Although the spring KIMO International Board meeting is normally held at one of our member munipalities, this year’s programme took place in Brussels. The decision to change venue was a strategic one, giving the international board and national coordinators a chance to network with the relevant institutions based in the EU capital. We were kindly hosted by the Scottish Government in their offices at Scotland Europa House, Rond Point Schuman, an ideal location from which to travel to the meetings we had arranged.
After productive meetings of the International Board and the National Coordinators, we paid a visit to the Committee of the Regions, the European Union’s assembly of regional and local representatives, where we learned how to engage more effectively within the EU structure to ensure KIMO’s voice is heard. Next was a successful meeting with Europêche, the representative body for fishermen in the EU. The discussions explored the potential for working in partnership on projects of mutual benefit to our members and the possibility of making a joint commitment for the 2019 Our Ocean Conference in Norway. The following day, the Board met with representatives from the European Commission departments, DG MARE (Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) and DG COMM (Communications). There were presentations from KIMO about the work of our organisation and from our EU colleagues on their work on marine pollution. It was a valuable opportunity for KIMO to gain insights into the workings of the EU from the inside and also an opportunity to raise the Commission’s awareness of our work.
The international board and coordinators met for one final debrief before departing and, judging by the quantity and quality of new ideas for taking forward KIMO’s mission, it became vividly apparent how valuable the 3 days of meetings had been. The experiment of maximising opportunities by combining the existing meeting schedule with additional strategic meetings was deemed a success. The Secretariat will explore possibilities of a similar format for future meetings.