Focus areas

  • creating a community of citizens
  • prepare the blue economy workforce
  • education and literacy on oceans and water
  • bridging the major gaps in science, observation and forecasting capacity
  • a digital ocean and water knowledge system, with monitoring services to better understand, monitor and forecast the health of the hydrosphere
  • ‘lighthouses’ in major European sea and river basins (hubs and platforms for the development, demonstration and deployment of transformative innovations of all forms)

Target groups

  • Citizens, society organisations, schools, museums, aquaria, cultural centres
  • academic institutions
Objective 1: Protect and restore marine and freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity

In line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030

Target 1: Protect a minimum of 30% of the EU’s sea area and integrate ecological corridors, as part of a true Trans-European Nature Network.

Target 2: Strictly protect at least 10% of the EU’s sea area.

Target 3: Restore at least 25,000 km of free-flowing rivers.

Target 4: Contribute to relevant upcoming marine nature restoration targets including degraded seabed habitats and coastal ecosystems

Objective 2: Prevent and eliminate pollution of our ocean, seas and waters

In line with the EU Action Plan Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil

Target 1: Reduce by at least 50% plastic litter at sea.

Target 2: Reduce by at least 30% microplastics released into the environment.

Target 3: Reduce by at least 50% nutrient losses, the use and risk of chemical pesticides.

Objective 3: Make the sustainable blue economy carbon-neutral and circular

In line with the proposed European Climate Law and the holistic vision enshrined in the Sustainable Blue Economy Strategy

Target 1: Eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from maritime economic activities in the
EU and sequester those emissions that cannot be avoided (net zero maritime

Target 2: Develop zero-carbon and low-impact aquaculture, and promote circular, low carbon multi-purpose use of marine and water space

Mission building blocks

The mission will be implemented in two phases.

  • ‘development and piloting’ phase (2022-2025), laying the foundations for the implementation of the three mission objectives and enabling actions. Mission ‘lighthouses’ will be launched in the first phase, as sites to pilot, demonstrate and deploy the mission solutions across EU sea and river basins.
  • ‘deployment and upscaling’ phase (2026-2030). The solutions developed and piloted in the first phase to deliver on the mission and the European Green Deal objectives will be further deployed, replicated and scaled up through rounds of open calls for scale up actions.

Missions lighthouses identified: Atlantic and Arctic coast, Baltic and North Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Danube River basin


Funding will be made available from Horizon Europe, and from other public sources (e.g. European, national, regional and local levels of funding) as well as from private investments.

A budget of around €500 million coming from Horizon Europe, the EU fisheries fund, InvestEU and other programmes is dedicated to the mission for the first phase.

Supporting documents


Implementation plan

Contact us

The first calls for proposals with topics specifically related to the missions will be published by the end of 2021. Luxembourg organisations interesting in being involved are welcome to contact the Horizon Europe National Contact Point at Luxinnovation for further information, advice and support.