Mediterranean Strategy Group 2022: Sustainable Blue Economy in the Mediterranean Region Venice


10:30 am May 2022


5:00 pm May 2022
Add to Calendar 2022-05-24 10:30:00 2022-05-25 17:00:00 Mediterranean Strategy Group 2022: Sustainable Blue Economy in the Mediterranean Region Venice Description Location Policy Center Policy Center Africa/Casablanca public

The German Marshall Fund of the United States, in partnership with the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS), the Compagnia di San Paolo, the Alexander Philon Fund for Transatlantic Partnership, and in cooperation with Thetis, will hold the next Mediterranean Strategy Group (MSG) meeting in Venice, 23-26 May, 2022.

The MSG, now in its 22nd edition, is the leading transatlantic dialogue on Mediterranean affairs. It brings together senior European and U.S. representatives from government, media, business, and academia with top strategic thinkers from both sides of the Mediterranean for highly interactive conversations on a wide spectrum of economic, geopolitical and social issues.

The next edition of the MSG will address the opportunities for region-wide cooperation in the Mediterranean basin through the development of a sustainable blue economy sector. It will highlight the significance of a sustainable blue economy for the region’s approach to development, climate action, environmental protection, and human security. It will explore how the concept of the blue economy is being put into practice, starting from the practical experience of Mediterranean stakeholders and the unique experience of Venice as a city on the frontline.


24 May, 2022

10:30 – 11:30

Session 1 – The impact of climate change on the Venice Lagoon and the potential of marshes for decarbonization

Coastal ecosystems are among the most threatened on Earth. They host essential socio-economic activities and are at the same time highly exposed to climate changes and human pressure. The Venice Lagoon and its salt marshes provide an important example of a tidal landscape exposed to intense degradation processes due to the intertwined effects of climate change and human activity. Venice’s natural environment surrounding the lagoon has long-served as a natural barrier against erosion and its salt marshes play an important role as carbon sinks. Yet they are increasingly endangered. Therefore, innovative management strategies are necessary to avoid further damage.

12:00 – 13:00   


13:00 – 14:00

Session 2 – Climate change adaptation and the role of critical insfrastructure: The experience of Mose in protecting Venice

Coastal cities experience a growing threat from climate change effects. In the case of Venice, the rising sea level and more frequent and intense flooding pose an existential threat. This situation has pushed the city to invest in infrastructures aimed at providing a solution to this problem. Mose, a seawall that seal off the three inlets to the lagoon when water levels reach a threshold height, is an example of this. Yet, slow implementation, technical difficulties, and the relatively brief lifespan of the project pose some doubts on its effectiveness and shed light on the complexity of implementing infrastructures aimed at mitigating climate change effects

14:00 – 14:30

Coffee break

14:30 – 16:00  

Session 3 – Social licence to operate: blue economy and governance, between public and private interests

The blue economy is based on the idea of a more equitable economy of the sea, which relies on sustainability, circular economy, the protection of the environment. Yet, to achieve its full potential it is crucial to consider not only the natural resources available but also the conditions that could enable its successful implementation. The social acceptability of sea industries is a crucial aspect to achieve the full potential of Blue Economy. A weakening of social trust in one sector could in fact lead to a general loss of trust in the broader concept of sustainable blue economy, endangering its social, and environmental objectives.


25 May, 2022


Session 4 – Knowledge is in the system: an exchange of practical experience

The goal of this workshop is to identify and discuss opportunities for region-wide cooperation in the Mediterranean region through the sustainable development of the blue economy. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a comprehensive tool to analyse and allocate the use of marine space to minimize conflicts between human activities and maximize benefits for the entire ecosystem. This first session provides space for blue economy experts to share their practical experiences, fostering understanding in terms of approaches to planning, public-private partnerships, and analytical tools. How to best anticipate the impact of blue economic activities on marine and coastal ecosystems? What are the current interests and spatial needs of Mediterranean regions? Which uses are more likely to increase their spatial demand and what conflicts of interest might arise?


Session 5 – Case study: prospects for a Mediterranean offshore wind market

This session uses the case study of offshore wind farming to deepen the group understanding of specific dimensions of marine spatial planning for the sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean context. Offshore wind farming is still at the early stages of development in the Mediterranean basin thus providing an opportunity to anticipate some of the conflicts and risks that may arise in building this new market segment in the region. Mediterranean stakeholders will bring to the table their local knowledge and will flesh out the main challenges, while non-Mediterranean participants have an opportunity to provide a sounding board through their experience from different contexts that may inspire possible solutions.


Session 6 - How to translate and transfer national and local experiences to other parts of the Mediterranean?

This session ties all threads together by going back to the meeting main question: how to foster region wide cooperation in the Mediterranean region for the sustainable development of a blue economy. Based on the lessons from the two previous sessions and more, this session explores how to translate local experiences to the regional level, and the existing needs and priorities to make sure transboundary maritime spatial planning can be successful.