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Mare Nostrum: BlueMed draws up a strategic agenda for the blue economy

Dal 22/02/2021 ore 16.30 al 24/02/2021 ore 12.00

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BlueMed final conference
BlueMed final conference

During the final conference of the EU project, coordinated by the Cnr, the priorities of the Agenda discussed by all 22 states bordering the Mediterranean will be presented. The project has worked for four years to define the priorities for the protection and sustainable economy of the basin. Focus on pollution, fishing and global warming. During the meeting, streamed from 22 to 24 February, the results of Snapshot, a Cnr project that quantified the effects of lockdowns on marine and coastal ecosystems in Italy, will also be presented

Pollution, sustainable fishing, global warming and coastal erosion. These are some of the challenges at the centre of the strategic agenda of the BlueMed project, coordinated by the National Research Council of Italy (Cnr) and financed by the European Union with 3 million euros, as part of the Horizon 2020 programme. The results of the project, the aims and priorities of the agenda will be presented and discussed from 22 to 24 February, during the final online conference that will be broadcast from the digital hub organised at the Cnr headquarters in Rome (  

The BlumeMed project lasted four years and involved 9 countries (France, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy) and 11 partners, but involved all 22 Mediterranean countries from three different continents. "Each country has a different perception of what the most important problems are because of the different nature of its territory, the different incidence of historical anthropogenic impacts on its territory and, finally, because of different cultures," says Fabio Trincardi, director of the Cnr's Department of Earth System Sciences and Environmental Technologies (Cnr-Dsstta) and coordinator of the project. "For this reason, BlueMed was first and foremost a great adventure that led us to establish, in a participatory manner, a strategic agenda for the blue economy of the Mediterranean, with thirteen common priorities and an implementation plan that also defines how and in what timeframe the priorities can be achieved.

Among the priorities identified, marine litter is at the forefront. “The Mediterranean Sea represents 1% of the global ocean surface but accumulates 7% of the total amount of microplastics present in the marine environment, so much so that it is considered a real plastic trap," explains Fedra Francocci, researcher at the Cnr Institute for Anthropogenic Impacts and Sustainability in the Marine Environment (Cnr-Ias), who is in charge of a specific initiative of the BlueMed project dedicated to this topic. “In 2018, we launched the BlueMed Pilot, in which the 11 BlueMed countries collaborate on: monitoring the distribution of plastics and impact on ecosystems; preventing the dispersion and removal of plastics from seas and rivers; integrated management of waste and water management systems; circular economy for the valorisation of waste and design of new materials and products thought from the beginning also with respect to their end-of-life; communication, training and actions on policies and funding.” 

Sustainable fishing and safeguarding biodiversity are also on the political agenda. “Our basin has suffered decades of overfishing, which has led many of the most valuable fish populations to fall below their reproductive capacity,” Trincardi points out.  "This situation has been made more difficult by the arrival of so-called 'alien' species from warmer seas, which, due to global warming, are able to take root and supplant native species. We also consider that global warming is affecting the coasts, and the blue economy will have to take this into account because the recurrence of extreme weather events will increase, coastal erosion will increase, and the process of desertification of coastal plains will advance, aggravated by the action of man who extracts fresh water from the subsoil, encouraging subsidence and the entry of salt water from the sea”.

Complex issues, therefore, requiring unified efforts. “The novelty of the BlueMed project is that it has addressed these problems by involving all the Mediterranean countries and sending a clear message to Europe: the whole of Europe is Mediterranean because the Mediterranean is a common area, as demonstrated by traffic, tourism and trade. Therefore, the whole of Europe is called upon to act to maintain and improve the quality of the ecosystems of this basin,” concludes the director of Cnr-Dsstta.

Finally, the conference will present the preliminary results of the Snapshot interdisciplinary project, promoted by BlueMed and coordinated by Mario Sprovieri, research director at Cnr-Ias. Some of the effects of the pandemic-related lockdown on Italian marine-coastal ecosystems will be shown, including: a 30-50% reduction in underwater noise in the Venice lagoon area, a decrease of about 30-80% in the quantity of several contaminants in various areas of the country, and a net decrease (in the order of 30%) in the load of organic matter from land to sea at several sites analysed.

Access to the conference: registration 
The conference is free of charge. To attend, please register at
Sessions will be streamed on BlueMed's Youtube channel and recorded. Participants will also be able to connect via the interactive Gotowebinar platform, subject to additional registration (details will be communicated to participants by email). Interpretation will also be available.

Organizzato da:

Referente organizzativo:
Fabio Trincardi

Ufficio stampa:
Cecilia Migali
Ufficio stampa Cnr

Modalità di accesso: registrazione / accredito

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