Source: European Commission
The European Union and Canada signed an ocean partnership agreement on 18 July. The partnerships confirms the two sides’ belief that ocean governance is a shared challenge and responsibility. Only international cooperation can ensure the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, their resources and ecosystems.
The partnership agreement includes clear commitments to combatting the negative effects of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries, marine pollution and climate change. It will also help to facilitate the sustainable development of marine and maritime sectors and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly the Sustainable Development Goal 14.
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: ’’The vast challenges our oceans face have been one of the priorities of my mandate – from climate change to plastic pollution to illegal fishing. No country, or region, can tackle these problems alone. I am delighted that, together, EU and Canada are leading the way to healthier oceans.’’
Cooperation on global ocean governance
This partnership is a major step forward and sets out general lines for future collaboration in areas such as:
- the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in the high seas;
- the fight against marine pollution, including marine plastic litter and micro-plastics;
- the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change as relevant to the oceans;
- the prevention of unregulated commercial fishing in the central Arctic;
- the strengthening of ocean governance in regional and global forums;
- the promotion of safe and decent living and working conditions at sea;
- the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Ocean partnerships: a new tool
International ocean governance is an important priority issue for the EU, which it aims to realise through international and bilateral cooperation. The EU and Canada have a longstanding cooperation on fisheries and ocean affairs. They also share the goal of ensuring conservation and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources in accordance with a multi-lateral and rules-based approach. The signing of this ocean partnership, one year after the first such agreement was signed with China, confirms the EU’s preference for strong partnerships and international cooperation.