Charting a Sustainable Future: CINEA’s Role in Ocean Conservation

18 December 2023 - // Opinions
Paloma Aba Garrote
Director of European Climate, Environment and Infrastructure Executive Agency (CINEA)

Exploring CINEA’s journey in ocean conservation: a commitment to sustainability and the EU Green Deal.

I have witnessed our transformative ocean conservation journey firsthand at the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). Anchored in the ethos of the European Green Deal, our mission transcends mere programme implementation; it is a deep-seated commitment to the lifeblood of our planet – the oceans. 

Our role at CINEA is not just about managing a substantial budget, though our €65 billion allocation for 2021-2027 is a testament to the EU’s dedication to the Green Deal. It is about channeling these resources with a holistic approach to achieve the ambitions of the EU Green Deal. Our efforts through programmes such as the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF), the LIFE Programme and Horizon Europe represent more than financial investments; they are commitments to sustainable energy, eco-friendly maritime transport, and a thriving blue economy, channeling resources directly into the heart of marine conservation. 

Fostering innovation lies at the core of CINEA’s approach. Through the Innovation Fund, we are not merely funding projects but igniting a sea change in maritime practices by embracing low-carbon technologies. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) extends beyond upgrading port infrastructure, with every electric charging station and alternative fuel option introduced, marking a step towards a more sustainable maritime ecosystem.  

The LIFE programme, EMFAF and Horizon Europe further encapsulate our ethos. Here, it is not just about preserving marine environments; it is about weaving the fabric of ocean literacy into the tapestry of society. Engaging fishermen, coastal communities, and the public, we are not just spreading awareness but nurturing an ocean-conscious culture.

Paloma Aba Garrote, director of the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). Photo: REVOLVE

What truly sets CINEA apart is our belief in the power of collaboration and education. Initiatives like the EU4Ocean Coalition are not just projects with objectives but movements that galvanise community action against marine litter and environmental degradation. This is where I have seen the tangible impact of our work – in the hands of those who cherish and protect our seas. 

Each of these programmes and individual projects functions like a piece of a larger puzzle. Meticulously designed, they fit into the broader picture of the EU Green Deal, promoting sustainability and environmental protection from various angles. These initiatives complement each other, addressing the needs of different beneficiaries and economic operators, thus creating a collective effect in our pursuit of a sustainable marine environment. 

Our strategy at CINEA extends beyond a top-down approach. We actively fund and support grassroots initiatives, such as the European Network of Blue Schools, Youth4Ocean Forum, and EU4OceanPlatform, inspiring and uniting communities in our collective quest for healthier oceans. Our own team’s active participation in initiatives such as the European Union Beach Cleanup campaign illustrates a hands-on commitment to our cause. This involvement reinforces CINEA’s dedication and that of its staff, to its green mission and serves as an inspiration and rallying point for broader community engagement. 

Reflecting on our journey, CINEA’s role in ocean conservation is a mosaic of initiatives, each integral to the grand vision of the EU Green Deal. Our unwavering commitment to a cleaner, sustainable marine environment is our pledge to preserve the oceans for generations. 

In charting this course, we at CINEA understand that the stewardship of our oceans is not a solitary endeavor but a collective voyage. It is a journey we undertake with every European citizen, every policymaker, and every partner organisation. Together, we are not just navigating the present but steering towards a sustainable, blue future.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not (necessarily) reflect REVOLVE's editorial stance.
Paloma Aba Garrote
Director of European Climate, Environment and Infrastructure Executive Agency (CINEA)

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