6 BILLION EUROS COMMITTED TO "OUR OCEAN"
The international conference ‘Our Ocean’ has concluded in Malta with an outstanding commitment by the European Commission together with public and private entities to invest six billion euros to reduce marine pollution, increase protected marine areas and enhance safety at sea. Moreover promote an economy in favour of sustainable use of marine resources and fishing in concordance with increased efforts to address climate change compliant with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development goals according to the 2030 Agenda.
The creation of Marine Protected Areas spread over 2.5 million square kilometres equivalent to more than half of the EU territory size was announced during the conference.
A total of 400 commitments were established, 36 of them to be implemented by the EU. Governments of other countries have pledged to take up another 200 obligations, whilst private companies, voluntary organisations and research institutes have agreed on another hundred other responsibilities.
Airbus, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Marks and Spencer, Carrefour, Royal Caribbean Cruises, AXA and Sky were amongst the large companies that participated.
Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission stated during his closing keynote address that the European Commission is giving evidence of its determinate commitment towards sustainability, security and prosperity of the seas. “If they are at risk, so are we, for the oceans nourish our planet and our people, and they connect us to our partners around the world”.
Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries concluded the conference. As he addressed the audience he recalled how three years ago he was asked by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker to draft a strategy outlining the role of the European Union with regards global ocean. “I think together we have delivered. Our policies on land, like our commitment to the circular economy and reduced plastic waste; and at sea, on marine pollution, on protected areas, and on harnessing the ocean’s clean energy, clearly demonstrate this. The European Union is earning respect and inspiring action across the planet”.
The European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica stated that the outcome of the two-day international conference ensures a legal framework, security and sustainability for all fisherman operating around the world.
He added that large food companies are more secure in their operation, while coastal areas are more protected as together all are acting to address the climate change challenge. Commissioner Mimica stated that whilst the road is long, significant progress has been made.
The implementations of the commitments made during the conference held in Malta will be examined in the next ‘Our Ocean’ conference that will take place in Indonesia in 2018.