Sunday, September 23, 2018

EU-hosted ‘Our Oceans’ meet draws over €6 billion funds commitment

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-10-09 03:20:05 BdST


More than 6 billion euros have been committed by public and private actors to better manage the oceans at a European Union-hosted conference in Malta.

Md Khurshed Alam, Secretary to the Maritime Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented Bangladesh in the two-day conference, the foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The EU office in Dhaka said the European Commission itself announced over €550 million of tyhe EU-funded initiatives to tackle global oceans challenges at the ‘Our Ocean Conference 2017 in Malta.

With other public and private actors from 112 countries around the world, the commitment reached over €6 billion, it said.

The Malta meeting was was co-hosted by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Karmenu Vella,Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The resources will be invested to strengthen the fight against marine pollution and enlarge protected areas, reinforce security of the oceans, foster blue economy initiatives and sustainable fisheries and intensify the EU efforts against climate change, in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals under Agenda 2030.

Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the planet and produce most of the oxygen and absorb 30 percent of the carbon the world emits.

Three billion people worldwide depend on the ocean for their livelihoods.

One billion people rely on seafood as their main source of animal protein.

But the oceans face a multitude of threats, such as pollution, climate change, overfishing and criminal activities at sea.

The Our Ocean 2017 Conference addressed the challenges of marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate change.

This year, the European Commission introduced the themes of blue economy and maritime security which is one of the foreign policy priorities of Bangladesh.

‘Our Ocean’ engaged participants from around the globe to make significant commitments.

With a focus on high-level engagement, partnership and action, the EU continues to drive other international efforts, such as delivery on the Sustainable Development Goals under Agenda 2030.

The conference also complements the EU's international ocean governance initiative, which set out an agenda for the future of the oceans around the world.

Participants announced the creation of new Marine Protected Areas spanning more than 2.5 million km², or more than half the size of the entire European Union.

Over 400 commitments - 36 from the EU, over 200 from third country governments, more than 100 from business and several others from NGOs, foundations, research institutes and international organizations – have been made in the conference.

For the first time, the Conference gathered significant commitments from the private sector, including Airbus, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour, Royal Caribbean Cruises, AXA, Sky and others.

Commitments will be tracked and reported at the next Our Ocean Conference in Indonesia in 2018.

The Our Ocean Conference has brought together public and private actors from six continents, who are collectively committed to the cause of better ocean governance and the sustainable use of the oceans.

“EU commitments reach far beyond its geographical region, to support sustainable international ocean use worldwide, focusing in particular on developing countries,” the EU office in Dhaka said.