European Union External Action

Safeguarding #OurOcean for future generations: #EUBeachCleanUp action across the planet

23/10/2019 - 10:11
News stories

Our ocean is under threat from the effects of climate change, over-fishing, pollution and loss of biodiversity. Our future depends on a clean and healthy ocean, where protection and sustainable use go hand in hand. Safeguarding the ocean for future generations is a shared responsibility and a matter of global urgency. The EU is at the forefront of climate action. As the 2019 worldwide #EUBeachCleanUp campaign nears the end, the EU welcomes this year’s #OurOcean conference in Oslo where it announces its commitments to protect the ocean.

Underwater, Ocean governance

This year Norway hosts the sixth  'Our Ocean conference' in Oslo on 23 and 24 October 2019, after Indonesia in 2018 and Malta in 2017.

The Our Ocean Conference is aimed to encourage significant and meaningful actions towards a clean, healthy and productive ocean. Previous conferences have resulted in nearly one thousand commitments. Governments, organisations and businesses are encouraged to announce new and far-reaching actions for the best of our ocean at this year’s conference. This year, the EU once again announces ambitious commitments and pledges to improve the conditions and governance of oceans, tackle plastic pollution, make blue economy more sustainable and improve research and marine surveillance.

Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime affairs and Fisheries represents the EU at Our Ocean Conference.

EEAS Deputy Secretary General Christian Leffler is also delivering a speech at the event.

The EU has adopted 22 new commitments related to oceans worth EUR 538.8 million. Out of the 22 EU commitments, EUR 85.3 million alone will be dedicated to ocean protection and conservation within Europe and beyond focusing on Marine Protected Areas, reversing the decline of marine biodiversity, climate change adaptation, tackling marine pollution. EUR 35.4 million will be dedicated to maritime security notably for countries of East and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. EUR 250 million will be invested in Oceans research in the framework of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for research and innovation.

In other regions of the world, the EU is glad to confirm EUR 80.5 million of new commitments to step up cooperation with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and with small islands and coastal states:

  • EUR 35 million will help protecting and managing marine and coastal biodiversity in African, Caribbean and Pacific small islands (SAMOA Pathway);
  • EUR 9.9 million will support climate change adaptation in the Pacific ocean; 
  • EUR 9.2 million will support the implementation of regional sea conventions in Africa, in the Caribbean and in the Pacific regions;
  • EUR 16.5 million will be dedicated to restoring and protecting marine biodiversity in Overseas Countries and Territories;
  • EUR 10 million will promote Marine Protected Area networks, sustainable fisheries and climate change adaptation in the coral triangle in the western Pacific Ocean.


#EUBeachCleanUp campaign

Millions of tons of trash end up in the ocean every year. By 2050 there is a risk that we could end up with more plastic than fish in the sea. The EU is leading global efforts to reduce and avoid plastic pollution, including marine litter. Besides ambitious reuse and recycling targets, EU policy will help reduce single use plastics and microplastics, as well as waste from lost fishing gear.

Through its EU Delegations and Member State Representations worldwide, the EU reaches out to create awareness about the issue and encourage people to take greater care of our planet. This year the global #EUBeachCleanUp campaign has grown bigger, as the EU joined forces with the United Nations as well as the iconic Smurfs, organising beach clean-up events together for a cleaner ocean and a healthier planet.

In 2019, an estimate of 35.000 people across the globe, including in particular, thousands of young people, participated in events organised by the EU Delegations and Representations together with the UN in about 80 countries for the #EUBeachCleanUp campaign that takes place around World Coastal Cleanup Day,  leading up to the Our Ocean Conference.

Find out more about the 2019 #EUBeachCleanUp actions around the world, watch the video round-up, and have a look at some of the images from the EU Delegations and Representations below.