The very first annual forum dedicated to the Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters took place in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium on Friday 17th February.
Location indeed creates atmosphere, and the cultural environment of the fancy building of the museum encourages the inspiring character of the event that was also opened by a dance performance showing the ocean pollution. Charlina Vitcheva, Director-General, DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and European Commission appraised art as an non-verbal means of communication; so now there are intentions to use art in bioeconomy, education and communication.
The annual conference hosted several panel discussions that articulated the need to join forces to challenge restoring marine and freshwater ecosystems, preventing and eliminating pollution or carbon-neutral and circular blue economy or a discussion that presented the way forward, that was joined by Kęstutis Sadauskas, Mission Manager and Deputy Director-General, DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission and John Bell, Deputy Mission Manager and Director of Healthy Planet, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission. Mr Sadauskas articulated the need to share solutions needed to meet the challenges, the support the EU Mission is offering and he also announced a new toolkit of services that will also provide support. Mr Bell highlighted that the mission is an ownership of political will, the need to mobilise the public and act.
At the governmental level the BIOEAST Initiative of 11 Central and Eastern European Countries Danube Lighthouse is of key importance as the vast majority of the BIOEAST macro region are inland countries and located in the Danube river basin. The clear support for the mission implementation was articulated at a high level conference Preparing the Danube Lighthouse organised by the BIOEAST Initiative and BIOEAST HUB CZ. BIOEAST HUB CZ is coordinating a macro-regional Fresh Water Based Bioeconomy Thematic Working that is facilitating the dialog between policy makers and scientific experts to support freshwater related excellence-based science, research and innovation.
It is clear that the implementation of the freshwater related agenda in the Danube river basin is extremely scattered, several ministries and entities are engaged. Therefore the BIOEAST Initiative is planning similar networking events that can also enhance the alignment of the cohesion of funds with the resources of the Danube Lighthouse.