Policy Background

Sustainable Blue Economy is the long-term strategy to support sustainable growth in the maritime sectors to achieve the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Several newly developed activities in the field of energy production and storage, aquaculture, desalination, coastal protection and nature development for ecosystem services have contributed significantly to this blue growth. The growing use of marine space can potentially increase the pressure on marine and coastal ecosystems. However, new design of innovative infrastructures can turn around this tendency.

An integrative ecosystem approach means that new activities induce effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning that are positive. In other words, in this approach new developments improve the current situation with adapted design to ensure that ecosystem services not only will exist for future generations, but will be multiplied. Marine spatial planning is the means to balance new activities at sea with current activities. The natural environment creates the preconditions for sustainable use.

Challenges

The Community of Practice will bring together experts from governments, research institutions, NGO’s and entrepreneurs to share knowledge, experience, ideas and to eventually realize the sustainable blue economy together. The 4 key challenges, for which marine spatial planning can be part of the solution, are:

  • Cross-border collaboration for renewable energy production & storage
  • Decarbonisation of the (blue) economy to contribute to climate goals of Green Deal
  • Multi-use of space to integrate biomass production for food/feed & non-food with for example energy production
  • Natural capital & environmental impact as boundary condition for sustainable food and energy production in the long term and to contribute to biodiversity goals of Green Deal

Expected Results

Through group dynamics and interactive discussions, we will search for (possible) answers to these challenges. This should result in recommendations concerning marine spatial planning that stimulate sustainable blue economy in balance with the marine environment while contributing to Green Deal targets.

There will be 4 CoP meetings organised throughout the project, each covering a thematic area of the sustainable blue economy, being sustainable seafood production, renewable energy production, nature-inclusive design and multi-use of space. A summary of the passed CoP meetings can be found here:

Case Study

In this learning strand, a concept of a “MariPark” will be developed and evaluated as an MSP tool to stimulate sustainable blue economy. A MariPark is conceived as a nature-inclusive business area that is equipped with basic infrastructure and where economic activities can be deployed in a controlled area with respect to security, safety and environmental impact. The MariParks should encourage investment in emerging offshore activities by providing entrepreneurs with a carefree and safe environment and by lowering the financial threshold for start-ups or SMEs to enter the offshore sector through efficiency gains.

Contacts

If you like to know more about the Sustainable Blue Economy Learning Strand or want to get involved in the Community of Practices, please contact Lien Loosvelt (e-mail: lien.loosvelt@blauwecluster.be).

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