GREEK EVENTS: "Integrated development through land-sea interaction" and "Blue Growth for boosting youth entrepreneurship"

Transnational conference "Integrated development through land-sea interaction: dimensions and perspectives of blue growth in Europe and in Greece" on 10-11 November 2014 and national conference "Blue Growth for boosting youth entrepreneurship: Employment Opportunities, Innovative ideas & the contribution of Start Ups" on 12 November 2014.

The ESPON on the Road transnational conference organised by the Greek ECP, entitled "Integrated development through land-sea interaction: dimensions and perspectives of blue growth in Europe and in Greece" tookplace at the Congress Hall of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), on November 10th and 11th, 2014.

This two-day transnational event regarding Blue Growth followed the relevant Events on maritime and blue growth issues previously organised in the framework of the Greek Presidency to the EU Council. It was organised by the Greek ECP and hosted by the Piraeus Port Authority, to generate thinking on all dimensions that Blue Growth has for territorial cohesion in Europe and in Greece, especially in times of economic crisis and substantial reforms in spatial and urban planning and coastal zone management. The event, through a series of thematic priorities (mainly smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, integrated territorial strategies and governance issues, maritime spatial planning and geopolitics of blue growth) and documentation by specialists and transnational experts, highlighted the forms of land-sea interaction as basic elements of integrated coastal zone management and sustainable development, also in response to the need for an effective Maritime Spatial Planning. The motto of the Event was:

Land and Sea have to be understood and planned together!

This event brought together approximately 600 participants, representing 100 different institutions (International organisations e.g OECD, European institutions, e.g DGMARE and DGRegio- MED Programme, ESPON contact points, the European Wind Energy Association Association, INSULEUR, CPMR, EGTC “Amphictyony”, SDMed, national government represented by co-responsible ministries (Maritime Affairs, Tourism, Environment etc.), regional and municipal authorities, universities, research institutions, multi-disciplinary research community) and was a great opportunity for knowledge exchange among policy makers, practitioners, scientists, experts, researchers and students interested in the development of a new European Vision for territorial development and cohesion that is, as detected during the conference, the consideration of blue and green growth as a whole, especially at the macro-regional level.

  • The major themes addressed by this transnational event were:
  • The challenges and opportunities enclosed with the maritime dimension of European Cohesion Policy and the EU Blue Growth Strategy,
  • The role of regions and cities for unfolding blue growth territorial potential and the importance of integrated land and sea planning strategies
  • The presentation of Smart and sustainable paradigms of land-sea interaction from different EU funded projects or programs.
  • The different aspects and policy paradigms for an inclusive development in coastal, island and maritime areas
  • The Insularity and the need for an integrated development to insular regions (coastal areas and islands).
  • The Maritime Spatial Planning : From institutionalization to implementation at local, national and transnational levels and in cross-border regions
  • Different case studies that have revealed tourism and culture as drivers of blue growth in coastal zones,
  • The Energy and Environmental Challenges towards Blue Growth,
  • The Maritime Transport, Trans-European networks and ships and ports capacities and potential.
  • The Geopolitical dimensions of energy and maritime safety issues with an emphasis on the Mediterranean basin.

Main challenges and concluding remarks:
It was obvious that there has been a number of funded projects about marine and maritime R&I and maritime spatial planning spread across different EU programs and networks (ESPON, CPMR, INTERREG etc.). However, key tangible outputs of these projects are not always known or available to different stakeholders from different disciplines, sectors or governmental levels in order to further advance the Blue Growth Agenda. The panel of this transnational event with its multidisciplinary and multilevel character clearly pointed the need for:

  • strengthening the communication between all interested target groups,
  • disseminating knowledge and know –how and
  • exploiting the innovative ideas by developing synergies between all relevant projects, stakeholders and authorities for a sustainable, inclusive and Smart Blue Growth (in particular to the least developed, on this regard, Mediterranean macro region).

The catchiest outcomes either from speakers or the audience were:

  • The Blue Growth potential could be improved by developing synergies.
  • Let’s develop a combined Green and Blue Mediterranean Economy.
  • Europe ( and Greece) needs to disseminate knowledge for Blue Growth.
  • Promote the integrated, multilevel, multi-stakeholder land–sea planning for a sustainable development of both land and sea areas.
  • The effective education allows comprehending the past, assessing the present and successfully visioning the future of Blue Growth.
  • Enhance training to support research, innovation and jobs in the maritime sector (e.g. Vasco da Gama Master’s, Summer School on Maritime Spatial Planning and Management organized within the framework of COSELMAR project etc.).
  • Endorsement of the Place-based approach for unfolding blue growth potential of islands, sea and coastal areas.
  • Mediterranean Ports are crucial for transport, business, employment, development and investments related to Blue Growth.
  • Cross-border cooperation for the development of maritime spatial planning is needed as challenges and risks do not have borders.
  • Public participation is not so straightforward; there is a need for a lean planning process and well-defined roles for the bodies involved in land-sea planning (MSP and Coastal Zone Management).
  • There are significant challenges for introducing the MSP in the Mediterranean due to differences in the national, institutional and administrative frameworks, the existing different cultures and a number of not solved disputes.
  • Cooperation enhancing blue economy is required between nations, regions and towns but even more is indispensable for the operation of the land-sea corridors and the sea-energy network.
  • Sea security is vital for a sustainable development of the Mediterranean area and transnational cooperation could advocate it.
  • Blue Growth knowledge could be enriched through the mapping of MeD- Sea/seas!
  • Implementation of MSP needs coordination of different institutions that will deal with “mapping the sea” at different scales and here ESPON can have a crucial role.
  • South-East Europe, Greece and Cyprus are crucial for the energy supply of Europe as well as for their role in political stability in the East Mediterranean.

The national conference of the ESPON on the Road project, entitled "Blue Growth for boosting youth entrepreneurship: Employment Opportunities, Innovative ideas & the contribution of Start Ups" took place at the Congress Hall of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP)on November 12th, 2014.

Following the transnational ESPONontheRoad two-days Meeting "Integrated development through land-sea interaction: dimensions and perspectives of blue growth in Europe and in Greece" the Greek ESPON Contact Point in synergy with SD Med Observation, Planning and Eco-innovation organized this national event that focused on the smart paradigm of blue growth and highlighted youth entrepreneurship and innovation as development tools to exit from unemployment plaguing today, especially young people. The event through a series of thematic priorities and documentation by specialists, dealt with smart and inclusive growth, with emphasis on policies coming from all governance levels promoting youth entrepreneurship developed around blue growth opportunities and aiming at unfolding the territorial potential for the benefit of employment and job creation, in times of economic and financial crisis.

The motto of the Day was: Blue Growth needs youth!

The meeting brought together mainly young people, students, researchers, START-UPers and other young entrepreneurs with policy makers from all governance levels (municipalities, regions, ministries etc.),funding institutions, other institutions enhancing innovation and entrepreneurship and successful practitioners in order to share their knowledge and experience and convince young people to dare and act.

The sessions welcomed examples of brand new start-up initiatives (crowdfunding, mentor-mentee sessions, competitions revealing best business practices of start-ups, pay per project, but to name a few) which presented the challenges, the opportunities and the possible threats that young people should consider when marketing their idea. The Embassy of the Netherlands in Greece acting as a funding organization presented its respective experience about startups. In times of shortage of funding affecting employment and entrepreneurship in Greece, the young audience became very interested in the options available to materialize their ideas. Youth entrepreneurship seems to be well bred in Greece in the years to come; despite the financial constraints, several actors and mainly the Greek Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs strongly persuaded everyone to get involved.

The session on the social entrepreneurship, employment and integrated sustainability, by participation of educational and professional organizations, raised the importance of the interconnection of start-ups with sustainable employment and entrepreneurship with regard to shaping and making use of the appropriate policy framework.

The session on innovation and entrepreneurship through blue growth opportunities, highlighted the national, regional and local community initiatives providing the framework for improving and accelerating access of the islands in development initiatives and their impact to regional and local populations of islands and coastal areas.

One of the highlights of the day was the biomatic workshop where all participants envisaged the procedure of working on and implementing a new blue growth oriented business idea related to blue growth, starting from the internal elaboration of thoughts, to solving conflicts among partners and the realization of a relevant business plan. The participants were highly motivated because since they also participated in the transnational event, they gathered blue growth knowledge and shaped their way of thinking of what a business product of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth may be. The procedure ended up with presentation of their start-up ideas.

Some catchy highlights were:

  • Networking and Mobility of start-up entrepreneurs is the best entrepreneurship support tool.
  • Developing smart networks in islands and / or coastal areas promote growth of jobs and innovation.
  • A growing demand of skilled shore based shipping personnel is evident.(e.g. Chartering & Commercial Maritime Law & Arbitration, Crewing & HR, Port Logistics & Intermodalism )
  • New ideas are here but we have to dare for them!

The event was wrapped up with a session on the influencing nature of the Geopolitics of Blue Growth, Energy and maritime safety issues focusing on the Mediterranean basin.

 

Information materials related with the event are available here. Below you can find photos from the event.

Cover photo: Pireus harbor (by Dorota Celińska-Janowicz)

 

 
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