Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The EU has pledged one billion euro for ocean protection at the Our Ocean Conference in Palau, presenting 44 commitments for the 2020-2022 period.
“The EU has brought forward its most important commitments ever offered during an Our Ocean Conference, in terms of value,” the European Commission pointed out in a statement on Thursday.
The body stressed that the Our Ocean Conference presents an opportunity to countries, companies and the civil society to come forward with commitments to protect the ocean.
It added that the 2022 conference focused on identification of sustainable solutions for management of marine resources, protection of oceans and strengthening their resilience to climate change.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, pointed out that “the sum the EU is committing today is significant, but not as significant as the role that the ocean plays for our very existence.”
He noted that the ocean regulates the climate, filters air and is important for the economy, concluding that “the ocean is bringing all these benefits to us and we need to protect it… our future depends on it.”
The EC stressed that the EU’s commitments cover all important areas, including marine pollution, climate change, marine protected areas, promotion of sustainable aquaculture and more.
The Commission added that the bloc has developed a tracking tool to help citizens follow the implementation of the EU’s commitments.
The body pointed out that it is in the process of updating its International Ocean Governance Agenda to take into account the opportunities that the European Green Deal offers.
“The EU remains fully engaged in the Our Ocean process, and stands ready to assume its responsibility in relation to international ocean governance as a firm supporter of multilateralism,” the statement notes.
The Commission stressed that close to 500 million euro will go towards innovation, research and development in the period between 2021 and 2023, while roughly 55 million will go towards marine environment and climate change monitoring.
It concluded that the Mission Ocean will help the EU to achieve its environmental goals of protecting and restoring marine ecosystems, reducing pollution and use of chemical pesticides, and develop sustainable economic models.