European Union External Action

Our Ocean, Our Legacy... EU commits further EUR 300 million for clean, healthy and safe ocean

29/10/2018 - 15:00
News stories

The European Union has pledged close to EUR 300 million to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources during its participation at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali, Indonesia. This comes on top of the EUR 550 million in commitments made by the EU in 2017, when it hosted the conference in Malta.

Ocean Conference, ocean governance

"We need the oceans and the oceans need us,” stated Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, participating in the conference. “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," Mr. Vella stressed.

The Our Ocean Conference contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including SDG Goal 14 that aims to "conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources." The aim of the conference is to attract tangible commitments from governments, companies and non-governmental organisations.

In Bali, the EU has made 23 new commitments. These include EUR 100 million for R&D projects to tackle plastic pollution and EUR 82 million for marine and maritime research, such as ecosystem assessments, seafloor mapping and innovative aquaculture systems.

They also include a EUR 18.4 million investment to make the European blue economy – meaning all economic sectors that rely on the ocean and its resources – more sustainable, through new skills, blue labs and better dissemination of knowledge.

The EU is taking action at home but also internationally. It will set up a EUR 9 million project on marine litter in South-East Asia, notably China, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Another EUR 7 million will go to protection of marine ecosystems in that region.

The EU’s showpiece Earth observation programme Copernicus, also figures prominently in the new list of commitments.

During the Our Ocean conference, EEAS Deputy Secretary-General, Christian Leffler, participated in “Our Ocean Talks”, by the EU in cooperation with UNODC, and the Republic of the Seychelles. His intervention focused on maritime surveillance and international cooperation as a means to promote safe and secure seas – deterring drug trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea. He also highlighted the success story of the fight against piracy in the Horn of Africa.  "This works not only because we have the capabilities but because we want to develop collaborative efforts, at home, and internationally," Mr. Leffler stated.

Mr. Leffler also took part in the Ocean Youth Leadership Summit during the conference.

“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," said the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, following the conference. "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,” she stated.

In the run up to the Our Ocean Conference 2018, the EU called on Member States and its Delegations all over the world to participate in a global beach clean-up action. Around 60 countries worldwide participated in this initiative together with local authorities, NGOs and other organisations. This collective activity brought together EU staff and their families, locals, young and old alike, who collected thousands of bags of waste from the seaside, river banks and lakes around the world.

The video below which illustrates a round-up of these beach clean actions was also used around Our Ocean conference campaign.




Photo : Shutterstock