The CPMR Balkan and Black Sea Commission (BBSC) participated in key discussions on how Blue Growth can be a driver for rural development at the 9th International Black Sea Symposium.

The International Black Sea Symposium (IBSS) held in in Athens, Greece, on 20-21 March, brought together the next generation of stakeholders with an interest in the Black Sea area, focusing on blue growth, a long-term strategy for sustainable development in the marine and maritime sectors.

Over two days of interactive discussions, 70 participants, speakers and observers had the opportunity to network, exchange knowledge and form ideas for new joint projects related to sustainable blue growth in the wider Black Sea region.

The BBSC, represented by its Policy Officer, Stavros Kalognomos, moderated a session on ‘Investing in people, skills & services’.

ICBSS Director General Mr. Georgios Mitrakos, highlighted the importance of coordinated action among all involved stakeholders that will allow for a result-oriented strategy and inclusive blue growth. He explained that the aim of the symposium was to enable constructive dialogue and generate future synergies.

The keynote speech was delivered by the Secretary General of the BSEC Organisation, H.E. Ambassador Michael B. Christides. who noted that “the BSEC Organisation has invested a lot of efforts in new realities” and will continue to support initiatives that aim to motivate the youth and “bring forward a new generation of stakeholders”.

The Symposium was developed in four targeted sessions, focusing on i) interregional cooperation and governance, ii) entrepreneurship and competitiveness, iii) investment in people, skills and services, and iv) knowledge and mitigation measures.

The results of the 9th IBSS will be published in a collective edition of the ICBSS Xenophon Paper Series, which will include the contributions of speakers and participants to the event.

More information about the 9th International Black Sea Symposium is available on