AGRIC 2012


The life and culture of the people living on the countless islands have always been strongly linked and influenced by their common maritime heritage. Especially in the Mediterranean region, "the sea between the lands, at the crossroads of three continents", islands remain the scene of an intense and vital maritime economy.


Maritime economy is an important source of employment for those who live on the islands:

- It is home to hundreds of ports and terminals.

- It is one of the world's major waterways for sea-borne transport, with a quarter of the world's sea-borne oil traffic transiting through.

- It is the scene of intense fishing, a traditional economic activity whose modern performance is under question.


At the same time tourism is undoubtedly an economic backbone of coastal regions. At present about 2.36 million people are employed in the coastal tourism sector, representing 1.1% of the EU employment. Around 51% of bed capacity in hotels across Europe is concentrated in regions with a sea border. Cruise tourism alone represents a distinct segment generating direct turnover of ¤ 14.5 billion and nearly 150,000 jobs.


Yet for all that, the outlook is not uniformly positive. There are signs of serious deterioration of the marine environment:


- Rapidly growing maritime traffic only heightens the need for safer and more sustainable shipping routes.

- Climate change is likely to have serious economic and social consequences, which call for effective responses.

- Over fishing and coastal degradation require urgent redress if the damage is not to become irreversible.


The key to successful action on all these issues is to establish a sustainable maritime strategy for the island regions.


The Conference aims to serve as a forum for the presentation and constructive discussion of the best practices and know-how on maritime economics, as well as emerging issues on the development and sustainability of such economies on the islands. Such issues are:


- Challenges (economic, environmental, cultural and social) affecting all sectors of maritime economy.

- Synergies between sectoral policies.

- Interactions between the different activities and their potential impact on the marine environment and biodiversity.

- A better maritime governance of the sea, within national, regional and sub-regional borders.

- The need to put in place mechanisms and tools that will foster maritime prosperity and to remove administrative barriers that hamper growth.

- The greening of all maritime activities as a tool for sustainable development.

- The fostering of investment in research and innovation.

- The promotion of skills through education and training.

· The installation of effective monitoring systems through cooperation.

· The strengthening of dialogue and co-operation on maritime affairs among island partners.



Section Á: Infrastructure & transport

Section Â: Maritime tourism

Section C: Marine/ coastal environment – Climate change

Section D: Fisheries


Islands and sea: Building a sustainable maritime economy

22 - 23 September 2012, Santorini island, Greece


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