Why & How


Sustainable and circular blue bioeconomy in the Mediterranean is closely depending on the biodiversity ecosystem health status and environmental status. From this point of view the Mediterranean Sea can be seen as a typical common good in the sense described by Hardin* (1968) and Ostrom** (1990). 

The safeguard of natural resources and environmental equilibria and the sustainable economic enhancement should be coordinated among all surrounding countries, since spillovers and externalities are affecting the whole sea basin.

These assumptions are behind the work of the UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP-MAP) and the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) 2016-2025, an integrative policy framework and a strategic guiding document for all stakeholders and partners to translate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the regional, subregional and national levels. Without coordinated and shared action, efforts made by individual countries may be hampered and overcome by failures in other countries, and competition for the exploitation of sea (bio)resources may prevail.

There is a widespread acknowledgment of the possibility for innovation to unlock the potential of a sustainable development of blue bioeconomy in the Mediterranean basin. Innovation capacity is often concentrated at territorial level through specialised clusters. Outside large agglomeration, innovation capacities are fragmented and often below the necessary critical mass for efficient investments. Successful experiences and business models, especially involving social innovation, often remain local while scaling-up process and diffusion are held back by borders (administrative, sectoral, cultural,etc.).

Transnational cooperation boosts innovation dynamics and promotes innovation diffusion and, by connecting stakeholders from regions with different levels of development, supports the overall regional cohesion directing innovation to the benefit of the whole area.

* Hardin, G (1968). The Tragedy of the Commons. Science 162(3859): 1243–1248
** Ostrom, E , . Governing the Commons. The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge:    Cambridge Univesity Press. 1990.


The project will contribute to the Programme specific objective 4.1 that aims at supporting the process of strengthening and developing multilateral coordination frameworks in the Mediterranean for joint responses to common challenges, with specific reference to the innovation policies for Mediterranean blue bioeconomy. This will be done bridging the transnational governance realities with the regional and territorial dimension, using the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the common reference grid.

Better governance of innovation policies for blue bioeconomy in the Mediterranean is pursued from three points of view:

- Orienting the objectives of the innovation policy in the direction pointed by UN Agenda 2030 SDGs;

- Ensuring coherent frameworks for actions at different level of government and territorial scales (vertical coherence), aligning different sectoral and thematic policies (horizontal coherence), ensuring that short term actions are supportive of long-term development goals (temporal coherence);

- Improving inclusiveness and openness of the quadruple helix (QH) actors.