The Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea (CMA) 2020 Regional Stakeholder Conference is the first regional event organised following the signature of the Bucharest Ministerial Declaration in May 2019 and the subsequent launch of the CMA implementation in February 2020, under the Bulgarian yearly coordination.
The conference builds on the main outcomes of the previous regional stakeholder event held in Istanbul in March 2019, with its main outcome being the establishment of a list of potential projects that could feed the CMA implementation. The current context is rather unusual and obliges CMA countries to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to be able to identify a recovery response that can support resilient and sustainable development of blue economy sectors in the region.
Consequently, the objective of the 2020 Regional Stakeholder Conference is to jointly examine, in the light of the above-mentioned context and identified blue economy sectors, the outcomes of regional stakeholders events held in 2019, in order to take stock of the elements that can be retained to develop blue economy flagship projects in the years ahead. In this scope, cooperation with the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for the Black Sea and the Black Sea CONNECT project are of paramount importance and are well integrated into the conference contents. The event also aims to mobilise regional stakeholders, as they play a crucial role in the complex process of flagship projects identification and implementation. The event will provide them with an important opportunity to share their experience, exchange views and provide their concrete contribution with a regional and national perspective. The process aims to be bottom-up and collective: CMA national coordinators and policy stakeholders need to work together with the involved blue economy actors – public authorities, academia, business, civil society – in order to jointly shape flagship projects.
The conference will revolve around three main elements, starting with a high-level panel discussion on challenges and opportunities for a sustainable and resilient blue economy in the Black Sea in the new pandemic context. With this input, concrete project discussions will be kicked-off under three specific thematic sessions: coastal and maritime tourism, maritime transport, and fisheries and aquaculture. These are some of the most relevant sectors for the region in terms of gross value added and jobs creation that have been mostly impacted by COVID-19. Digitalisation and circular economy will be included in all three thematic sessions as essential transversal drivers to boost sustainable activities while enhancing resilience. As a final but key element, the conference will debate on the different streams of financing opportunities.