Spanish BlueMissionMed National HUB in action!

Spanish BlueMissionMed National HUB in action!

coordinated by the organizations IEO-CSIC, Medwaves, Ecorys
Mobilising Spanish stakeholders towards the implementation of transformative innovative solutions for the EU Mission Ocean and Waters within the Mediterranean basin

23 May 2024 from 11.00 to 13.00 CEST, Valencia

SYSTEMIC TRANSFORMATIONS TO ADDRESS MARINE POLLUTION – Great success at the BlueMissionMed Spanish Hub event at at MARLICE 2024!

The ambitious and broad goals set out by the Mission to Restore our Oceans and Waters by 2030 requires multi-scale actions spanning both natural and human systems. In this context, transformative and systemic transformation is needed to allow for the creation of new systems and models, promoting continuous dialogue between quadruple helix stakeholders, and therefore enabling the dynamic transformation of services and business models required to achieve the Mission Oceans and Waters objectives.

The Spanish HUB, as a territorial multistakeholder community tasked with implementing the activities and priorities of the Mission, is organizing its 2nd workshop. This workshop will introduce the concept of transformative change as a lever to achieve the Mission Oceans and Waters objectives, particularly focusing on marine and water pollution prevention. It aims to foster discussion among different types of stakeholders to gain a better understanding of what is still needed to unlock such transformations at Mediterranean level.

The session “Systemic Transformations To Address Marine Pollution” is conceived as a participatory working session within the activities of the Spanish Hub of the BlueMissionMed project. The aim of the session is to present and promote the selection of the most suitable innovative and transformative solutions for implementation within the framework of the EU Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters” in the Mediterranean basin.

Francina Moya (IEO-CSIC), Irene Alonso (Ecorys), and Ignasi Mateo (Medwaves) moderated the session and gave a general introduction, while Araceli Martín (IEO-CSIC) was in charge of participant registration logistics, photographs, and notes on the session.

The event started with the presentation of the Mission Ocean and Waters, the Mediterranean Lighthouse, the BlueMissionMed project, the necessity and advantages of different stakeholders and actors adhering to the Mission Charter, the Spanish Hub, and the objectives of the session, to the audience composed by local and regional authorities, associations of category, NGOs, students, educators, researchers, and SMEs for an audience of about 37 people attending in presence.

The focus of the discussion was on the innovative and transformative solutions previously selected by the Spanish Hub for this event. The first project presented was the SEARCULAR project by Oihane Cabezas Basurto, senior researcher from AZTI. The solutions this project is working on, such as improving the management of end-of-life fishing gear, the pyrolysis of gear to obtain oils and the use of recycled or biodegradable materials for the manufacture of different fishing gear, involve direct contact with producers, manufacturers, and users of this gear.

Secondly, Stefania Campogianni, project manager on Plastic Pollution for WWF Mediterranean, presented the Plastic Smart Cities project: A global urban initiative to tackle plastic in nature. Stefania explained the framework that cities wishing to join this initiative must follow, described the focus areas of the project aimed at reducing the unnecessary use of plastic and provided an overview of the different cities that have joined this initiative, presenting practical cases from some of them.

David Ponce, European Projects Manager at the AITIIP Foundation, presented the UPSTREAM project and the circular and bio-based solutions for the definitive prevention of plastics in rivers, integrated with removal and monitoring technologies.

Tupa Rangel, coordinator of Plastic Free Balearics at Save the Med, presented the solution “Incentivizing the reduction of single-use plastics in Balearic Islands” and the environmental quality certification for the HORECA sector (hospitality, restaurant and catering), which managed to eliminate more than 16000 Kg of plastics in the Balearic Islands during its pilot phase. The certification is an indicator based on five criteria to replace plastics with increasingly sustainable alternatives. Currently, there are 186 certified companies in the Balearic Islands.

Ultimately, Andreu Dalmau, project technician at the organization SUBMON, presented different marine environmental education projects and awareness campaigns. The initiatives aim to promote a positive change in the relationship between society and the ocean through actions that bring citizens closer to the issues, dissemination (knowing to preserve), and experiential methods (on the streets and beaches) as well as in classrooms. Andreu explained that the campaigns target both coastal schools and those in areas far from the sea because their actions and management also have direct effects on the marine environment.

During the participatory session using the Mentimeter app, all attendees participated in an interactive exercise by answering a series of questions that helped gather information on key points of each solution presented:

  • Barriers or resistances to implementation.
  • Opportunities or facilitators for the success of the solution.
  • Needs for applying the solution.

Finally, some questions were asked to try to understand which solution would have the greatest impact on the participant’s sector and which would be the easiest to implement in terms of resource/time/effort efficiency.

There were questions and comments to the different solutions that were answered and discussed between the audience and the speakers. The event highlighted the willingness of stakeholders to collaborate, revealing that while there are still many barriers to implementing solutions, there are also numerous opportunities to achieve the objectives of the EU Oceans and Waters Mission.

Find the agenda here.