The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014 -2020 has organised their Annual Conference in the Marine Institute in Galway (Ireland), addressing Blue Growth as its main theme. NPA programme not only focuses on the Arctic, but also aims to contribute to the Atlantic Strategy. In that way, the attendants got the opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurship, innovation related to fisheries and aquaculture, environmental protection an maritime and coastal tourism.
David Minton Director of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly welcomed all the Irish and overseas visitors, highlighting the importance of exchanging expertise and working on the blue growth. Afterwards, Micheál Ó hÉanaigh CEO at Údarás na Gaeltachta officially launched the conference and shared with the public the objectives of its agency, responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of Irish-speaking regions, where Galway is also included.
The conference gathered experts from different areas, organisations and institutions to highlight the blue opportunities that the marine economy can bring to the countries involved. "The more we look after the sustainability of the oceans, the more economic opportunities they are there", expressed Dr Bernhard Friess Director of the Directorate Maritime Policy and Blue Economy (DG MARE) of the European Commission, when speaking about the promotion of sustainable blue growth in the Atlantic and the Arctic.
Furthermore, NPA's Secretariat also presented many of the ongoing innovation projects that are currently working in the fields of marine entrepreneurship, marine and coastal environment and inclusive and sustainable growth and tourism. Some of the projects that were presented are: URCHIN, SMARTFISH, Bluefish, Circular Ocean, APP4SEA, COMPASS, Cool Route and Atlantic on bike.
Lead Partners Seminar
NPA also organised a seminar for the Lead Partners of the first four calls. From ERNACT, Jose Manuel San Emeterio Project Manager and IMPROVE Project Leader, and Ianire Renobales Digital Communications Officer and Project Leader of SECURE attended the meeting. All the attendants got the opportunity to revise with the Secretariat the status of the programme and to work on some project communication strategies. Moreover, the Secretariat answered questions regarding project management, finance and communication activities.
About the Marine Institute
The Director of Policy, Innovation and Research Support of the Marine Institute, Niall Mc Donough, explained that their main objectives are to undertake, co-ordinate, promote and assist in marine research and development, providing different services. According to the director, "the Institute will promote economic development, create employment and protect the marine environment".