International Situation and Collaboration in the Black, Mediterranean, and Baltic Seas – Legal, Economic, and Environmental Aspects
Conference, Sofia, Bulgaria, 5-7 June 2019
Organized by: Black Sea Institute Association (Burgas, Bulgaria)
This conference presents an opportunity for discussing the Black Sea, Baltic and Mediterranean regions, focusing on the state of interstate relations, implementation of international norms, overcoming political challenges and risks, ensuring energy security, implementing macro-regional cooperation and cohesion policy. The interest in this vast part of the territory of the EU is growing fast. Although they have different histories and characteristics and face different challenges – territorial, economic, social, and environmental – the maritime regions bordering on the EU need specific solutions. European territorial cooperation transcends national borders and develops the potential of different territories. Increased maritime connectivity in the EU will determine not only the success of the blue economy in individual maritime countries. It will also contribute to the conservation and efficient use of marine resources, accelerating blue growth and sustainable development, and research cooperation. It is a policy based on new approaches and concepts of the EU's role in the new environment, related to the expectations of millions of European citizens.
The Black Sea, and the Baltic and Mediterranean regions need a policy of recognizing territorial diversity in Europe, and flexibility and synergies between different levels of government.
Rationale and Goals
- Emphasize the state of interstate relations, the application of international norms and the opportunities for cooperation to overcome the political challenges and risks that affect the economic and social development.
- To seek practical steps in resolving existing conflicts, reducing the escalation of tension and enhancing security through the implementation of strategic partnerships at macro-regional level, to ensure energy security.
- Support efforts to conserve and effectively exploit marine resources through the implementation of an integrated marine ecosystem management that ensures acceleration of blue growth and sustainable development through co-operation in the research area, mitigating the effects of climate change and enhancing environmental security.
Panels, Panel Members, and Issues
Official guests: Yavor Notev (Deputy Speaker, Bulgarian Parliament), and Lilia Toporcheva (representative of the Vice President of Bulgaria).
The panel members include experts in different areas of focus, including academia, politics, private sector, and public sector. Among them are Bulgarians and foreigners (below only persons who are not Bulgarians are noted).
Panel 1 – "Risks and Stability in the Black, Mediterranean and Baltic Seas". Moderator: Radoslav Deyanov. Panel members: Georgi Pirinski (EP member), Valentin Radomirski (expert), and Christian Vigenin (Member of Parliament), Issues: Challenges and risks, Connectivity and collective security, EU policies and trans-regional cooperation, Hot and frozen conflicts, and International Conventions in the region.
Panel 2 – "Energy Security in the Black Sea, Baltic and Mediterranean Region". Moderator: Boyan Chukov. Panel members: Nina Dyulgerova (expert), Fanel-Viorel Panaitescu (expert), and Nikolai Tzonkov (Member of Parliament). Issues: Challenges and perspectives, Diversification of energy resources, Energy corridors, and Energy cooperation and scientific research.
Panel 3 – "Environmental Security in the European Seas". Moderator: Marusya Lyubcheva. Panel members: Daniela Klisarova (expert), Georgios Palantzas (Greece, expert), Mariana Panaitescu (Romania, expert), and Lars Søftestad (Norway, expert). Issues: Blue growth and integrated management of the marine ecosystem, Marine environment status, Marine industries vs marine environment, Planning of marine spaces, and Waste – from rivers to sea.
Final Declaration – Panel members: Daniela Bobeva (expert), Rumen Gechev (expert), Maria Georgieva (Min. of Regional Development and Public Works), Neli Kirilova (expert), Marcel Mindrescu (Romania, expert), Evgeni Sachev (expert), Zahari Zahariev (expert), NN (EC Office in Bulgaria), and NN (Min. of Environment and Water). (Note 2)
Brief Personal Preliminary Comments
I am truly appreciative of the invitation to participate in this conference, and to join the final panel, where I will give a brief introduction to the two topics of "integrated marine management" and "blue growth".
This is a unique event, and for several reasons, all of them "firsts":
- The seas in question – the Baltic Sea (including the Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Finland, and Gulf of Riga), the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean region (the latter understood to cover several smaller seas located along the northern perimeter of the Mediterranean Sea), are addressed together (Note 3).
- These seas are understood to be located within the sphere of interest of – indeed to be part of – the larger region of Europe.
- The focus is on integrated and integrative approaches for how to address the challenges with managing these seas.
- There is an explicit reference to the role and responsibility of the EU in addressing the challenges facing these seas.
- The conference takes place in an inter-disciplinary, sharing, and transparent way that promises well for arriving at sustainable solutions to the questions raised and the challenges identified.
An article about the conference is published on LinkedIn (see Note 6). Photos from the conference are available (see Note 7).
(1) The text in the first three sections are copied from the programme of the conference. The final section was written by me prior to the conference.
(2) The list of members in this panel was, at the time when the programme was published, not final.
(3) All seascapes along the Atlantic Sea, from Portugal to Norway and Svalbard, although being part of – and/or being within the sphere of interest of – European countries, are not addressed. A main reason for this may be that the seascapes along the Atlantic Sea historically and culturally are located within the spheres of interest of countries in Europe, while the situation in the selected seas are less clear in this respect.
(4) The Black Sea Institute Association, contact information: Tel./mobile: +359 88 488 5568, +359 56 843 667; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(5) Image credit: Black Sea Institute (see Sources).
(6) An article about the conference, titled "EU and Marine Management", written by me, was published on LinkedIn, 5 June 2019, URL: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/eu-integrated-marine-management-lars-soeftestad/
(7) Photos from the conference are available at URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/supras/sets/72157710503092541
(8) Permalink: URL: https://devblog.no/en/article/black-sea-integrated-marine-management
(9) This article was published 3 June 2019. It was revised 23 August 2019.
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