Environnement, développement durable et économie circulaire

Circular Economy applied to the food sector in coastal cities

Project Description

The project addresses coastal cities as key points for the sustainable development of the West Mediterranean area developing a set of intervention (based on specific local needs) aimed at improving the long-term sustainability of urban areas and communities focusing on a circular food production and consumption system. A holistic approach, able to improve the economic, environmental and social performance of the territory while guaranteeing food security in a deeply changing marine and climatic environment, will be applied. The approach will be developed taking into account the peculiarities of Mediterranean coastal cities while not neglecting the differences between North and South coasts that make Mediterranean coasts such a precious resource for commerce, tourism and economy in general. So a framework of actions focused on the improvement of the coastal cities performance, mainly centred on the food production and provisioning are proposed, aiming at the circularity of the process and the reduction of the negative externalities due to non-efficient system thanks to industrial symbiosis strategies, environmental traceability and labelling, support to small producer to reduce and valorize waste.

Specific circular ways to guarantee sustainable food production and consumption will be developed, with a holistic and long-term perspective, considering the concurrent growing of population, the depletion of natural capital (i.e. sea stocks), the concentration of people in cities and the climate change effect on the Med area; the access to traditional and alternative markets (i.e. farmers’ markets, fish markets, community supported agriculture) improving livelihoods of both small-scale and large-scale producers will be supported and the same will be done in order to reduce food waste and stabilise livelihoods by means of local and regional food hubs and shorter value chains. These actions and strategies, thanks to the valorization of waste as secondary material and the more efficient use of resources, will give also a contribution to the climate change effect mitigation in the coastal cities and to the efforts to cut down emissions by developing decarbonized production ways (switching from cold-chain processes to life-chain processes) and using less resources with a life cycle accounting and so generating less CO2 emissions. All these specific actions will be proposed and defined through a participatory governance structures to include stakeholders from multiple sectors from both urban and peri-urban areas in a given city region, in order to identify gaps and priorities based on a pre-identified set of indicators. City workshops will be organized to engage all relevant stakeholders from different sectors to assess missing links among food systems, territorial development and blue economy.

Moreover, experience and knowledge dissemination activities will be a core activity of the project in order to share best practices, expertise and research between partners of different countries (Italy, Tunisia) including the possibility of developing and supporting common research programs in order to find innovative solutions to the emerging common issues and enlarge the area of influence of the project. In fact, the ultimate goal of the project is building a network of Med cities working on circular economy with the common approach here proposed (please note : cities outside the West Mediterranean area have already contacted us to became part of the project)

The network will be an output of the project which will be able to keep working after the end of the project since it will involve local stakeholders (in local community living labs) interested in keep working on the themes of the initiative. Together with the network, the project will focus on the restoration or the utilization of physical places in the port areas and their surroundings in order to host activities on circular economy and define and update an overall urban blue food strategy integrated into the territorial development strategy based on a circular economy model. These buildings will host also workshop and educational courses on circular economy and the sustainable food production presenting experience and knowledge from any cities of the network. The project considers the previously described approach and a main common structure, but is then developed on specific implementation actions based on the local needs, on the specific peculiarities of the economic fabric of the target cities and the strengths of the local lead partners involved. A general timeline of the 4 years project implementation is considered.

The project wants to bring together a cooperative approach and a business oriented (in the medium-long term) perspective in order to apply a circular economy model at Med coastal cities level using the food sector as catalyst for its comprehensive implementation at urban level: a network of cities laboratories aimed at fostering the transition to the circular economy perspective with concrete and tangible outputs in the short term and the active involvement of the all city life actors.

Specific Objectives for each region

Enhancing coastal cities resource management and valorisation through the circular economy actions applied to the food value chains – and sectors linked with them – thus improving socio-economic and environmental conditions of coastal urban and peri-urban areas of the Med cities involved.

La Spezia (Italy)
Create the conditions to foster inclusive urban dynamics in the port area and its surrondings, improve environmental conditions and unlock innovation and public/private financing in the Blued Economy through the implementation of a circular and efficient resources management in the food sector and in the directly and indirectly linked sector.

Taranto (Italy)
Strengthen competitiveness in fishery and agribusiness value chains through the co-creation of circular and sustainable process and product innovation in the city of Taranto.

Gabes & Medenine (Tunisia)
Improve the economic and environmental resilience of coastal communities through integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and participation in local development.

Mediterranean ambition

The project has a Pan-Mediterranean vision.
Some implementation of specific lines of activities involving partners from the whole Mediterranean has already been financed (“B-Blue project” financed by Interreg-Med programme and coordinated by ENEA and “BEST TAG project” financed by DG DEVCO) while some others has been recently submitted (“Trans-border (virtual) Living Lab for small – scale sustainable and innovative aquatic food” submitted to the call UFM/2020 Grants-001)

Countries involved : Italy and Tunisia

La vie du projet

Dates clés
January 2021

Start of the Project

December 2025

End of the Project

Porteur du projet

ENEA – Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

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