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Progress

The mission of the Facility for Blue Growth is to establish and maintain an efficient and effective support Facility structure to identify and engage stakeholders with potential to contribute to the regional dialogue on blue growth and foster Blue Economy development in the Black Sea region and provide with capacity building support on concrete project development and consistent application of maritime approaches in the coastal countries which is to be accomplished through the implementation of distinct activities presented below. 

In its 1st year of operation, the Facility proceeded with the implemenation of the following activities:

Support to establish and/or maintain national cross sectoral structures on maritime affairs

In order identify relevant stakeholders for the cross sectoral maritime policy making the Facility proceeded with the update of the relevant stakeholders scoping list per country. Stakeholders were identified by the Facility which utilised the organisation of national workshops and the collaboration of National Focal Points (NFPs). All changes occurred in the NFPs of Romania, Ukraine and Russia were noted by the Facility and the list was accordingly updated.

The Facility’s experts carried out six country missions to establish solid connection with the NFPs and promote the Facility’s scope of work on the promotion of each country’s maritime issues and relevant goals. Further to this, the Facility managed to successfully organise 4 national workshops in Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Georgia before the European Maritime Day Conference (EMD - May 2018), as it was set in the original planning, and another one in Romania. All national workshops aimed at raising awareness on the Facility’s scope of work and the importance of supporting the national blue economy and regional cooperation.  The Facility, having identified the ‘sustainable small-scale cruising’ as an area with development potential, managed to organise in this respect, a significant workshop as an integral part of the Georgian International Maritime Forum (September 2018). Overall, the Facility successfully implemented of 5 out of the 7 foreseen national workshops.

The Facility following the preliminary visits of its experts, desk research and background information, proceeded with blue economy assessment for each country; following input from the participants in the national workshops the country fiches were finalised.

Raise awareness in the region of the added value of a coordinated approach to maritime affairs

During the first year of operation, the Facility has successfully undertaken the support to the Black Sea Maritime Steering Committee in terms of organisation and logistical support to the Steering Committee’s meetings. In total 4 meetings have been held with the presence of the members of the Project Team; the first one related to the preparation of a background document on maritime issues, whereas the following two were focused on the finalisation of the document to be co-signed in Burgas (Burgas Declaration).

As regards the three foreseen thematic workshops, the Facility has already implemented the first one by being present during the EMD (May 2018, Burgas); it supported DG MARE and the Bulgarian government with the  setup of the ministerial meeting and undertook all necessary preparatory activities to achieve the maximum networking results at the conference, thus a stand was booked at the EMD which was visited by Commissioner Vella and a specific workshop titled “Strategic cooperation for Blue Growth” providing an overview of the financial sources available to support innovation in the Blue Economy as well as the challenges and opportunities they provide to stakeholders, was held with the participation of significant international speakers. The thematic workshop is being planned for mid March 2019 to be held in Istanbul, Turkey with the collaboration of BSEC.

Develop knowledge about potential growth in the Blue Economy

The Facility has been working towards developing knowledge on selected areas with blue growth potential; so far the study concepts include funding and financing mechanisms, marine research, education and innovation. In specific the following two study concepts are being developed: Marine Research Strategy and Small-Scale Cruise.

In terms of blue growth knowledge management, the Facility established, maintains and continuously updates a Monitoring database for projects financed in the Black Sea region. The database already includes 100 projects and is expected to be uploaded on the dedicated session of the Maritime data hub in early January 2019.

Guidance to project conception

Through its activities the Facility has successfully accomplished to inform interested stakeholders about available funding and financial opportunities on national, EU and international level. The Facility’s goal is to further promote the actual implementation of related projects with the second round of national workshops, following the countries’ priorities and areas of cooperation set in the first round of workshops. The Facility’s scope of upcoming activities has already been communicated through the second workshop in Georgia (September 2018) were the project concept of small-scale cruising was presented and thoroughly discussed.