European Maritime Day in my country: Georgia

Georgia is situated on the edge of the Black Sea, where Europe meets Asia, and is famed for its ancient heritage, traditional hospitality and unique cuisine.  And now the maritime culture synonymous with the The Black Sea is being highlighted there, as part of an initiative to encourage citizens to celebrate and participate in activities relating to the Ocean waters that connect us all.

On  5 July, “Black Sea Blue Economy and Policy”: an interactive scientific-educational day organised by the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science with assistance from Batumi Shota Rustaveli University was held in Batumi, Georgia.

Early Career Ocean Professional (ECOP) Mariam Avakova was asked to organize a “Black Sea & Ocean awareness – raising quiz” as part of the joint activities with Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) held within the European Union funded projects: Black Sea Connect, Bridge-BS, DOORS (Horizon 2020), EMODnet and RedMarLitter BSB552.

“EMD in my country” involved more than 50 students from local schools, with the quiz content featuring Mariam’s own questions and also made use of resources from #EU4Ocean (courtesy of Vera Noon) and Emblas projects.  The objective of the quiz was for participants to develop Ocean Literacy, specifically in reference to the Black Sea’s endemic species, the use of ocean power to reduce emissions, local efforts to prevent marine damage, the EU’s involvement in ocean and sea protection and more.  The first 17 quiz winners were awarded a range of prizes, sporting the #EMDinMyCountry logo.  In addition to the quiz, a painting session was also conducted, with prizes awarded to participants.

Mariam Avakova is a Black Sea Young Ambassador, Youth4Ocean Advocate and Black Sea Connect Scientific team member based at TSU.  She’s said:

“A million tons of plastic waste are produced annually, and by 2050, there may be more plastic in the oceans and seas than fish, threatening the survival of our marine life. I’m pleased to participate in #SaveOurOcean and #BlackSeas with my action. Being the first person to put Georgia on the map of #EMDinmycounty is an honour and a historical milestone.”

Many young people joined the quiz, which was supported by senior colleague and the main contact for the TSU based Horizon project, Mr. Kakhaber Bilashvili and prizes funded by the Black Sea Connect, Bridge-BS and EMODnet projects.

Additionally, on July 9 and 11, Salome Kobaidze, another young ambassador for the Black Sea, hosted her own event in Kobuleti and Poti, which included an interactive workshop, experience-sharing activities and  a discussion about the current pressures affecting the Black Sea and the blue economy in the Black Sea Region.

It appears there is much movement amongst the Youth of Georgia, inspired by its waters, who are calling out for the recognition and protection of their Black Sea.

“I am grateful to the Youth4Ocean Forum for inviting me to attend the EMD Ravenna Days (in Italy) in May and to meet with Virginijus Sinkeviius, the Commissioner for Environment as a #Youth4Ocean advocate.”

Mariam Avakova

Congratulations to Mariam for her efforts and being selected by EU Mare and #EMDinMyCountry as a European Maritime Day in Georgia event organizer #EMD2022.  Watch Mariam’s video of the Day’s activities here and visit the event video on facebook here.  For more information on European Maritime Day in My Country click here and to read more about Black Sea Youth Ambassadors visit the Connect2BlackSea website.

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