Under the BLUEfasma Project which is funded by Interreg MED Programme 2014-2020 in cooperation with DCarbon Egypt and the support of the Circle the MED Forum, a conference was held in Cairo on during 27 and 28 June entitled “Shaping a Circular Blue Economy in the Mediterranean” in both physical and online formats. The conference discussed ways to enhance interactions between the main actors in the sectors of the blue economy from both sides of the Mediterranean, to identify common challenges and opportunities and to share best practices for the transition to a circular economy. Tools, methods, and recommendations to increase the capacity for innovation were presented. Experts from Brussels, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco along with representatives of many countries around the Mediterranean participated in the conference. The attendees concluded with the importance of working to activate a strong cooperation to implement key elements of the blue economy: preserving the marine environment and developing sustainable fisheries.
The panel “Regional cooperation for a Circular Blue Economy in the Mediterranean” welcomed representatives of DG MARE, the UfM, MedWaves, EEAA Egypt and the BLUEMED initiative to discuss about current and future plans and initiatives shaping the Circular Economy transition in both shores of the Mediterranean. The panel “Boosting public-private partnerships for a Circular Blue Economy” followed, examining challenges and potentialities of public-private partnerships, insights and experiences to identify barriers and opportunities related to circular blue economy entrepreneurship and public investments. In the next session entitled “Challenges and opportunities of the Fisheries sector in Egypt” the panelists focused on the challenges faced by the fishing industry in Egypt due to lands’ deterioration and high competition with the agriculture sector. The impact of the rising costs of exploitation and the impact of climate change were also discussed as strong elements impacting the sector. During the last session “How can circular practices benefit the economy?” projects’ results funded by Interreg MED, ENI-CBC and EEA Grants were presented including best practices and innovative tools enabling the circular transition and increased innovation performance were presented.
The first day was concluded with Mr. George Kremlis President of Circle the Med Forum, Principal Advisor to the Greek Prime Minister for energy, climate, environment and circular economy, Honorary Director, EC, mandated by DG ENV for Circular Economy and Insularity, who pointed out that “it is important to establish in this difficult time a strong blue economic system in the Mediterranean to preserve the marine environment”. Mr. Kremlis emphasized that the Mediterranean is threatened by the climate change crisis, and we place great hopes on the upcoming COP 27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh, which Egypt will organize next November.
On the second day, the participants had the chance to gain on-site “blue economy experience” on a field visit. Participants visited a small pilot project of an aquaponics farm, in the peripheral Cairo.