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High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. (Photo: EU)

EU proposes action to boost international ocean governance

EUROPEAN UNION
Saturday, November 12, 2016, 01:00 (GMT + 9)

A Joint Communication proposing actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans has been adopted by the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

The initiative would make it possible to address certain global challenges such as climate change, poverty, food security, piracy, crime, trafficking in human beings, through better protected and sustainably managed oceans, whose economy has been estimated at EUR 1.3 trillion.

"With this Joint Communication, we confirm our engagement to be at the frontline in the implementation of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for the benefit of EU citizens and the whole world,” pointed out Mogherini.

In her view, attempts to assert territorial or maritime claims are affecting regional stability and the global economy and it is necessary to use all the tools available to shape ocean governance and make it more part of the European Union's external action.

“This is also a concrete example of how the EU Global Strategy for foreign and security policy delivers in practice," she claimed.

The Communication comprises 14 sets of actions in three priority areas:

  • Improving international ocean governance framework: existing ocean rules need to be further developed and better enforced, for example to address areas beyond national jurisdiction or implement internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals, such as creating the 10 per cent target for Marine Protected Areas by 2020.
  • Reducing human pressure on the oceans and creating the conditions for a sustainable blue economy: with the Paris Agreement having entered into force, the Commission will work to strengthen ocean-related action to implement national and international commitments, starting at Oceans Day at COP22 in Marrakech on November 12, 2016. Marine litter is another major threat to oceans and the EU will propose by 2017 a strategy on plastics, which will contribute to reducing marine litter by at least 30 per cent by 2020.
  • Strengthening international ocean research and data: more understanding and sound scientific knowledge is essential to sustainably manage ocean resources and reduce human pressure.

“The EU is taking the lead to create a stronger system of ocean governance around the globe. We are announcing an agenda for improving the way oceans are managed, reducing human pressure on our oceans, and investing in science. This will ensure that marine resources are used sustainably, for healthy marine eco-systems and a thriving ocean economy," Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries concluded.

The proposed actions will now be discussed with the EU Member States in the Council and the European Parliament.
 


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