Seas and Oceans are drivers for the European economy and have great potential for innovation and growth. Considering that the IPCC 2018 report warns that exceeding 1.5oC of global warming above preindustrial levels will lead to unprecedented effects in economy, society and the environment, there is an eminent need for action targeting at the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To accelerate Science Driven sustainable Blue Growth and the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) in the Euro-Asian Seas and beyond, SDSN Greece, SDSN Black Sea and SDSN Mediterranean via SDSN Europe established the Sustainable Euro-Asian Seas (SEAs) Initiative. SEAs Initiative will build on research and demonstration projects, developed by a consortium and its collaborators world-wide, and will create an SDSN high-level working group, which will work on the Science-Policy interface related to Blue Growth, as well as on producing an SDSN SEAs annual report.
The SEAs Initiative focuses primarily on SDGs 14 (Life below water) and 13 (Climate Action), but addresses also SDG6 (Clean water and sanitation) and SDG15 (Life on land) and has impact on SDG1 (No Poverty) and SDG2 (Zero Hunger), since successful implementation of the blue growth concept can provide solutions to these problems. The SEAs Initiative also includes aspects relevant to SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 7 (Clean Energy Production) and SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). Simultaneously, the Initiative enhances its economic dimensions through the implementation of SDGs 8, 9 and 12. The goals of the Initiative will be achieved through close cooperation, as described in SDG17 (Partnership for the goals).
Finally, bearing in mind that land characteristics (flows of water, flora and fauna, sediment, pollution etc) directly and indirectly affect sea characteristics, the SEAs Initiative focuses on a source-to-sea approach, observing all surface and ground waters as a continuum of interconnected systems. This holistic approach from river basin to sea management, is needed to examine the significant matter of land and sea sustainability.
Supporting Institutions & Projects
The UN SDSN Networks that support the SEAs Initiative are hosted by a number of Universities and Research Centers that have a long history of research projects in the field of Blue Growth.
- International Centre for Research on the Environment and the Economy (ICRE8)
- Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB)-Research Laboratory on Socio-Economic and Environmental Sustainability (ReSEES)
- Sustainable Development Unit at ATHENA Research Center
- AUEB-ReSEES Laboratory| SDU at ATHENA RC | Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh
COASTAL is a research and innovation project, a unique multi-actor collaboration of coastal and rural business entrepreneurs, administrations, stakeholders, and natural and social science experts to formulate and evaluate business solutions and policy recommendations aimed at improving the coastal-rural synergy to foster rural and coastal development while preserving the environment.
BRIDGE-BS, aims to understand how the multi-stressors impact Black Sea ecosystems and alter the sustainability of ecosystem services provided to society. Building on a unique concept linking oceanographic dynamics to resilience, ecosystem services, multi-stressors and innovation in Blue Growth; BRIDGE will deploy an interdisciplinary approach building on past and ongoing initiatives and using stakeholder knowledge. Physical, biogeochemical and ecological processes, as well as the socioeconomic dimension of the Black Sea will be assessed, mapped and modelled to establish ecosystem status and the role of multi-stressors on its resilience and potential tipping points. Beyond predicting the future states, tools will be developed for policymaking, contributing to our ability to sustain the ecosystem services. The resilient ecosystems of the Black Sea will be evaluated as a booster of innovation in the region. Further, BRIDGE will undertake an extensive outreach and capacity building campaign involving joint Masters programs, PhD student mobility and outreach integrating science, innovation and art.
The main objective of AWESOME is developing a decision-analytic platform based on a multi-level, integrated WEF model to better understand multi-sectoral WEF tradeoffs and to capitalize on potential synergies, also exploring the interdependencies and feedbacks across ahierarchy of spatial scales, from the macroeconomic development of the Mediterranean region and national scale to regional planning at the river basin scale, down to the single farm. The platform will allow simulating the impacts of alternative WEF planning portfolios composed of regional policies, river-basin strategic planning options, and innovative technological solutions demonstrated at the local scale, to generate shared economic, environmental, and societal benefits.
IntelComp (Horizon 2020) Project, sets out to build an innovative Cloud Platform that will offer Artificial Intelligence-based services to public administrators and policy makers across Europe for data- and evidence-driven policy design and implementation in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy. Within its scope, a series of Living Labs is organized to explore the co-development and use of the IntelComp Platform for activities such as a holistic mapping and understanding of the laws, policies, and strategies at international, European and national level; and an analysis of innovations and new technologies to enhance mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Living Labs are deployed on a monthly basis and are based upon the committed participation of relevant stakeholders.
SEAwise, will provide a fully operational approach for European Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management based on persistent networks and co-designed innovation using state of the art risk assessment methodology.
DOORS, aims at bringing the four pillars of the SRIA into reality, turning the challenges into opportunities for a highly valued Black Sea. It will harmonise research and provide the infrastructure to better understand the Black Sea, particular ecosystem characteristics, develop the framework to support Blue Growth and early development of start-ups, and provide evidence to inform policy and behavioural change.
Good-quality water supply is a prerequisite for economic and social progress, especially in the RIS regions targeted in Southern Europe. In the early stages of the project in 2020, six main challenges to tackle water scarcity were identified ( 1- Enabling Agile Water Management, via Digitalization; 2- Raising Awareness and Promoting Education; 3- Unlocking Water Governance and Financial Schemes; 4- Optimizing and Matching Water Supply and Demand; 5- Ensuring Better Water Consumption and Production Control to Allow Legal Enforcement;6- Fostering Climate Change Readiness.) The Cross-KIC RIS project in 2021 aims to build on the knowledge, experiences and results achieved so far in the first year of the program to further tackle these challenges. The project will become the reference as a knowledge-sharing and a capacity building program for innovative companies working to fight against water scarcity in the South of Europe.
The Maritime ClimAccelerator, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, through its vast network of collaborators, will offer participating start-ups funding, training, peer to peer coaching and theme-specific mentoring (both virtually and in-person). 30-40 start-ups will be accepted per year and will be asked to provide innovative solutions for the transition to sustainability of the maritime industry, both locally and globally, and will be given the opportunity to present their ideas in front of investors, port authorities and shipping companies. The Maritime ClimAccelerator will thus provide start-ups with a unique opportunity to test, demonstrate and validate their solution.
The maritime sector accounts for 90% of global trade and 2.2% of global GHG emissions – a figure projected to increase threefold by 2050. Within the Deep Demonstration for maritime hubs, the port of Piraeus is working with other ambitious partners on land (Port of Valencia) and at sea (Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Shipping) who share a common ambition to create a circular, inclusive, net-zero-emissions maritime sector. The Port of Piraeus and its partners have been carefully selected to reﬂect diﬀerent geographical, economic & social environments and diﬀerent development stage in their environmental strategies and activities.
ARSINOE: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future: Research and innovation in support of the European Green Deal
Systems Innovation Approach (SIA) addresses the growing complexity, interdependencies and interconnectedness of modern societies and economies, focusing on the functions of the cross-sectoral system as a whole and on the variety of actors. The Climate Innovation Window (CIW) is the EU reference innovations marketplace for climate adaptation technologies. Aims to build an ecosystem for climate change adaptation solutions. Pathways to solutions are co-created and co-designed by stakeholders applies a three-tier, approach: (a) using SIA it integrates multi-faceted technological, digital, business, governance and environmental aspects with social innovation for the development of adaptation pathways to climate change for specific regions; (b) it links with CIW to form innovation packages by matching innovators with end-users/regions; (c ) it fosters the ecosystem sustainability and growth with cross-fertilization and replication across regions and scales.
Coordinators & Advisory Board
Τhe SEAs Initiative is coordinated by:
- Phoebe Koundouri, Professor and Director of ReSEES Research Laboratory, Athens University of Economics and Business; Director of Sustainable Development Unit and EIT Climate-KIC Hub Greece , Athena RC; Chair SAB ICRE8; Fellow World Academy of Art and Science; President-Elect of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists; Co-chair UN SDSN Europe and UN SDSN Greece
- Nikos Theodossiou, Professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Chair UN SDSN Black Sea
- Yannis Ioannidis, Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Former President ATHENA Research and Innovation Centre, UN SDSN Greece Strategic Advisory Board
- Andreas Papandreou, Professor National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, co-chair UN SDSN Greece
The Advisory Board of the SEAs Initiative offers support, guidance, and counselling to the actions of the Initiative.
- Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at the University of Columbia, President UN SDSN
- Paul Holthus, Founding President & CEO of the World Ocean Council
- Dawid Lasek, Secretary General of the Association of Carpathian Euroregion
- Prof. Chrysi Laspidou, University of Thessaly
- Dr. Eden Mamut, Secretary General of the Black Sea Universities Network, Professor for Engineering Thermodynamics and Advanced Energy Systems and Director of the Institute for Nanotechnologies & Alternative Energy Sources at “Ovidius” University of Constanta, Romania
- Mustafa Yucel, Assoc. Professor & Vice Director, Institute of Marine Sciences
- Grigoris Zarotiadis, Assoc. Professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Political Sciences -Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
If you wish to participate in our actions, comment on our work or have an idea or project that you think that can support the SEAs Initiative, please do contact us at email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Read the SDSN Sustainable Euro-Asian Seas Initiative Kick-off meeting – Follow-up here