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Strategy to improve maritime governance in the Mediterranean
The strategy adopted by the European Commission in November 2009 meets different maritime challenges (security, fisheries, aquaculture, environmental protection, climate change, etc.) facing the Mediterranean basin. It is based on improving governance of maritime affairs which should balance economic development with protection of the environment. The success of this strategy requires enhanced cooperation with the third countries concerned.
Communication from the Commission of 11 November 2009 - Towards an Integrated Maritime Policy for better governance in the Mediterranean [COM(2009) 466 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The Mediterranean basin faces conflicts concerning the use of space, risks affecting maritime security, the depletion of resources, degradation of the environment and the prejudicial effects of climate change. The solution to these common problems lies in improving governance of maritime affairs. This governance must in particular be able to ensure more sustainable growth for the region.
Promoting integrated maritime governance
In order to meet common challenges, cooperation with non-EU Mediterranean partners should be improved. However, this is not enough. Decision makers must take more account of the links between different maritime activities. They thus laid the foundations for the European Union (EU) Integrated Maritime Policy in October 2007. This new approach to maritime policy encourages them to abandon sectoral actions and promote a comprehensive strategy.
New action should in particular:
- encourage stakeholders and administrations to define more comprehensive priorities for maritime affairs;
- strengthen cooperation between stakeholders and administrations in all sectors related to the maritime field, throughout the Mediterranean basin;
- assist Member States in exchanging best practices by means of the existing Community funds for territorial cooperation;
- offer technical assistance under the European Neighbourhood Policy and Partnership Instrument to Mediterranean countries which are not members of the EU. This assistance may allow them to adopt a more integrated approach to maritime affairs;
- encourage the ratification and application of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);
- create a working group dedicated to Integrated Maritime Policy in order to promote dialogue and cooperation with non-EU Mediterranean countries;
- intensify multilateral cooperation with all sectors through specific studies and the better application of international and regional agreements governing maritime activities.
Using cross-cutting tools for integrated maritime governance
Since 2007, Integrated Maritime Policy has adopted a number of tools to promote maritime governance. These include:
- Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) which leads to better use of marine space. The Commission is to carry out a study and set up a pilot project to apply MSM in the Mediterranean;
- Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) which also concerns islands. The Commission is to draw up a (web-based) inventory of best practices in the different maritime basins and disseminate ICZM in the Mediterranean under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme;
- integrated research efforts which the Commission intends to strengthen in line with the European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research. In particular, it wishes to set up a major cross-thematic research mechanism which is specifically adapted to the Mediterranean basin;
- integrated maritime surveillance for a safer Mediterranean. Six coastal Member States are already participating in a pilot project aimed at strengthening cooperation and information exchange between the national authorities responsible for maritime monitoring and surveillance. This will improve the coherency of maritime surveillance throughout the Mediterranean basin.