On April 13 and 14, the Our Ocean (OOC) conference took place in Palau . On this occasion, the EU renewed its commitments in favor of international ocean governance. By presenting a list of 44 commitments for the period 2020-2022 for an amount of almost 1 billion euros, the EU presented its largest commitments ever presented at an Our Ocean conference, in terms of value.
The Our Ocean conference is a key moment for countries around the world, civil society and industry to commit to concrete and meaningful action to protect the ocean. The theme of the 2022 edition is “Our Ocean, Our People, Our Prosperity”, and it attracts global partners to identify solutions to sustainably manage marine resources, increase the ocean's resilience to climate change and preserve its health. for generations to come.
Virginijus Sinkevičius , Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said: “The amount the EU is committing today is significant, but not as significant as the role the ocean for our very existence. It provides us with clean air, regulates the climate, hosts much of the biodiversity on Earth and is essential for our economy. The ocean brings us all these benefits and we must protect it. Our future depends on it. »
At the Our Ocean conference, the EU made commitments covering all the themes of this international event: marine protected areas; combating marine pollution; dealing with the ocean-climate crisis; creating sustainable blue economies; advancing sustainable artisanal fisheries and aquaculture; and achieving a safe, just and secure ocean. The EU has also developed a Commitment Tracker to allow citizens to track progress in the implementation of commitments.
The EU is aware of the challenges facing the ocean and has focused this year on its protection and restoration, for example by contributing to initiatives such as the One Ocean Summit (in February, Brest) and the next United Nations conference on the oceans (in June-July, Lisbon). The EU is also currently updating its international ocean governance agenda to comprehensively take into account recent ocean challenges and developments, as well as opportunities offered by the Green Deal for Europe .
The EU remains fully engaged in the Our Ocean process and stands ready to shoulder its responsibilities in international ocean governance as a strong supporter of multilateralism.
Examples of Flagship Commitments
Almost 500 million euros in the period 2021-2023 will go to research, development and innovation in seed funding (i.e. funding for the creation of a company) for the Horizon Mission “Restore our oceans and waters by 2030”. The “Ocean Mission” will address the ocean and waters as one and a key role in achieving climate neutrality and the restoration of nature. It will contribute to achieving the EU targets of protecting 30% of Member States' maritime area, restoring marine ecosystems, preventing and eliminating pollution by reducing plastic waste at sea, loss of nutrients and the use of chemical pesticides, and will contribute to the further development of a sustainable and circular blue economy.
The EU also announced a contribution of €55 million over two years to strengthen monitoring of the marine environment and monitoring of climate change, through its satellite monitoring programme, Copernicus , and in particular the WEkEO service , which provides the international research community with one-stop access to all products describing the past, present and future of the Earth system, as well as online tools for environmental science on cloud computing facilities.
Originally launched in 2014, the Our Ocean conference was held in the United States in 2014 and 2016. Chile hosted it in 2015, the EU in 2017 (in Malta), Indonesia in 2018 and Norway in 2019. Over the past six conferences, participants have made more than 1,400 pledges worth approximately $91.4 billion and protected at least five million square miles of ocean. This 7th edition, co-convened by President Surangel Whipps Jr. of Palau and the US President's special envoy for the climate John Kerry, is all the more important as it will help draw attention to one of the regions most dependent on the oceans and most prone to climate change