Sustainable Blue Economy in the Mediterranean region

Union for the Mediterranean
Published: 02 December 2021
Last edited: 02 December 2021
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The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization of 42 countries,  bringing together all countries of the European Union and 15 countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.It is a unique framework for cooperation and dialogue in the Mediterranean region with a clear mandate to foster regional cooperation and integration with a view to improve stability and social well-being.The objective is to foster regional dialogue and reinforce action around the shared priority areas of blue economy identified through the UfM Ministerial Declarations on Sustainable  Blue Economy adopted by the 42,together with the governance structure set up to manage them and the stable mechanisms for stakeholders ‘involvement (through the Med Blue Economy Platform; regular Stakeholders Conferences and Consultations; etc.)

The 2nd UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy was adopted on the 2nd of February 2021;the 1st was approved in November 2015.


North Africa
West and South Europe
Scale of implementation
Coastal forest
Coral reef
Deep sea
Freshwater ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Open sea
Rocky reef / Rocky shore
Salt marsh
Seamount / Ocean ridge
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Coastal and marine spatial management
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Ecosystem services
Fisheries and aquaculture
Flood management
Legal & policy frameworks
Local actors
Marine litter
Peace and human security
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Renewable energies
Sustainable financing
Sustainable livelihoods
Erratic rainfall
Extreme heat
Increasing temperatures
Loss of Biodiversity
Ocean warming and acidification
Sea level rise
Storm surges
Tropical cyclones / Typhoons
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Invasive species
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Inefficient management of financial resources
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 6: Sustainable management of aquatic living resources
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with associations
Indirect through consumers
Indirect through financial institutions
Indirect through government


Pere Duran Farell, 11 - 08034 Barcelona | 42 countries of the UfM


  • The impacts of climate change on resources and ecosystems;
  • Marine and atmospheric pollution (from ships and ports, source-to-sea, marine litter including micro and macro plastics, etc.);
  • Population density in coastal areas and pressure from seasonal flows;
  • Unsustainable patterns of economic development (resource-intensive production processes, consumption intensive lifestyles);
  • Overall fostering a sustainable BE, related relevant sectors and cross-cutting enablers (sustainable marine and coastal tourism; promotion of marine research and innovation; blue skills, careers and employment ; MRE; maritime safety and security, etc.);
  • Integration and coordination among sectors and activities consistent with a SBE in the Med (i.e. limited space as a challenge,etc.);
  • Continuing to foster governance and dialogue between UfM member countries for the future of sea basin strategies in the Mediterranean region;
  • Unsustainable fishing practices and food security focusing on fostering wild fish stocks and sustainable aquaculture


  • National, regional and local governments.

  • Enterprises,SMEs, entrepreneurs

  • Associations, NGOs

  • Citizens

  • The 42 UfM member countries as well as institutions and stakeholders involved. 

How do the building blocks interact?

The building blocks are part of the same UfM Blue Economy system, so they interact and are actually complementary to each other.


Furthermore, reaching the expected impacts requires joint, concerted and coordinated actions at cross-border level with a very wide geographical coverage of a broad range of stakeholders, ranging from international organisations from the UN system, (UNEP-MAP, FAO, UNIDO, ) regional organisations (CIHEAM,), NGO’s, private sector, IFI’s, to different levels of national administrations –both at policy and implementation level.


Coordination with other connected and relevant existing initiatives (e.g. WestMED; BLUEMED; EUSAIR; InterregMed communities including the Blue Growth and the Tourism ones; ENI CBC projects; PANORAMED; Plastic Busters Initiative; etc ) is ensured and geared precisely to this overall objective, as is the strengthened engagement with financial institutions and bilateral and multilateral donors in the dialogue on investment in the blue economy (ENI CBC Med Programme, Interreg Med Programme, EBRD, EIB, WWF,CPRM, etc.).


The 2nd UfM Ministerial declaration on sustainable Blue Economy ensures continuity in the implementation of the blue economy agenda and portfolio, shaped according to the commitments made by Minister from the 42 UfM countries in 2021. It gives support and impulse to further developments on blue economy in the Euro-Mediterranean región, expanding the number of priorityaáreas to 10.   In terms of mid to long term impacts, the aim is for Blue Economy to become a solid pillar of the Mediterranean regional agenda, thus supporting UFM member countries to:

  • Develop an enabling environment - including institutional, technical and business related and mainstream sustainable blue economy approaches into government policies and strategies;
  • Ensurie a convergence of efforts towards :

a) Relaunching crucial sectors of the economy of the entire area (infrastructure, tourism, fisheries, aquaculture, etc..), promoting  research/innovation within a sustainable approach respectful of the environment and in line with related sustainability targets, and

b) Promoting employment opportunities, with a focus on youth, in targeted sectors, both in terms of new Jobs, skills and careers and adequate training e (requalification, etc. ) as well as in terms of investments and business.


Union for the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean region offers an immense potential for the sustainable, environmentally friendly development of its people. The UfM promotes regional cooperation to protect the Mediterranean Sea and the natural resources of the countries belonging to its area, and supports partnerships inspired by ‘green/blue’ circular economy principles.

Serious environmental threats, including water scarcity, put at risk this potential. Sustainable access, provision and use of water are key concerns. Particularly, the areas along the southern and eastern shores of the region are among the world’s most water-scarce, with more than 150 million people facing water stress as well as water pollution problems. The UfM supports the implementation of regional agendas on Water, Environment and Blue Economy through initiatives such as the H2020 initiative for a Cleaner Mediterranean, with the objective of tackling 80% of pollution sources by 2020.


The UfM has observer status at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

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