Strategic projects: towards a better coordination of initiatives in the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean Sea has 2.5 million square kilometres, shared by 22 countries of 3 continents. It is also among the world’s busiest waterways, increasing the risks and challenges, and the subsequent need for a coordinated surveillance between so many active authorities, initiatives and programmes.
Indeed, to strive for a better action and policy coordination in the Mediterranean basin, the Interreg MED Programme approved 4 strategic projects, in October 2019. These projects will have the ambitious aim of bringing together public authorities of various regions and countries to coordinate tourism and maritime surveillance policies in the region. Indeed, a great deal of stakeholders and initiatives spread around the Sea basin call for a better coordination of actions and approaches.
When addressing the newly approved projects, Curzio Cervelli, the Interreg MED Secretariat coordinator stressed the importance of these projects for the programme territories: “You are a small community but a very important one. Your challenge is to be in contact with the mainstreaming programmes as well as national and regional policies. Your achievements will impact the whole area”.
Building notably from the outcomes of the Interreg MED thematic projects, the four projects will involve actively 39 public partners on the ground (national authorities, regions and municipalities), from 10 countries. developing pilot actions and, new coordinated action plans, organising data storage, fostering policy coordination and offering training or giving assistance to relevant authorities to improve their technical capabilities to address their challenges.
“You are a small community but a very important one. Your challenge is to be in contact with the mainstreaming programmes as well as national and regional policies. Your achievements will impact the whole area”.
What are these four projects about?
A BETTER COORDINATION AND TOURISTIC PLANNING A MORE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
The Mediterranean coasts attract large flows of tourists, mainly during the summer. Dealing with peaks of tourism flows, a phenomenon called “seasonality”, is one of the main challenges of BEST MED strategic project.
A NEW LONG-TERM VISION FOR TOURISM IN THE AREA
Mediterranean tourism business models and policies lack an integrated and long-term vision for the future of the Mediterranean destinations. There is a disconnection between tourism and wider territorial development. As a result, the region fails to attract innovative business in tourism especially during off peak seasons.
INCREASING SEA HAZARD SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITIES
Marine ecosystems are exposed to the impact of multiple stressors including climate change, pollution, maritime traffic, exploitation of living and non-living resources or invasive species. Surveillance capabilities to assess and prevent such threats and impacts is a permanent need that SHAREMED strategic project will tackle.
SIMPLIFYING SURVEILLANCE INFORMATION AND TOOLS
National authorities carrying out maritime surveillance need constant updated and accurate information and effective operational infrastructures. There is a great deal of complexity to be dealt with marine spatial information obligations stemming from European Directives, initiatives and policies, in terms of maritime surveillance and safety.
PANORAMED: ENABLING PRACTICAL GOVERNANCE ON THE GROUND
These four strategic projects are the practical application in the field of the Governance Axis 4 of the Interreg MED Programme.
Run by the PANORAMED project, the Governance Axis 4, tackles the Mediterranean area complexity in implementing joint coordinated policies between the national and regional authorities of different countries. This complexity is due to diverse geographical, economic and political contexts between the territories. In addition, agreeing on shared plans for the whole area in fields as diverse as maritime safety, transports, energy or pollution and environmental protection can be challenging.
For this reason, PANORAMED strives towards a coherent and coordinated contribution to governance processes in the Mediterranean Region, by supporting a more strategic vision of the whole area.
PANORAMED project gathers 21 ministerial and regional authorities from the Northern shores of the Mediterranean.
Led by the Spanish Ministry of Finance, the project currently focuses on two key topics: Coastal and maritime tourism, on one hand, and maritime surveillance on another. Innovation is a third topic, integrated in 2019, to be subject of a future call for strategic projects.
The core partnership (the ones implementing the project) is further completed by a set of additional partners, representing major Mediterranean organisations. These “associated” partners amplify the projects’ capacity to build complementarities and synergies, thus reinforcing its outreach on the ground.
Approved in June 2017, with a nine million-euro total budget and running until spring 2022, the PANORAMED project tries to make an impact on the territories in the long-term, giving a positive boost to new EU strategies in the Mediterranean, beyond the time length of the Interreg MED Programme.