The months of May and June are synonymous with a flurry of marine-themed meetings given the vast array of relevant commemorations which characterise these two months, including EU Maritime Day (EMD), International Biodiversity Day, World Environment Day and World Ocean Day. This year was no different and a relaxation of COVID pandemic-imposed measures has resulted in a resurgence of high-profile meetings, with the main motivation being to compensate for the two years lost as a result of the same pandemic.
Prof Alan Deidun, resident academic within the Department of Geosciences at the Faculty of Science and Malta’s Ocean Ambassador, actively participated as a speaker within three different high-profile meetings over the span of a few weeks. This was made possible through the hybrid format that the same meetings are normally organised in, allowing participants to deliver contributions remotely, besides physically. The four high-profile meetings attended by Prof Deidun included the ones organised by UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), EWGEA (Eurosai Working Group on Environmental Auditing) and the WESTMED Blue Economy initiative.
The UNCTAD event, consisting of an international webinar headlining as “Sustainably harnessing the potential of marine bioprospecting for socioeconomic development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)”, was organised on the 7th April 2022 as a side-event to the 4th Oceans Forum, which focused on trade-related aspects of SDG 14. Prof Deidun elaborated on blue economy opportunities for SIDS (Small Island Developing States) within his presentation, by referring to emerging markets such as those featuring the extraction of biologically-active molecules (BAMs) from jellyfish and invasive alien species (IAS). Further details about his event can be gleaned through the following link.
The EWGEA Spring session, held in early May 2022, focused on the impact of climate change on clean water supply, with Prof. Deidun elaborating on the reliance of arid and semi-arid territories on desalination for their freshwater supply. EWGEA’s mission statement affirms that its members are committed to use the power of public sector audits to leave a positive legacy for future generations by improving the management of natural resources and the environment, and the health and prosperity of the people of Europe. Further information about this meeting can be gleaned through this link:
The WESTMED initiative was triggered by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) with the support of the European Commission to help achieve a safer and more secure maritime space, create a smarter and more resilient Blue Economy and improve the maritime governance for the western Mediterranean. A WESTMED seminar, headlining as ‘Blue Skills in Malta: bridging the skills gap through education and ocean literacy,’ was organised in early May 2022 by the WESTMED National Hub for Malta and the Malta Maritime Forum. The overarching aim of the seminar was to create an opportunity for key stakeholders in the Maltese blue economy to come together to identify the skills gap between the education offer and labour market needs and explore the strengths and available opportunities to bridge this gap.
Prof Deidun’s presentation focused on formal educational and training opportunities offered at the University of Malta and at the International Ocean Institute (IOI) as well as on ongoing ocean literacy initiatives within the citizen science campaigns and the CORALLO project he coordinates. Further information about this initiative is available here.