European Union External Action

#TogetherWeCan Save #OurOcean

08/06/2019 - 09:04
News stories

Every year we celebrate World Oceans Day to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. In return we owe it to the ocean to take action to protect it as best we can. The EU plays an important part in ocean activism. Three years ago, together with the High Representative Federica Mogherini, the EU set out an International Ocean Governance agenda, for the future of our oceans, proposing 50 actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans in Europe and around the world.

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The 50 actions on international ocean governance proposed by the EU are being successfully implemented and they are an integral part of its response to the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 14 'to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources'.

International ocean governance is about managing and using the world's oceans and their resources in ways that keep our oceans healthy, productive, safe, secure and resilient. Healthy oceans are essential for humankind: as climate regulators, as a source for global food security, human health and as an engine for economic growth.

Strong ocean governance is a priority for the EU. In fact the EU actively encouraged ocean governance at the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, which adopted two resolutions concerning the oceans and the Law of the Sea and sustainable fisheries, in line with the EU’s agenda.

Most of the problems our ocean is faced with (climate change, pollution, overfishing…) are global by nature. We therefore need a common response from the global community. As countries are turning increasingly towards the blue economy to support their development, strong action is needed more than ever.

Plastic pollution in particular is an increasing threat to our oceans and marine organisms. In the EU, the new single-use plastics legislation will address 70 percent of marine litter items, avoiding environmental damage that would otherwise cost €22 billion by 2030. But each of us can act daily, by changing habits. This is the spirit of the #ReadyToChange campaign.

As part of its efforts to raise awareness about plastic pollution and inspire people to stop using single-use plastics, the European Commission is also coordinating a global coalition of 182 aquariums from 41 countries.


Of course once more we call on our Delegations worldwide, including landlocked countries, to encourage staff and locals to gather and take action in the global #EUbeachcleanup of shores and lakes and rivers, around International Coastal Clean-up Day in September. The 2019 EU Global Beach Clean-up campaign kicked off on the Belgian coast in March. An impressive 11.5 tonnes of litter were collected.

Last year's global beach clean saw the successful participation of around 70 countries including Member States.


This year we aim to further maximize participation with some help from none other than our little blue earth-loving colleagues, The Smurfs! Via the EU-Smurfs partnership, signed in April we will be able reach out on a wider scale globally while sharing our values and priorities.

“The Smurfs have always been the bearer of noble values,” says Ms. Véronique Culliford daughter of Smurf-creator Peyo and president of IMPS, the company behind the Smurfs. “Thanks to this partnership with the European Union, we will be able to share common ideals."

Of course you do not have to wait for an organised beach clean to do your part… summer is round the corner and after enjoying a day at the beach, make sure to clean up after you and your surroundings if your neighbours on the beach failed to do so…and encourage others to do the same because every little action counts! Let's do this…#Togetherwecan save #OurOcean