the six strategic objectives of the MSSD, and the Regional Action Plan on SCP is an integral part of its achievement. The mid-term evaluations for the MSSD and the Regional Action Plan that will be carried out in 2020 represent a valuable opportunity to reflect upon evolutions in the Blue Economy in the Mediterranean since 2016 and to readjust strategic approaches and actions, including with respect to the integration of circular economy principles in relevant blue economy sectors.

The recognition of the importance of a sustainable blue economy has steadily increased within the policy framework of the Mediterranean, and the activities foreseen in SwitchMed will aim to bring additional insight on how to capitalize on blue economy opportunities within related ongoing planning processes in the region, namely the development of the UNEP/MAP Mid-Term Strategy (MTS) 2022-2027 and the mid-term evaluations of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development and the Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).

In December 2019 at their 21st Meeting (COP21), the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols adopted the Naples Ministerial Declaration, which provides guidance for the preparation of the UNEP/MAP Medium-Term Strategy (MTS) 2022 – 2027 including with respect to the blue economy and its focus on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Sustainable Tourism. Recommendations foreseen in Output 7.3 therefore have the potential to inform the development of the Blue Economy component of MTS 2022-2027.

Prior to the Naples Ministerial Declaration, an important strategic framework for the development of the Blue Economy was established in the context of the UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention through the adoption of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) 2016-2025 and the Regional Action Plan on SCP in the Mediterranean at COP19 in 2016. The “Transition towards a green and blue economy in the Mediterranean” is one of the six strategic objectives of the MSSD, and the Regional Action Plan on SCP is an integral part of its achievement. The mid-term evaluations for the MSSD and the Regional Action Plan that will be carried out in 2020 represent a valuable opportunity to reflect upon evolutions in the Blue Economy in the Mediterranean since 2016 and to readjust strategic approaches and actions, including with respect to the integration of circular economy principles in relevant blue economy sectors.

Activity 7.3.1 Identifying strategic opportunities for the integration of circular economy principles in blue economy sectors

A set of recommendations will be prepared on the integration of circular economy principles in selected blue economy sectors and their mainstreaming in national and regional processes in the context of the Barcelona Convention. These recommendations – prepared on the basis of an assessment of existing policies, plans, publications and initiatives relevant to blue, circular and green economy models in the region – will particularly seek to identify strategic opportunities for the integration of circular economy principles within traditional and emerging blue economy sectors (i.e., through designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems). The recommendations will leverage current and forthcoming opportunities, detailing regional and national actions that could be undertaken by governments and other key stakeholders, in particular the private sector, in the Mediterranean countries and in the framework of the UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention (e.g., possible activities for inclusion in the UNEP/MAP Programme of Work for 2022-2023, modifications to consider in the context of the mid-term evaluation of the MSSD and the Regional Action Plan on SCP, …).

This activity will specially consider synergies with the work being developed under the Interreg Med Blue Growth Community under the coordination of the Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre. It will also build on the findings from the other Blue Economy outputs of SwitchMed II and other initiatives in the region, including Interreg Med Sustainable Tourism and Green Growth Communities, Plan Bleu case studies, policy recommendations and on-going activities on the blue economy, MEDPOL work on aquaculture and regional plans, implementation of the ICZM Protocol (in particular its Article 9 on economic activities), WWF’s Blue Economy Initiative, UfM Working group on the Blue Economy, BlueInvest Med, etc.

Finally, this activity will also elaborate strategic responses to the COVID-19 crisis and in particular, options to ‘Build Back Better’ by transitioning to a blue and circular economy in the Mediterranean.

Activity 7.3.1 Identifying strategic opportunities for the integration of circular economy principles in blue economy sectors

A set of recommendations will be prepared on the integration of circular economy principles in selected blue economy sectors and their mainstreaming in national and regional processes in the context of the Barcelona Convention. These recommendations – prepared on the basis of an assessment of existing policies, plans, publications and initiatives relevant to blue, circular and green economy models in the region – will particularly seek to identify strategic opportunities for the integration of circular economy principles within traditional and emerging blue economy sectors (i.e., through designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems). The recommendations will leverage current and forthcoming opportunities, detailing regional and national actions that could be undertaken by governments and other key stakeholders, in particular the private sector, in the Mediterranean countries and in the framework of the UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention (e.g., possible activities for inclusion in the UNEP/MAP Programme of Work for 2022-2023, modifications to consider in the context of the mid-term evaluation of the MSSD and the Regional Action Plan on SCP, …).

This activity will specially consider synergies with the work being developed under the Interreg Med Blue Growth Community under the coordination of the Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre. It will also build on the findings from the other Blue Economy outputs of SwitchMed II and other initiatives in the region, including Interreg Med Sustainable Tourism and Green Growth Communities, Plan Bleu case studies, policy recommendations and on-going activities on the blue economy, MEDPOL work on aquaculture and regional plans, implementation of the ICZM Protocol (in particular its Article 9 on economic activities), WWF’s Blue Economy Initiative, UfM Working group on the Blue Economy, BlueInvest Med, etc.

Finally, this activity will also elaborate strategic responses to the COVID-19 crisis and in particular, options to ‘Build Back Better’ by transitioning to a blue and circular economy in the Mediterranean.

Activity 7.3.2: Sharing the findings on the way forward for Blue and Circular economy in the Mediterranean

This activity will engage relevant stakeholders (technical experts, MCSD members, National Focal Points, …) to share the recommendations formulated in Activity 7.3.1 and provide a platform for dialogues to reach consensus on a shared vision of the Blue Economy for the Mediterranean and strategic actions in that sense to be included in the MAP’s forthcoming Programmes of Work (2022-2023 and 2023-2024). This will be accomplished through the following events and actions:

– Organisation of a joint expert workshop together with the Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre. Plan Bleu has foreseen a series of expert workshops focusing on blue economy sectors, including aquaculture. Plan Bleu and SCP/RAC will join forces to organise an expert workshop focusing on the application of circular economy principles to blue economy sectors. The Workshop will contribute to and consolidate/validate the findings of Activity 7.3.1.

– Organisation of a dedicated session at the 2021 MCSD Meeting. SCP/RAC will contribute to the organisation of a session to present the findings of Activity 7.3.1 to MCSD members and further reflect on how to strengthen the MSSD objective No 5 on “Transition towards a green and blue economy in the Mediterranean” and corresponding implications for the Regional Action Plan on SCP. Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre will be involved in the preparation of the session and will contribute with their on-going work on scaling-up blue economy innovations in the Mediterranean Region.

– Presentation/discussion of the findings at the SCP/RAC Focal Points Meeting. Every two years, SCP/RAC organises an ordinary meeting of its SCP/RAC National Focal Points, which are mainly representatives of Ministries of Environment working on SCP, Circular Economy, Green Economy, and Cleaner Production. Some of these focal points are also SwitchMed Focal Points. A dedicated session on the findings will be organized for the 2021 meeting of the SCP/RAC Focal Points.

– Presentation/discussion of the findings with the network of National Experts nominated by the countries to support the preparation of regional measures to promote the development of green and circular businesses in the Mediterranean. SCP/RAC developed this network in the framework of SwitchMed II output 3.1 and following COP Decision 24/13. It is made up of national representatives working on circular economy. A webinar dedicated to the findings will be organized to engage these experts and collect their feedback.

– Proposal of a side event at COP22 of the Barcelona Convention. A concept note on a side event to be organised at COP22 will be prepared and submitted to the Secretariat of the Convention. It will set forth a proposal for the presentation of the findings of Activity 7.3.1 with the participation of SwitchMed implementing partners and MAP components, and most particularly Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre.

This set of activities will primarily target MAP stakeholders, however, the activities organised by the Networking Facility in the framework of the Blue Economy Component will support further dissemination of the results of this output to the SwitchMed Community and other external stakeholders.

This activity will engage relevant stakeholders (technical experts, MCSD members, National Focal Points, …) to share the recommendations formulated in Activity 7.3.1 and provide a platform for dialogues to reach consensus on a shared vision of the Blue Economy for the Mediterranean and strategic actions in that sense to be included in the MAP’s forthcoming Programmes of Work (2022-2023 and 2023-2024). This will be accomplished through the following events and actions:

– Organisation of a joint expert workshop together with the Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre. Plan Bleu has foreseen a series of expert workshops focusing on blue economy sectors, including aquaculture. Plan Bleu and SCP/RAC will join forces to organise an expert workshop focusing on the application of circular economy principles to blue economy sectors. The Workshop will contribute to and consolidate/validate the findings of Activity 7.3.1.

– Organisation of a dedicated session at the 2021 MCSD Meeting. SCP/RAC will contribute to the organisation of a session to present the findings of Activity 7.3.1 to MCSD members and further reflect on how to strengthen the MSSD objective No 5 on “Transition towards a green and blue economy in the Mediterranean” and corresponding implications for the Regional Action Plan on SCP. Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre will be involved in the preparation of the session and will contribute with their on-going work on scaling-up blue economy innovations in the Mediterranean Region.

– Presentation/discussion of the findings at the SCP/RAC Focal Points Meeting. Every two years, SCP/RAC organises an ordinary meeting of its SCP/RAC National Focal Points, which are mainly representatives of Ministries of Environment working on SCP, Circular Economy, Green Economy, and Cleaner Production. Some of these focal points are also SwitchMed Focal Points. A dedicated session on the findings will be organized for the 2021 meeting of the SCP/RAC Focal Points.

– Presentation/discussion of the findings with the network of National Experts nominated by the countries to support the preparation of regional measures to promote the development of green and circular businesses in the Mediterranean. SCP/RAC developed this network in the framework of SwitchMed II output 3.1 and following COP Decision 24/13. It is made up of national representatives working on circular economy. A webinar dedicated to the findings will be organized to engage these experts and collect their feedback.

– Proposal of a side event at COP22 of the Barcelona Convention. A concept note on a side event to be organised at COP22 will be prepared and submitted to the Secretariat of the Convention. It will set forth a proposal for the presentation of the findings of Activity 7.3.1 with the participation of SwitchMed implementing partners and MAP components, and most particularly Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre.

This set of activities will primarily target MAP stakeholders, however, the activities organised by the Networking Facility in the framework of the Blue Economy Component will support further dissemination of the results of this output to the SwitchMed Community and other external stakeholders.

Activity 7.3.3: Recognizing blue economy solutions through the Mediterranean green business award

The Mediterranean green business award is one of the flagship initiatives of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development, conceived as a policy tool to encourage environmentally-friendly and social innovation among Mediterranean businesses and other stakeholders. SCP/RAC is currently preparing the first edition of this bi-annual award in the context of SwitchMed II. This inaugural edition of the award will recognize the accomplishments of green and circular economy businesses as well as public authorities that support them, with the winners receiving a combination of cash prizes and study trips/organizational twinnings. Considering the importance of a sustainable blue economy to the environmental and socioeconomic objectives of the region, the 2023 edition of the award will consider recognizing accomplishments of both businesses and public authorities that contribute to the Blue Economy. This second edition of the award will also provide an opportunity for stakeholders involved in other outputs of the SwitchMed Blue Economy component having developed successful actions to present their candidatures for the award.

Activity 7.3.3: Recognizing blue economy solutions through the Mediterranean green business award

The Mediterranean green business award is one of the flagship initiatives of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development, conceived as a policy tool to encourage environmentally-friendly and social innovation among Mediterranean businesses and other stakeholders. SCP/RAC is currently preparing the first edition of this bi-annual award in the context of SwitchMed II. This inaugural edition of the award will recognize the accomplishments of green and circular economy businesses as well as public authorities that support them, with the winners receiving a combination of cash prizes and study trips/organizational twinnings. Considering the importance of a sustainable blue economy to the environmental and socioeconomic objectives of the region, the 2023 edition of the award will consider recognizing accomplishments of both businesses and public authorities that contribute to the Blue Economy. This second edition of the award will also provide an opportunity for stakeholders involved in other outputs of the SwitchMed Blue Economy component having developed successful actions to present their candidatures for the award.