A Mission to restore our ocean and waters by 2030
One of the five EU Mission areas is Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030. This Mission aims to protect and restore the health of our ocean and waters through research and innovation, citizen engagement and blue investments. The Mission will address the water system as a whole, with measurable and quantifiable goals for restoring ecosystems and biodiversity, zero pollution, decarbonisation and emissions reductions.
Following the interim report published in June 2020, the Mission was launched and the Implementation Plan was published alongside this factsheet in September 2021. The plan lays out that the Mission will have been accomplished when quantifiable and measurable goals of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the EU Action Plan Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Soil and Water and the EU Climate Law have been reached.
The Mission will strive to reach these goals by deploying innovative solutions at basin scale, with each basin focusing on a particular area in the developing and piloting phase (2021-2025). The Mission lighthouses are:
- Danube river basin: protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity (freshwater)
- Atlantic and Arctic coast: protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity (marine)
- Mediterranean Sea: prevent and eliminate pollution
- Baltic and North Sea basin: make the blue economy carbon-neutral.
Phase two (2026 - 2030) will focus on deployment and upscaling, with the replication of pilot activities. The scale-up actions would be carried out through annual calls for expressions of interest from 2025 onwards to macroregions, regions and communities looking to become Mission scale-up sites.
ERRIN input to Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030
The governance of our oceans and waters is a fragmented framework spread over all levels – from international to local. Regional and local authorities and stakeholders will be an important player in the development and steering to create more coherence and efficient cooperation both in terms of investments and research and innovation agendas.
In July 2020, the Blue Economy Working Group organised a webinar to discuss the development of the Mission with the European Commission and a member of the Mission Board.
Building on the webinar in 2020, ERRIN’s Blue Economy Working Group organised in June 2021 a dialogue together with the Mission Secretariat focusing on the area-based lighthouses proposed in the Mission. The event presented an opportunity for ERRIN members to come together with those working on the Mission and its Implementation Plan to discuss potential lighthouse activities, scale and governance. During the meeting, inspiring examples were presented from ERRIN members including WaterCampus Leeuwarden, North Norway, Mid-Norway, Turku Southwest Finland, Welsh Higher Education, Emilia Romagna and South Denmark.
The report on the dialogue includes ERRIN's key messages on the scale, scope, governance and synergies of the area-based lighthouses within the Mission.
ERRIN provided its input on the Mission Charter in February 2022, which was shared with the Mission Secretariat, and shared its messages for the Horizon Europe Missions Work Programme 2023-2024 in May 2022 where the members' concerns over the rigid and narrow thematic basins of the Mission were raised.
ERRIN has through its Blue Economy Working Group continued the dialogue with the Mission Secretariat. The project tasked with developing the Mission Implementation Support Platform, in which ERRIN is a partner, kicked off in the beginning of 2023.