EU to Take Bigger Role in Global Effort to Save Oceans

11 November 2016, at 12:00am

EU - The European Commission has announced its renewed commitment to strengthen international ocean governance and to set out a joint agenda of 50 actions to secure the effective conservation and sustainable use of the global seas and oceans.

This EU effort reinforces the global commitment taken in 2015 when 193 countries around the world signed up to Sustainable Development Goal on the conservation and sustainable use of Oceans (SDG 14).

The WWF welcomed the EU’s vision but has called for more concrete actions to face the crisis of the oceans affected by climate change and increasing industrial exploitation.

“Today’s Communication is an extensive list of intentions, but it still lacks a comprehensive action plan to deliver the changes in global ocean governance that are so desperately required. The EU must ‘lead by example’ and develop new, robust and transparent legislation in addition to international partnerships with other governments and the private sector to secure rapid recovery of both European and global oceans,” said Samantha Burgess, Head of European Marine Policy at WWF.

Despite significant progress in the governance of Europe’s seas, our global oceans remain in crisis.

Competing and escalating demands for marine resources are compounded by data deficiency, and a single sector approach to ocean management. Tackling over-exploitation of ecosystem goods and services, unintended impacts of human activities, ocean acidification and weak legislative structures are essential to support long-term, responsible economic, social and environmental use of marine resources.

The 2015 ‘State of European Seas’ report by the European Environment Agency concludes that the EU is not achieving sustainable use of its seas but has the policy framework, knowledge and expertise to do so.

In addition to the critical environmental status assessment, the WWF ‘Reviving the Ocean Economy Report’ illustrates the economic case for ocean conservation with compelling evidence. The value of coastal, marine and oceanic ecosystems and environments is valued at US$2.5 trillion annually with the global ocean asset valued at 10 times more.