Integrated Marine Policy and Funding

National Park & MPA Asinara (IT) S.Petrosillo

Integrated Marine Policy

Europe’s Integrated Marine Policy (IMP) is a framework that covers the entire maritime economy, and aims to foster the sustainable development of all sea-based activities and coastal regions by improving the coordination of policies. The Maritime Spatial Planning (2014) is seen as a crucial instrument of the IMP. Member State’s authorities analyse and organise human activities in marine areas. In practice, MSP is used as an integrative process to make sure all stakeholders can interact with the marine ecosystem, where existing and emerging sectors share the space with marine and coastal ecosystems. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (2008) is the environmental pillar of EU maritime policies. However, the MSFD and MSP are interlinked: the economic and social activities depend on well protected resources. Still, there is some concern. The MSFD aimed to achieve Good Environmental Status for the EU’s marine waters by 2020. However, in 2020 the European Parliament communicated to the European Commission that the progress was not being made fast enough.

Marine Funding Possibilities

The Sustainable Blue Economy aims to boost the blue economy by making use of renewable energy and investing in a marine circular economy. For this, and other purposes, the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) will be used. The EMFAF is one of the five European structural and investment funds (ESIFs). These are also managed by member states, however, European Environmental Agency reported only fourteen percent of it was used on measures related to conservation. Apart from the EMFAF, marine conservation projects can also be funded through other means which have a broader scope, such as the LIFE Programme and the Horizon Europe Programme. Also, other ESIFs can be used for the blue economy, such as the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF).

Watch this video on the Blue Economy by Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner of the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries: