At the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) announced the creation of the Blue Mediterranean Partnership, which aims to support the development of a sustainable blue economy in the European Union’s Southern Neighbourhood countries in the Mediterranean region.
The Blue Mediterranean Partnership is the partners’ response to the commitments made at EU level to fully integrate the blue economy into the Green Deal, the priorities outlined in the EU’s new Agenda for the Mediterranean, the Union for the Mediterranean ministerial declaration on sustainable blue economy and the UfM blue economy agenda as well as to the environmental challenges faced by the Mediterranean region. This partnership has received wide political support, including from the European Commission.
It aims to bring together international donors, beneficiary countries, interested financial institutions and philanthropies to support policy reforms, attract donor funding and mobilise public and private financing for projects initially in Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.
The Mediterranean Sea basin is a recognised marine biodiversity hotspot and a vital resource of economic activities for 480 million people living in the region’s 22 countries. It is the fifth largest economy in the region after France, Italy, Spain and Turkey, generating an annual economic value of more than US$ 450 billion. However, the Mediterranean Sea’s ecosystem is under threat from habitat loss and degradation, over-fishing, pollution and climate change.
The Blue Mediterranean partnership will promote the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles (SBEFP), the world’s first global guiding framework ensuring alignment of investments with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 14 ‘life below water’.
Achieving these goals, the Partnership aims at supporting and attracting investments in the sustainable blue economy and policy reforms, prioritising innovation and including where possible, natural capital and nature-based solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation. Financing of wastewater treatment facilities, solid waste management and plastic waste reduction, will help reduce pollution going to the sea, decrease pressure on fisheries through sustainable aquaculture, improve coastal resilience investments, and reduce emissions through sustainable marine mobility.
The Blue Mediterranean partnership intends to create a new financial vehicle, pooling contributions from donors and beneficiary countries in the Southern Neighbourhood, to provide both capital expenditure and technical assistance grants for sustainable blue economy projects, that will help close an estimated €6 billion investment gap in the next 8 years.