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European Maritime Day 2012, Gothenburg, Sweden

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As associate in the Horizon 2020 Capacity Building/ Mediterranean Environment Program (H2020CB/MEP), HELMEPA was invited to participate in the events of European Maritime Day 2012 which took place in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden on 21st and 22nd May.

This year’s Conference was themed “Sustainable growth from the oceans, seas and coasts: blue growth” and attracted stakeholders from across the continent. Plenary sessions held covered a comprehensive set of issues pertinent to the continued development of sustainability in the maritime and transport industries, solutions for renewable energy and growth by innovation and working towards reducing the impacts of marine litter on the natural and physical environments, the economy and society as a whole.

As an extension of the latter, and on the occasion of European Maritime Day, the H2020CB/MEP task force leaders hosted a 3-day training course themed: “Minimizing Marine Litter in the Mediterranean”. The Horizon 2020 Initiative has as its primary target the de-pollution of the Mediterranean by the year 2020 – as its name suggests. The Capacity Building Program has been appointed the specific mission within the framework of the Project to not only facilitate but augment the capabilities of Mediterranean countries to effectively and successfully address pollution concerns at both an institutional and societal level.

The range of presentations covered the environmental and socio-economic challenges originating from the impacts of marine litter on coasts, current policies and initiatives in place under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive of the European Commission, the role of Integrated Solid Waste Management and the raising of awareness among the Mediterranean community.

Speakers included highly reputable academics including the team leader of the H2020CB/MEP and Chairman of the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) and experts in marine pollution, who shared current developments from research projects conducted across the Mediterranean. The Co-chair of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre at the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) shared current marine litter monitoring methodologies employed together with potential for future research expansion in the field.

A HELMEPA representative spoke to the group about the initiatives undertaken in Greece by the Association in the raising of environmental consciousness throughout both the shipping industry and the wider community. Results of the Association’s research work carried out in the Med for the monitoring and recording of marine litter was also presented as were the steps taken – including national and Mediterranean-wide awareness campaigns – in partnership with MIO-ECSDE and the United Nations Environment Program Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP).

It was indeed a highly productive meeting during which the opportunity for the facilitation of the exchange of knowledge, experiences and cultural perspectives was taken advantage of to the highest potential. HELMEPA looks forward to the next convening of the H2020CB/MEP, contributing to its progress as momentum builds and re-examining the status of solid waste pollution in the marine environment with its Mediterranean neighbors in the future.

For details of the Conference and training course and further information viewers can  contact HELMEPA at training@helmepa.gr.

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