Macaronesian Marine-Maritime Alliance (A3M) | Canary Islands7

The unequivocal reality is that, until the incorporation of Portugal and Spain into the European Union, reciprocal knowledge and interaction between the three archipelagos and of these with the surrounding African countries was practically insistent.

In the last days of this week, the partners of the European project Smartbluef (financed by the European program MAC 2014/2020), have met at the Social Headquarters of the Real Club Náutico de Santa Cruz de la Palma and the Casa de África in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in work sessions celebrating the European Maritime Day and participating in the opening of the International Sea Fair (FIMAR 2020). In this area, the first meeting of the General Assembly of the Macaronesian Marine/Maritime Alliance (A3M) took place, appointing the current president of the Canary Islands Maritime Cluster, Vicente Marrero; its Governance Code was approved; Operating Model and the agreement to incorporate new members.

The name of the Alliance includes terms of great importance that, however, may be far from the immediate reality and consequently makes them distant from being considered as generals typical of the Canary Islands.

The Marine/Maritime concept tries to unify components that are clearly descriptive of the two spaces and contents of their own activities: Marine as a reference to everything that has to do with or is related to the characteristics of the seas and oceans and Maritime, derived or related to the naval, port and its own functionalities. The specific term was used to make an integrated vision possible and to unify joint and synergistic promotion strategies in a broad sense, but words (for practical purposes they are considered synonymous) with such a consolidated and precise meaning have been hindering the extension of the concept. The European Commission has been making efforts to clarify and consolidate the term, using it as a central strategic tool for development and sustainable environmental growth.

The term Macaronesia as geographical delimitation would seem to be clearer and simpler, but it is not, since to its biogeographical origin is added the archipelagos of the Eastern Central Atlantic (Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands), in a not too precise way, certain enclaves on the African continent.

Despite this, the Macaronesian term has been very appropriate to identify other realities more effectively, thus Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands are Outermost Regions in the European administrative legal system. In this context, the denomination of Macaronesia as ORs has been more precise and effective with respect to the descriptive denomination that would correspond to it as Group of Regions of the Eastern Central Atlantic. Additionally, it is proving useful to identify the space for collaboration with nearby African countries as part of the European neighborhood strategy.

The unequivocal reality is that, until the incorporation of Portugal and Spain into the European Union, reciprocal knowledge and interaction between the three archipelagos and these with the surrounding African countries was practically insistent. A3M tries to answer questions such as: what similar needs and opportunities can best be addressed together? How do you build the best actions to achieve it?

As a first response to these questions, a commission was set up in 2013 to explore the creation of a cooperation tool that would allow the identification of common problems and opportunities that could be addressed jointly. This was happening for the first time in the modern history of these archipelagos that, despite their proximity, until a few years ago, there was no type of regular direct communication between them (as an example to go from the Canary Islands to Madeira approximately 500 km distant, boat was not possible and by plane a route via Madrid and Lisbon of more than 2200 km was necessary).

Joining the European Union opened up the possibility for the first time of cooperating to solve some common problems and try to take advantage of the opportunities derived from the geographical position and the similarity of situations. The duration of the process and the results of the work that have made possible the start-up of the Macaronesian Marine-Maritime Alliance, has made it necessary to analyze the validity of the criteria that led to its approach and review the strategy for its implementation. growth.

Regarding the elements of reflection used in 2013 (initial moment of the approach), the very current ones derived from the international crises (pandemic and war) have been added, concluding in a very simplified way that:

-The initial general needs and possibilities, which gave impetus to the Alliance, are not only maintained, but are constantly reinforced, with the alignment and incorporation of regional needs with the global European strategy being essential.

-The marginalization of the Macaronesian space from the great North-North activity routes and the slippage of these routes from the Atlantic to the Pacific weaken and reduce the opportunities derived from the geographical position.

-The essential need to offset this trend by shifting the focus from the needs and shortcomings (which already existed in the starting situation and which are increasing in the current situation and in the forecasts), towards the enhancement of capabilities and potential existing, but which take on a new value for Europe, such as:

-Those derived from the enormous marine space in the environment of the archipelagos and the capacities that arise from the accelerated implementation of the RE.

-The opportunities arising from the essential changes in maritime and air transport.

-The European tools and resources aimed at these purposes, which provide the essential support for enhancement at the local level.

-The promotion of environmentally sustainable management of renewable and non-renewable resources, as well as ocean aquaculture, which is essential to meet the protein needs of the growing population.

The Macaronesian Marine-Maritime Alliance A3M has been promoted effectively and in solidarity from the Canary Islands (it continues to be difficult as the time that has elapsed since the constitution of the Commission in 2013 indicates, despite the work and resources used by the promoters since then, thanks to European support for European interregional and cross-border cooperation), pointing the way and confirming the methodology, which makes it essential to understand that:

It is the impulse from one's own reality, the critical element to compensate, palliate, overcome... the global tendencies of marginalizing geographic spaces and communities like ours.

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