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EU announces €3.5 billion for ocean protection and sustainability promotion

The European Commission announced on Tuesday (16 April) 40 “commitments for action for 2024” in the area of ocean protection and sustainability promotion at the “Our Ocean Conference” in Greece.

These actions are to be funded by 3.5 billion euros from various EU funds, representing the biggest amount ever announced by the EU since the start of Our Ocean Conferences.

The Our Ocean Conference is an international initiative, launched in 2014 and hosted by a different government each year, aiming to foster global ocean governance and action to support marine conservation and sustainable development.

“The European Union continues standing up for the ocean. With 3.5 billion euros worth of pledges, the European Union confirms its strong commitment to protect the ocean. The ocean is part of who we are, and our shared responsibility. One year after the conclusion of the BBNJ Agreement, I am glad to reiterate, here in Greece, the EU’s ambition to continue acting as a driving force towards ocean sustainability,” said Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.

This year’s conference called for joint efforts worldwide in support of a safe, secure, clean, healthy and sustainably managed ocean. The EU’s commitments cover, among other areas, sustainable fisheries, marine protected areas, ocean and climate change, sustainable blue economies, marine pollution and maritime security.

Sustainable fisheries:

  • up to 1.9 billion euros under the Recovery and Resilience Facility to support sustainable fisheries – one of the biggest amounts announced. It will be used in Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Poland, Portugal’s (2020-2026) recovery and resilience plans to support investments and reforms in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
  • 23.5 million euros during the period 2024-2025 to support Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) and relevant International Agreements in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans and the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
  • 1.5 million euros to support the implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Marine protected areas:

  • 1.36 million euros to support the implementation of the Marine Biodiversity of areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement
  • 24 million euros to protect marine biodiversity and preserve marine ecosystems in the Blue Benguela Current (Southern Africa), Maldives, Suriname and the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

Ocean and climate change:

  • 103 million euros for ocean observation programmes (Copernicus, Wekeo, Neccton) and research to advance ocean models for climate predictions.

Sustainable blue economies:

  • up to 130 million euros under the Recovery and Resilience Facility. It will be used in Italy and Portugal’s recovery and resilience plans to support two investments (2020-2026) in a sustainable blue economy.
  • 134 million euros to help African countries develop their blue economy in a sustainable manner. This corresponds to 59 million euros for Western Africa, 10 million euros for Mauritania, 35 million euros for Mozambique and 30 million euros for Angola.

Marine pollution:

  • up to 980 million euros under the Recovery and Resilience Facility. It will be used in Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Finland (2020-2026) recovery and resilience plans to support four investments and two reforms to fight against marine pollution.

Maritime security:

  • 45 million euros to enhance maritime security and safety in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Guinea regions in Africa.

Support to the Mediterranean:

  • The EU and Sweden commit 7.5 million euros for the Blue Mediterranean Partnership to support the sustainable development of a blue economy in the Mediterranean region. This is in line with the European Green Deal, the EU’s Agenda for the Mediterranean and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) ministerial declaration on sustainable blue economy.
  • 2 million euros for the project supporting the Southern Mediterranean Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention in implementing the ecosystem approach to achieve Good Environmental Status (EcAp MED PLUS), from 2024 until 2027.

Research:

  • Through the EU Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters, 92.3 million euros are committed to restoring the ocean and ensuring a sustainable blue economy.

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