On the occasion of the World Oceans Day (8 June), Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Karmenu Vella; Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, made the following statement:
Today we celebrate World Oceans Day. This year’s theme, “Our oceans, our future” underscores the importance of oceans for ours and the generations to come. Oceans cover two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the foundations of life. Oceans store more than nine-tenths of the heat trapped on Earth by greenhouse-gas emissions and provide 3 billion people with almost a fifth of their protein. The global ocean economy is estimated at €1.3 trillion and offers great potential for boosting growth, jobs and innovation. At the same time, oceans are at the center of pressing global challenges such as climate change, marine litter, poverty, food security. The sustainable use of the oceans is threatened by illegal fishing, armed robbery and piracy against ships, while cooperation on maritime security is essential to guarantee safe and free navigation for international trade.
The world is coming to realize that our oceans need better care. Only strong international cooperation can deliver this. The EU has taken a lead in creating a stronger system of ocean governance including better managing the oceans, reducing human pressure and investing in science. In this way, it can be ensured that marine resources are conserved and used sustainably, based on healthy eco-systems and providing for a thriving ocean economy. The EU and its Member States also act jointly to preserve peace and security at sea.
The EU reiterates its commitment to implementing the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for the benefit of EU citizens and the whole world. “Leaving no-one behind” also means that oceans, seas and marine resources are conserved and sustainably used as enshrined in Sustainable Development Goal 14. The EU therefore welcomes the UN Ocean Conference this week, where together with its Member States, the EU submitted significant commitments. The outcomes of the Conference, where the Commission will be represented by Commissioner Vella, will provide an important contribution to the High Level Political Forum in July this year.
Given the significance of oceans for our future, the EU will host the fourth “Our Ocean” Conference in Malta on 5-6 October this year. It will engage with the international community, including the private sector, to take further commitments for our oceans, in areas such as marine pollution, marine protected areas, climate change and sustainable fisheries, maritime security and the blue economy and blue growth. For taking care of our future, we need to take care of our oceans: it’s a global challenge that has to be addressed globally. The European Union is doing and will keep doing its part.
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