The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) was established in 1973. It is an independent network of over 150 European Regions from both within and outside the European Union representing peripheral maritime regions. The network operates to bring these regions together for discussion and debate on areas that are of common concern (agriculture, fisheries, transport, sustainable development, competition and EU regional policy) and ensures that these interests are acknowledged at a European level. It operates both as a think tank and as a lobby for regions. The network is divided into six Geographical Commissions, one of which is the North Sea Commission (NSC).
Last year KIMO and the NSC signed an historic cooperation agreement at the KIMO AGM in Aalborg, Denmark. KIMO president, Robert te Beest speaking of the importance of this cooperation said:
The cooperation with the North Sea Commission gives both our organisations an excellent opportunity to improve the linkages between the coastal regions and the European municipalities. Together we can tackle important issues such as marine pollution, the plastic soup and paraffin pollution in a joined-up manner.
The two organisation continue to explore avenues of cooperation. In this spirit KIMO Sweden coordinator, Karin Meyer, attended the NSC’s 2019 Conference which took place in Marstrand, Sweden. The NSC’s Marine Resources Group, which has been tasked with dealing with the problem of marine litter, met to discuss their action plan for the next year. But it was not just talk as the group headed out to one of the small islands off the Marstrand coast to get their hands dirty busting some marine litter. In a short space of time, the group collected a sizable haul of marine litter, mostly consisting of small pieces of plastic.
At the Annual Business Meeting Jon Olav Strand, deputy mayor of Vest-Agder County in Norway, mentioned KIMO saying:
Last year in Fredrikstad, the North Sea Coommission and KIMO made an historic agreement of cooperation. At the same time, we realized that KIMO had no members in the the country with the longest (and most beautiful) coastline, Norway. So the Agder delegation wrote to all the mayors in the coastal communities in Agder, urging them to become members. We also invited KIMO to have an information meeting in Lillesand. The result has been that KIMO now have 4 members in Agder, and still a few are considering membership. It is a good start, and we hope there will be a snow ball effect in Norway. The reason why I am mentioning this, is that this form of cooperation between regions and municipalities work, and it is a way of strengthening the intentions of the agreement between KIMO and the regions of the North Sea Commission. We would like to recommend all regions to facilitate meetings between KIMO and the municipalities.
At the opening of the conference NSC President, Kerstin Brunnström, mentioned the cooperation agreement with KIMO before introducing Dr Yolanda Schmal. Dr Schmal unveiled for the first time, the transnational river cleanup initiative to be jointly coordinated by KIMO and the NSC in 2020. May this be the first of many joint initiatives where regions and local authorities can join forces for cleaner seas.