The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), with its co-presidency, conducted a virtual consultation through the participative platform, Med Blue Economy Platform, during March 2020. Around 100 entities – including research centres and universities, public administrations, private sector, international organisations and non-governmental organisations – submitted over 350 substantial feedbacks entries, as part of the preparation process of the 2nd UfM Ministerial Meeting on Blue Economy, foreseen in 2020.
The online consultation identified urgent technical assistance needs for the Mediterranean countries, including digitalisation, integration of circular economy and application of sustainable financing. It also highlighted that the Mediterranean region is among the world’s leading tourist destinations, hosting more than 300 million tourists per year. Representing the first Blue Economy sector for income and job creation in the basin, tourism is also a driving force for young entrepreneurship and SME’s growth. By far this has been one of the most affected sectors by the COVID-19, and upcoming new norms of social distancing have been raised as priority concerned during the consultation. More than ever, UfM countries will need to position the Mediterranean as a truly ‘green’ touristic destination, taking into account aspect key to enable sustainable growth for the sector.
Participants have commended the UfM-managed Med Blue Economy Platform and called to further strengthen it to include and facilitate contacts between existing education networks, foster exchange of information including pedagogic tools, and serve as an interface for the Blue Economy mobility programs.
Inputs and results from the stakeholder consultation available in full