Today, the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy unveiled the renewed EU agenda on International Ocean Governance (IOG), proposing actions for a secure, clean and sustainably managed ocean. With this policy, the EU confirms its active role in international ocean governance and its commitment to strengthen implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda.
Maritime security protects legitimate activities and is a prerequisite for a sustainable blue economy, flow of trade along the sea as well as peace and stability at large.
In line with its Maritime Security Strategy, the EU continues to strengthen its role as a maritime security provider within and beyond its borders. In doing so, it takes a cross-sectoral approach to the evolving character of maritime security challenges and threats, including cyber and hybrid attacks, the growing impacts of climate change, environmental degradation and the risks they pose to stability and security.
The EU will continue to work with its maritime security regional partners to address increased presence of both global and regional actors, some of whom do not hesitate to use irregular forces in zones of instability. The EU will continue monitoring developments closely and respond swiftly to any threats to maritime security, cooperating with its partners such as NATO.
In bilateral dialogues and in regional and international fora, the EU will address forced labour and other forms of work that violate human rights in the area of fisheries, including when detected in the context of the fight against IUU fishing. The EU will continue promoting the ratification and effective implementation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Work in Fishing Convention.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said: “The EU and its Member States combined have the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world. But nearly two-thirds of the world’s ocean are beyond national jurisdiction. This requires a collective global approach to protect and restore them, and to use the ocean´s enormous potential in a sustainable way to the benefit of societies around the globe. The updated International Ocean Governance Agenda further strengthens our role as a driving force and credible partner to bring real and sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our oceans.”
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Ocean and Fisheries, said: “We must take better care of our ocean. With our new proposal for a Nature Restoration Law we want to heal our marine ecosystems in Europe but this will not be enough. We need to mobilise our global partners to achieve sustainable ocean management and heathy marine life all around the world. This is why the Commission commits up to € 1 billion for ocean and coastal biodiversity and climate actions globally. Today, we call on all our international partners to boost the implementation of our joint commitments and focus on ambitious actions for the ocean ahead of the upcoming COP 15 for biodiversity.”