The “Baltic Sea Conference 2013 – Blue Growth, Sustainability and Water Industries”, held in Copenhagen on 3 October 2013, brought together high-level participants from the European Commission and Danish government, and actors from throughout the Baltic Sea Region – from different sectors and levels of decision making – in order to chart the way forward for an environmentally sound and prosperous Baltic Sea Region.
The Baltic Sea Conference 2013: Blue Growth, Sustainability and Water Industries took a holistic and ecosystem-based view of the relations between growth and the environment. Blue growth is high on the agenda of the EU Commission, in EU member states and in the Baltic Sea Region. It is seen as a contributor to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
New alliances between public, private and international partners are needed to unlock the potential for growth from the maritime economy, boost green and blue technology development, and turn the environmental challenges into opportunities for innovation and sustainable development. There is a need to better connect activities on land and at sea and explore holistic approaches to water management all the way from hilltop to ocean. Blue and green growth must go together.
The Conference Report captures the main outcomes from the day.
It was generally agreed that:
• Safeguarding the health of the Baltic Sea is necessary for long-term growth; degradation of the environment will be a drag on economic development.
• Growth and a healthy environment are not competing objectives. On the contrary, in a holistic and longterm perspective there are important synergies between them. Notably, the development and deployment of innovative technologies that strengthen the sustainability of maritime, coastal, and offshore activities should form the basis for Blue Growth in the Baltic.
• There is great potential in the blue economy. The Baltic Sea Region has some of the best platforms and conditions available to successfully capture these opportunities.
• There is a need for a multi-stakeholder platform to gather actors for further discussion on this topic. Commitments have been made to organise a follow up conference in 2014, thus creating a continuous process.
The “Baltic Sea Conference 2013 – Blue Growth, Sustainability and Water Industries” was organized by the Baltic Development Forum and the European Commission (DG-Mare) together with Clean Shipping – Priority Area of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region through its technical assistance facility.