"OUR OCEAN", 560 MLN INVESTED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
€ 560 million invested by the European Commission in favour of the initiative ‘Our Ocean’
Malta has convened the Fourth Conference with the theme ‘Our Ocean’ addressing the impact of pollution of the sea around the world, the protection of marine zones, sustainability of fishery and climate change. It is estimated that about eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea every year caused by human beings. International politicians, representatives of various industries and international environmental organizations, are attending the conference.
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini announced that the European Commission is allocating € 560 million translated into 36 concrete actions to the initiative Our Ocean. These actions range from global cooperation with European Union partners to minor initiatives in everyday life.
“I give you one small, but very concrete example: our embassies, our European Union delegations around the world have cleaned up 27 beaches in the course of this year. It is a small thing that makes a difference. We need a global alliance and we need everyone’s daily commitment. It is a collective responsibility that we all share”, declared Mogherini.
She emphasised that maritime security is a priority for the European Union. Investment in the most advanced technological systems such as the Galileo and Copernicus satellites have been executed to ensure global security, monitor pollution, track illegal fishing and find unidentified marine objects.
The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said that in the last three years a significant effort has been made by the European Union to draw up the United Nations target for sustainable development, where 14 of these goals are directly related to life at sea.
“When deciding on which business to invest in, what packaging to use, what car to drive or what fish to eat, we can all act for the ocean. And I can promise you that the European Union will continue to act for the ocean. That is why we are bringing more than 30 new commitments to this conference covering all the six areas of action of this conference,” said Commissioner Vella.
Commissioner Vella announced that the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean is adopting a proposal by the European Union to establish a marine protected area in the Adriatic.
The six areas of action are climate change, sustainable fishing, marine pollution, maritime security, sustainable economy and marine protected areas.
Prince Charles who addressed the opening of the conference strongly appealed to all consumers around the world to adopt the commitment and effort made by some of the major international companies to stop using plastic products that have a devastating effect on the marine life. He also urged business owners to come up with innovative solutions to manage waste and encouraged consumers to recycle products such as plastic bottles.
He mentioned how the fish are increasingly swallowing discarded material. Prince Charles referred to the research conducted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that states that unless immediate action is taken, by 2050, there would be more plastic in weight than fish. He added that this is a serious wake-up call for all countries, emphasising that dire need for an economy where used plastic is collected, recycled and reused, rather than disposed of.
Over 40 international ministers and international leaders from over one hundred countries are participating in the meeting. It is expected that at the closing of the conference more promises to protect the sea from further pollution and other effects are made.