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Access now all presentations used during the session


Access now all presentations used during the session


Summary: After the success of the “I Belgian-Portuguese Routes for Blue Economy” and in the context of the current pandemic crises, the Belgian-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce decided that a second edition should be held with format adaptations, giving privilege to remote online participation. The second edition will have an emphasis on “Biodiversity” and will allow for contrasted approaches that will provoke new ideas and will stimulate unpredictable partnerships between companies, entrepreneurs, academia, funders and politicians. Hopefully, the event will point to solutions to overcome constraints so that synergies between companies are encouraged.

Topics: ​

  • Renewable Natural Resources (fisheries, aquaculture),

  • Biotechnology (pharmacology, cosmetics),

  • Bioengineer (coastal resilience),

  • Tourism and Ecotourism,

  • Marine biodiversity recovery,

  • Nature Protection.

Context: ​ (Based in Duarte Bué Alves report for the “I Belgian-Portuguese Routes for Blue Economy.")


The ocean is of critical importance to the global economy. According to an OECD report (2016), its economic output is currently around 1.5 trillion USD, corresponding to 2.5% of the world gross value added. The same study projects that by 2030 this could reach USD 3 trillion, employing 40 million people, with significant growth expected in offshore wind energy, marine aquaculture, fish processing and port activities. In such a context, the pressure on the ocean is rising and may jeopardise the long-term economic forecasts. The threats to blue economy are clearly identified (climate change; pollution; illegal fishing; overexploitation; biodiversity decrease) and these brings us to new challenges that economic stakeholders must identify and cope with. These challenges are in line with the most recent state of the art in terms of international priorities (inter alia Agenda 2030), as well as with the concerns of the business community. The world’s seventh largest economy based on GDP doesn’t belong to a single country, and isn’t even on land, yet it’s valued at around $3 trillion annually, and supports the livelihoods of more than 3 billion people and a rich biodiversity. It’s the ocean (adapted from Kituyi and Bertarelli, 2020). The ocean is vital for human well-being. Covering over two thirds of the planet, it contains rich biodiverse habitats, provides invaluable ecosystem services, is central to global food security, and absorbs significant amounts of heat and carbon dioxide. The ocean also presents immense opportunities for economic growth, employment and development. The ocean economy spans multiple sectors – including oil and gas, fishing, aquaculture, shipping, tourism, offshore wind energy, mining, and marine biotechnology – and is growing rapidly (in OECD 2020). There exists a strong business case for scaling up action on biodiversity. Business impacts and dependencies on biodiversity translate into risks to business and financial organisations, including ecological risks to operations; liability risks; and regulatory, reputational, market and financial risks. Acknowledging and measuring these dependencies and impacts on biodiversity can help businesses and financial organisations manage and prevent biodiversity-related risks, while harnessing new business opportunities (in OECD 2019). To use it wisely, biodiversity must be respected and used in a sustainable fashion. The potential decline in marine biodiversity could result in a varying and unpredictable change in the provision of goods and services, including reduced resilience and resistance to change, declining marine environmental health, reduced fisheries potential, and loss of recreational opportunities (adapted from Beaumont, ‎2008). Therefore, integrating biodiversity, nature-based solutions and regenerative designs into our future business is a must. It is feasible. How to do it has to be clarified.


Access now all presentations used during the session

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Summary: After the success of the first Belgian–Portuguese Routes for the Blue Economy, in 2019, which was focused on offshore wind energy, the second edition, in 2020, was organized around bio-diversity. The third event will focus on smart infrastructure, digitization, and monitoring of the marine and ocean environment.

The  III Belgian–Portuguese Routes for the Blue economy will bring together frontrunners, but also private initiatives in the Blue Growth realm together with financing agents, academia, clusters, sectoral representatives, administrations and politicians from both Portugal, Belgium, and the EU to share the actual status, express needs and exchange future developments. The event will be organised around the following topics:



  • Understanding and optimising ocean observations

  • Materials, smart infrastructure and marine robotics, incl. e.g. drones

  • Data analysis, data mining and decision support tools

  • Education and social engagement


Data is the new gold. This 'raw material' will be valuable for the blue economy. Big data is becoming a key factor to optimize complex activities at the sea, support decisions to reduce operations in harsh conditions and increase safety, contributing to the sustainability and profitability of the blue economy. Technological developments such as big data, cloud computing, machine learning and AI will radically change the world. They form the foundation of Industry 4.0. Examples are applications of Internet of Things (IoT), where sensors generate data from devices and transmit it to a computer, but also automation and remote operating vehicles as well as high-performance sensors. These tools and models will assist in assessing the offshore situation, planning operation and maintenance in the future. The intelligent network that is created allows engineers and technicians to monitor, adjust and (preventively) optimize operations. Via smart networks, environmental, biodiversity and ecosystem monitoring can also be used to provide input for smart design and operations. To come to such smart infrastructure still there is still a way to go. Both Portugal and Belgium are developing smart technology and can combine forces to take a next step in Its development.

Industry 4.0 is calling. It will need the knowledge of different disciplines coupled with multi-sensoring schemes that can support sustainable blue economy activities. It will be associated with online servers and/or workstations with the most appropriate software to manage and control offshore systems and activities. In this way contributing for safer operations, more sustainable use of our oceans and seas and cost reduction. Industry 4.0 can be stretched to management strategies that embrace the data gathering, exchange between joined nodes, to have real-time cloud computing practices and management. It is both the knowledge of the parts and wisdom of the whole that we will need to develop this new economy.

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