At the 5th edition of Our Ocean conference, in Bali, the European Union announced 23 new commitments for better governance of the oceans and €300 million of EU-funded initiatives, which include projects to tackle plastic pollution, make blue economy more sustainable and improve research and marine surveillance. This contribution comes on top of the over €550 million committed by the EU in last year’s Our Ocean conference in Malta.
The state of our oceans calls for determined global action. With 23 new commitments, the European Union stays engaged to ensure safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans. No country can succeed alone in this endeavour. It requires determination, consistency and partnerships, within and outside our European Union, and it is in this spirit that today we renew the commitment to protect Our Oceans,
…said High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini.
Namely, the EU has made 23 new commitments for improving the condition of oceans and tapping their potential. These include:
- €100 million for Research and Development (R&D) projects to tackle plastic pollution
- €82 million for marine and maritime research, such as ecosystem assessments, seafloor mapping and innovative aquaculture systems
- €18.4 million investment to make the European blue economy – the economic sectors that rely on the ocean and its resources – more sustainable.
The EU’s showpiece Earth observation programme Copernicus is included in the list of new commitments. The programme’s support will be enlarged with another €12.9 million for maritime security and for research dedicated to coastal environmental services, in addition to the €27 million Copernicus funds devoted at Our Ocean 2017 conference. With its Maritime Surveillance System Copernicus has significantly underpinned the EU commitments to reinforce maritime security and law enforcement.
Additionally, the European Commission is joining forces with UN Environment Programme and other international partners to launch a coalition of aquariums to fight plastic pollution. Marine litter in South-East Asia, notably China, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, will be fought with a €9 million EU-funded project. Another €7 million will go towards protection of marine ecosystems in the region.
Two years ahead of the initial deadline set, 10% of all EU waters have already been designated as Marine Protected Areas. With effective management, adequate funding and robust enforcement Marine Protected Areas can have both conservation and economic benefits.
The 2017 Our Ocean conference in Malta was a game-changer, mobilising funding and ocean action at an unprecedented scale. The European Union has already delivered on almost half of EU’s 35 commitments made at the last year’s conference, equaling €300 million. The EU is now working with Indonesia and other future hosts to keep the momentum going for cleaner and safer seas.
We need the oceans and the oceans need us. We have to urgently reduce marine litter and other sources of pollution, halt illegal fishing and support fragile marine ecosystems. We have to develop our blue economy – create sustainable jobs and growth – supported by cutting-edge research and new technologies. It is for this reason that we are making these commitments,
…noted Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime affairs and Fisheries.