Marine Health

Ecomondo: EU Missions to tackle biggest challenges of our society

At Ecomondo a variety of conferences discussed all the key factors for the ecological transition and the new national and international trends and scenarios.

After last years suspension of the Ecomondo green tech expo in Rimini, this year the popular trade fair again attracted lots of exhibitors and visitors from all over the world. Under strict Covid-19 regulations attendees could dive deep in the world of sustainable waste management from the newest recycling and sorting machines to innovations in the bio energy sector to smart digital solutions to make streamline workflows. 

A wide program of conferences, workshops, and seminars - some also in the English language - aimed at presenting all the key factors for the ecological transition and the new national and international trends and scenarios. Although it must be remarked, that there could have been a bit more international events. 

At an event presenting the BlueMed initiative for a plastic free Mediterranean Sigi Gruber, former Head of the Marine Resources Unit, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, of the European Commission (EC) also talked about the EU Missions, a project launched at the end of September. "How to direct ourselves and provide solutions to biggest challenges society faces, that are the objectives of this project," Ms. Gruber said. There are five interconnected missions:

  • Adaptation to Climate Change: support at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030.
  • Cancer: improving the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and for those affected by cancer including their families, to live longer and better.
  • Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030 
  • 100 Climate neutral and smart cities by 2030
  • A Soil Deal for Europe: 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030

Focusing on the mission to restore the health of our ocean and waters, Ms Gruber pointed out, that it's the first time that a project interconnects the hydrosphere as a whole. The EU will only be able to achieve the goals of the Green deal with the restoring of the health of the ocean. Waters are major carbon sinks. They offer biodiversity and economic prosperity. We need to put the blue into the green!" 

The targets of the mission are: protecting at least 10% of the EU sea area; reduce by at least 50% plastic litter at sea; reduce by at least 30% microplastics released into the environment and eliminate GHG emissions from the maritime economy. "That are ambitious goals but they can be achieved."

The EU Missions are anchored within Horizon Europe, but also need private funding, Sigi Gruber said: "What is needed is combination of regional, national, EU and private funds – otherwise nothing will be done successfully."