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Workshop: Investing in Sustainable Blue Economy in Croatia

January 18, 2022


  • Background

    The coast, the islands and the sea are Croatia’s key national assets, hosting a large share of its population and contributing significantly to the country’s economy. 

    The Adriatic region also has unique and extremely sensitive coastal and marine ecosystems, brimming with biological diversity. However, the sea level rise, erosion, floods, pollution, and excessive exploitation of natural resources are all putting considerable pressure on the coastal population, on economic activities including tourism, and on critical ecosystem services.

    A Blue Economy approach can help Croatia address these challenges and promote sustainable and integrated development of economic sectors in healthy coasts and sea.

    In this context, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Croatia and the World Bank co-hosted a virtual workshop to introduce the Blue Economy concept and discuss challenges related to the sustainable management of the Croatian coast and sea. The World Bank also showcased how the Blue Economy concept has been applied in other countries, and presented funding opportunities for the development of the Blue Economy in Croatia.


  • About the Workshop

    The Workshop objectives:

    1. Contribute to strengthening of the national dialogue on the Blue Economy and provide an added focus for considering Croatia’s coastal and marine natural capital in the country’s Blue Economy and green growth development strategy as well in its climate adaptation and mitigation responses.  
    2. Foster the adoption of a sustainable blue economy approach in Croatia.

    Session 1 objectives:

    • Improve understanding of the difference between maritime economy and sustainable Blue Economy (in line with the EU policies).
    • Provide illustrations of the Blue Economy approaches from other countries.
    • Identify priority sectors for the Blue Economy.
    • Identify major challengers to the Blue Economy.

    Session 2 objectives:

    • Improve understanding of funding opportunities specifically from the EU and from the World Bank.
    • Identify priority short-term and medium-term interventions for the Blue Economy in Croatia


  • Ms. Elizabeta Kos

    Director of Water Management and Sea Protection Directorate

    Ms. Elizabeta Kos is Director of Water Management and Sea Protection Directorate at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. Ms. Kos has been working in the field of water management since 2004 and has extensive experience in different areas of water management, from water protection to water use, managing drafting of water legislation as well as its implementation, participating in activities related to accession of Republic of Croatia to the European Union as well as in water management projects and managing Croatian bilateral and multilateral water management coope-ration. Additionally, Ms. Kos is both Croatian Water Director and Marine Director, as well as Barcelona Convention/MAP focal point.

    Mr. Jehan Arulpragasam

    Country Manager for Croatia and Slovenia

    Mr. Jehan Arulpragasam is the Country Manager for Croatia and Slovenia. In this position, he represents the World Bank in Croatia and Slovenia and oversees the World Bank’s strategic, analytical, operational, and knowledge program in both countries. Previously, he was Global Practice Manager for Social Protection and Jobs, both in East Asia and the Pacific and in Africa. Prior to that, he served as Advisor to the Managing Director of the World Bank. Mr. Arulpragasam is an economist with 35 years of experience working in international development in over 40 countries world-wide. His work has focused on inclusive growth and human development, covering a range of issues from macro-economic and fiscal policy to structural sector reform and social policy. An experienced leader with a decade of managerial experience, Mr. Arulpragasam has managed large World Bank lending and analytical programs and managed staff across multiple continents. He has a record of developing strong partnerships across Governments and with development partners to deliver results. Mr. Arulpragasam has a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Ms. Kseniya Lvovsky

    Practice Manager for Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy

    Ms. Kseniya Lvovsky is Practice Manager for Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy (ENB) in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Sustainable Development Department of the World Bank. Previously, she served as ENB Practice Manager in South Asia, Country Manager for Albania, Head of the Corporate Climate Change Program, and Lead Environmental Economist. Since joining the World Bank in 1993, Kseniya led various programs on pollution management, environmental health, sustainable energy, climate change, green growth policies, and—most recently—Blue Economy, working across disciplines and defining strategic directions on several issues in the environment-development interface. Kseniya is the lead author of several influential World Bank reports. She comes from an early cohort of economists who started working on environmental issues, completing her Ph.D. thesis on integrating environmental considerations in economy-wide modeling in 1982.

    Ms. Eleni Hatziyanni

    Policy Officer, DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

    Ms. Eleni Hatziyanni is a Policy Officer at the European Commission - DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Unit A3: Sea Basin Strategies, Maritime Regional Cooperation and Maritime Security. She is contributing to the development of the Sustainable Blue Economy in the context of Sea Basin Strategies and Maritime Regional Cooperation by focusing on the Mediterranean Basin and the European Strategy of Adriatic Ionian Region (EUSAIR). Ms. Hatziyanni has nearly a decade of experience in Marine Research (E & W Mediterranean and Black Sea), working at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), and 15 years’ experience in public regional administration (Region of Crete, Greece). As Director of Environment and Spatial Planning she was responsible for interregional coordination of European Projects as part of the regional Smart Specialization Strategy. She has successfully cooperated with local, regional, European, and international institutes; research centers; European Networks; and policy makers. Ms. Hatziyanni has published many papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. in Marine Biology and Marine Ecology, and a Diploma in Geology. Her Post Doc research addressed Marine Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

    Mr. Vladimir Kalinski

    Senior Environmental Specialist

    Mr. Vladimir Kalinski is Senior Environmental Specialist in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy Global Practice (ECA ENB) operations. A Croatian national, Mr. Kalinski provides analytical and coordination support work on the Croatia portfolio and supports technical teams in the Europe and Central Asia region (ECA). He has more than 18 years of professional experience in a range of sectors, including geoscience, environmental management, water, ocean governance, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. In recent years, he has worked primarily on climate change adaptation projects in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Mr. Kalinski holds a B.Sc. in Geology, an M.Sc. in Applied and Environmental Geosciences, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Management with a Dissertation in the field of Climate Change Adaptation.

    Mr. Ivica Trumbić

    Expert in coastal and marine management

    Mr. Ivica Trumbić has more than 40 years of professional experience in coastal and marine management. He has extensive experience in Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Marine Spatial Planning, Blue Economy, and Oceans and Large Marine Ecosystem Management, including development of marine spatial plans and ocean management policies in many regions of the world, delivery of policy advice and preparation of strategic documents, and technical and scientific expertise, as well as institutional capacity building and training. Mr. Trumbić has served as Lead Negotiator on technical aspects of the unique and highly innovative Mediterranean ICZM Protocol. He also managed several large regional and global projects in ocean and coastal management financed by international organizations including the EU, the World Bank and, most recently, the GEF. Prior to his position as independent consultant for UNDP, UNESCO, UNEP, the EU and other organizations, Mr. Trumbić served for 20 years as Director of the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC) of the UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan. He was one of the world leading experts to develop the methodology for ICZM, which was applied several projects and programs across the Mediterranean region and Eastern and Western Africa. Most recently, Mr. Trumbić served as Chief Technical Advisor for the GEF UNDP LME:LEARN project implemented by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UNESCO.

    Ms. Eolina Petrova Milova

    Senior Environment Specialist

    Ms. Eolina Petrova Milova has served as Senior Environment Specialist at the Bulgarian country office of the World Bank since 2009. In the past 13 years, she has worked on both lending and analytical projects in the area of environment, water, energy, agriculture, transport, and regional development. More recently, her work program is covering issues as diverse as air quality, forestry, water resource and flood management, integrated regional investments, and a just transition in the context of the European Green Deal, among others. In the past three years, Eolina has been deeply involved in the emerging Blueing the Black Sea program of the World Bank, focusing on pollution and strengthening governance of the Blue Economy.

    Ms. Bérengère Prince

    Lead Natural Resources Management Specialist

    Ms. Bérengère Prince, Lead Natural Resources Management Specialist, joined the World Bank in 2010. Over the past decade, she has led several blue engagements in Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Since her transfer to the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region in the Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy Global Practice in March 2020, she has led the preparation of a new regional program for the Black Sea and served as a technical lead for teams working in the blue space in Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Since September 2019, she has also led the preparation of the World Bank report Realizing the Blue Economy Potential of Albania. Ms. Prince started her career at the fisheries department of the French Ministry of Agriculture during the French rotating chairmanship of the EU Council in 2000. She is a French national with an M.Sc. in Agronomy, Natural Resources Management, and Fisheries Economics, as well as an LL.M. in International Business Law.

    Ms. Albena Aminkova

    Programme Manager, - Structural Support Mediterranean, Black Sea and Landlocked Member States

    Ms. Albena Aminkova serves as Programme Manager Unit D2: Structural Support Mediterranean, Black Sea and Landlocked Member States, the European Commission. She oversees Croatia and Slovenia programs as well as EMFF/EMFAF programmes for these two countries. She has been working in Brussels since 2006, first in the Bulgarian Permanent Representation and in 2008, at the European Commission’s DG MARE. Prior to her work at the European Commission, Ms. Aminkova served in the Bulgarian Administration. She holds a master’s degree in European Law.

    Ms. Andreea Strachinescu

    Head of Unit - Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

    Ms. Andreea Strachinescu is Head of Unit: Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment in the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission. She is responsible for promoting innovative and emerging technologies and solutions and ensuring broad dissemination of marine knowledge and research. The Unit fosters innovation and provides policy input to Horizon Europe and to smart specialization strategies. Its aim is to create a better understanding of the ocean resources and advocate their sustainable use. It also serves as the lead for providing policy input to the investments strategies for the Blue Economy. Prior to this position, Ms. Strachinescu served as Head of Unit responsible for New Energy Technologies and Innovation in the Directorate General for Energy, European Commission and led development of policy and actions on non-nuclear energy research and innovation.

    Mr. Luka Bačić

    Operations Officer

    Mr. Luka Bačić is an Operations Officer in the World Bank’s Croatia Country Management Unit. He is responsible for portfolio monitoring and successful program delivery. He is also providing analytic and operational support to work program activities, including key documents preparation and outputs as well as quality assurance. He joined the Bank in 2016 to serve at the Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice before joining the Croatia Country Management Unit. Previously, Mr. Bačić worked as a Senior Adviser at the Agency for Investments and Competitiveness of the Government of Croatia and as a Management Consultant at Deloitte. He holds a master’s degree in Finance from the Faculty of Economics and Business in Zagreb.

    Banu Setlur

    Senior Environmental Specialist

    Banu Setlur is Senior Environmental Specialist leading operations and technical studies in the World Bank’s Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy Global Practice. She has experience working on low-, middle-, and high-income countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Africa regions. She has led multisectoral projects in several countries to promote environmental and social sustainability relating to the blue and green agendas. She is currently leading sustainable development operations in the Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region. Banu has a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason University, U.S., and an associate degree in Environmental Management from the University of Manchester, U.K.

  • Report

    Croatia: Cost of Environmental Degradation (pdf)


    Mentimeter Survey: Blue Economy in Croatia (pdf, Croatian)


    Global Importance of Blue Economy and World Bank Engagement   EN | HR
    Status of Blue Economy in Croatia   EN | HR
    World Bank Funding Possibilities for Blue Economy   EN | HR
    EU Funding Opportunities Mission Ocean and BlueInvest   EN | HR
    European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund   EN | HR


  • Time Agenda

    14:30 – 14:50

    Opening remarks

    Ms. Elizabeta Kos, Director, Directorate for Water Management and Sea Protection, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Croatia

    Mr. Jehan Arulpragasam, Croatia Country Manager, World Bank

    Ms. Kseniya Lvovsky, Practice Manager, World Bank

    Setting the scene:  Framing the Blue Economy development agenda – Objective of the workshop

    Ms. Eleni Hatziyanni, Policy Officer, DG MARE, EC

    Towards a Sustainable Blue Economy in the Adriatic Ionian Region

    Moderator: Mr. Vladimir Kalinski, Senior Environmental Specialist, World Bank

    14:50 – 15:15

    Session 1: The importance of the Blue Economy for Croatia

    A quick Survey: The Blue Economy – What is it?

    Status of the Blue Economy in Croatia

    Mr. Ivica Trumbić, Blue Economy Expert, World Bank Consultant

    Blue Economy experiences from other countries

    Ms. Eolina Petrova Milova, Senior Environmental Specialist, World Bank

    15:15 – 15:55


    Online survey on opportunities and challenges of the Blue Economy in Croatia followed by a discussion on specific themes for the Blue Economy in Croatia

    Ms. Bérengère Prince, Lead Natural Resources Management Specialist, World Bank




    Session 2: Blue Economy Funding Opportunities

    European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) 

    Ms. Albena Aminkova, Programme Manager Unit D2: Structural Support Mediterranean, Black Sea and landlocked Member States, European Commission

    Other EU funding opportunities: Mission Ocean and BlueInvest

    Ms. Andreea Strachinescu, Head of Unit A1: Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment, European Commission

    World Bank funding possibilities for Blue Economy

    Mr. Kazimir Luka Bačić, Operations Officer, World Bank

    Online survey followed by a Discussion: How could the World Bank support the Blue Economy agenda in Croatia?

    Moderator: Ms. Banu Setlur, Senior Environmental Specialist, World Bank



    Ms. Bérengère Prince, Lead Natural Resources Management Specialist, World Bank