Setting the course for a sustainable blue planet, an update of the international ocean governance agenda

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Opinia EKES-u: Setting the course for a sustainable blue planet, an update of the international ocean governance agenda

Key points

 

The EESC:

  • Considers that Ocean Governance is a complex and transdisciplinary topic calling for international cooperation. Furthermore, it is not just a marine affair: the impact of humans on the oceans also comes from land-based activities (waste, pesticides, antibiotics, phosphates, plastics, unexploded ordnance). Therefore, Ocean Governance needs to take into account all SDGs, not just objective n. 14.
  • Supports the target of 30% of marine protected areas, and asks to create the necessary implementation and monitoring mechanisms. The Committee supports the suspension of any deep-sea mining authorisation until more scientific evidence is gathered concerning the environmental impact of such activities: investments are needed for conclusive research.
  • Notes that fisheries are currently impacting fish stocks and must be made more sustainable, thanks to a zero-tolerance approach towards illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IIU), more severe norms on bottom trawling, and more compliance with labour rules in this industry: 19 EU Member States, some of which are important coastal countries, have not yet ratified ILO convention n. 188 on Work in Fishing and should proceed to its ratification and transposal into national law.
  • Points out that small-scale fishing is vital for the economy of coastal communities and should be supported. Also, aquaculture and algaculture should be recognised for their ability to provide nutrition to a big part of the world's population.
  • Underlines that maritime transport covers over 90% of goods transported in this planet, and as such it can have a remarkable environmental impact: ship demolition, if not performed according to existing standards, can pollute the ocean and put marine life and workers' health at risk. Therefore, the use of flags of convenience in order to circumvent obligations in the field of ship demolition should be discouraged.
  • Deems it crucial to invest in impact evaluation of marine activities on employment, remunerations and living conditions, technology, and workers' training. A better coordination between public administrations (at international, national and local level) is necessary to achieve an integrated management of the ocean.
  • Stresses that there is a need for more ocean literacy and for a better definition of concepts like safe harbour, since human beings who are in dangerous waters need first of all to be rescued.