Regional Workshop: Towards Data-Driven Sustainability of the Mediterranean Blue Economy

Plan Bleu is organizing a regional workshop entitled “Towards Data-Driven Sustainability in the Blue Economy of the Mediterranean” on November 23, 2023, in Marseille (France).

As the Mediterranean blue economy continues to evolve, it is necessary to have a comprehensive and in-depth framework that goes beyond the current indicators to understand the sustainability of this economy. The main objectives of this workshop are :

  • Collaboratively develop a transition framework for a sustainable blue economy.
  • Assess the options and feasibility of monitoring progress towards a sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean and detail the key next steps.
  • Identify indicators, data, and insights that enhance the long-term monitoring capacity of the sustainability of the blue economy. The outcomes of the workshop will also feed into the UNEP/MAP Blue Plan’s Regional Observatory on Environment and Sustainable Development.
  • Serve as a collaborative platform to define priorities, shared aspirations, and collective strategies for progressing towards a sustainable blue economy at the Mediterranean level.

This event targets a diverse audience from the South, North, and East of the Mediterranean, including researchers, policymakers, international organizations, civil society, industry leaders, and many other Mediterranean stakeholders involved in the challenges of the blue economy. The workshop will take place over one day, with the option for participation in person or remotely. After an introductory session where a first version of a scoping study to develop a Mediterranean pilot on measuring the sustainability of the Mediterranean blue economy will be presented, the workshop will be divided into two round-table discussions:

  • Expansion of the indicator framework (technical/academic session): This session will detail indicators and measures that go beyond traditional economic metrics and that can be used to monitor the interaction between economic activities and their environmental and societal implications. The goal is to preselect and discuss the feasibility of obtaining and using indicators to monitor the sustainability of the blue economy sectors in the region, taking into account the interrelationships between sectors.
  • Inclusive stakeholder engagement (institutional session): This second session will promote a collaborative and inclusive approach to measuring the sustainability of the blue economy in the Mediterranean. It will involve a wide range of stakeholders (government agencies, private sector entities, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and local communities) in order to build consensus and gain their unique perspective and expertise.


9:00 am – 10:00 am Introduction

François Guerquin (Director, Plan Bleu): opening on the Blue Plan’s ambition to “Measure and monitor the sustainability of the blue economy”

Patricia Marti Puig (Oceanogami): Presentation of preliminary results of a “Scoping study to develop a Mediterranean pilot on measuring the sustainability of the Mediterranean blue economy”

Chris McOwen and Emma Lockerbie (UNEP – WCMC): Presentation of the WCMC framework for measuring the sustainability of the blue economy

10:00 am – 10:15 am Coffee Break

10:15 am – 12:30 pm Session 1 : Expansion of the indicator framework

With: Antoine Lafitte (Plan Bleu), Julie Idoux (DIRM – Direction Interrégionale de la Mer – France), Jérémie Fosse (eco-union), Karolina Zubel (CASE), Phoebe Koundouri (Faculty of Economics, Athens University of Economics and Business), Stella Tsani (Department of Economics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), Yeganeh Farouheshfar (EMEA), Frédérick Herpers (Stratégies Mer et Littoral), Emma Heslop (IOC-UNESCO)

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch Break

1:00 pm – 3:45 pm Session 2: Inclusive Stakeholder Engagement

With: Representative from DGNEAR (Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations – DGNEAR, European Commission), representative from DGMARE and JRC, Alessandra Sensi and Adriana Salazar (Union for the Mediterranean), Roberta De Palma (UNIDO), Samir Grimes (WestMed National Hub Algeria), Cherif Sammari (GSO-BlueMed-Tunisia), Mahdi Khomsi (BusinessMed)

3:45 pm – 4:00 pm Coffee Break

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm Closing by François Guerquin, Director of Plan Bleu, and Lina Tode, Deputy Director.

Moderation : Constantin Tsakas (Plan Bleu)

In the Mediterranean region, there are considerable opportunities and challenges to achieving a sustainable blue economy. The Plan Bleu plays a crucial role in preserving the environment in the Mediterranean. Its goal is to establish a framework aimed at promoting the sustainability of the blue economy in the region. The observatory of Plan Bleu has evolved, enabling monitoring of the blue economy’s progress and providing reports on the implementation of the sustainable development strategy in the Mediterranean to the contracting parties of the Barcelona Convention. This observatory serves as a support for decision-making by structuring the Indicators related to marine and spatial planning. Given that the blue economy in the Mediterranean is constantly evolving, it is necessary to develop more relevant indicators. Current approaches often present fragmented perspectives on sustainability, partly due to limited data availability and/or a lack of consensus on what the blue economy encompasses. In this context, Plan Bleu envisages an integrated assessment framework, particularly in line with the 2016-2025 strategy for sustainable development in the Mediterranean.

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