2021 Nov/24

The Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability Days in La Rochelle

From 8th to 12th of November, La Rochelle Université, in partnership with its Foundation and EU-CONEXUS, organised the third edition of Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability Days.

The aim of the Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability Days is to share and synchronise the respective analyses and knowledge of scientists, public decision-makers, partners from the socio-economic world and citizens on the major challenge facing our planet in terms of integrated coastal zone management “explained Jean-Marc Ogier, President of EU-CONEXUS and La Rochelle Université. 

Around 150 people from nine European countries attended the event.

Representatives of several ports were present to this event such as Mr José Frasquet, Director for Strategy and Finance at the Marina of Valencia (Spain); Mr Julian Martínez Moya, Project Director at the Port Foundation of Valencia (Spain); Mr Algis Latakas, General Director of the Klaipeda Sea Port (Lithuania); Mr Dimitris Spyrou, Consultant in Strategic Planning and Marketing at the Piraeus Port Authority (Greece); Mr Bernard PLISSON, Strategic Director of the Atlantique Port of La Rochelle (France) and Mr Daniel Jarnea and Mr Sterian Frangu from Port of Constanta (Romania) – online. 

Representatives of cities and urban communities also participated to this event such as Mr Ricardas Zulcas, Avisor at the Klaipeda City Municipality (Lithuania); Mrs Theoni Panteli, Head of Blue Growth Projects Department of the Municipality of Piraeus (Greece); Mrs  Alexandra Chirila, Vice Mayor of the district 2 of Bucharest (Romania); Mr Vincent Demester Vice President of the Urban Community of La Rochelle; Mrs Mireille Jassin Le Guen, Director of the Employment, Higher Education and Social Economy at the Urban Community of La Rochelle (France) and Jean-François Fountaine, Mayor of La Rochelle and president of the Urban Community of La Rochelle (France) who met the members of EU-CONEXUS Governing Board.  

Laboratories visits have been organised to show how La Rochelle Université contributes to provide knowledge and research on the Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability with the presentation of the CEREGE (Management sciences, economics and law), LIENSs (interdisciplinary laboratory on Environmental Sciences, Health, Humanities and Social Sciences) and LaSIE (Engineer Sciences for Environment). A visit of the three ports of La Rochelle has also been held to present this ecosystem. 

For two days, cities, ports, companies and universities representatives exchanged over roundtables on smart urban coastal sustainability topics.  The aim was to showcase innovative projects and find synergies around four topics: Connected, Efficient & Responsible Ports; Sustainable Tourism; Resilient Strategies for urban coastlines and Smart Solutions and Coastal Cities. 

A whole afternoon was also dedicated to innovation with several activities: An Escape game on innovation, an Innovation showroom, speed meetings and a Keynote on the successful collaboration between La Rochelle Université and Valbiotis, a biotechnology research and development company in the area of prevention of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

A conference called “Coastline: what will change?” was also held to raise awareness of the general public on such topic with Isabelle Autissier, the first woman to circumnavigate the earth during a world sailing competition and Honorary President of WWF France and Eric Chaumillon, Professor of Marine and Coastal Geology at La Rochelle Université. Around 200 persons attended this conference. 

This event was also the opportunity to gather EU-CONEXUS boards. The Governing Board members of the 9 partners and associated partners worked on the future strategy and roll-out of the alliance. Members of the External Advisory Board also met to work on the sustainability strategy of the European University and gave valuable feedbacks for further implementation.  

Photo credits: Studio Monsieur U