For better governance of the Ocean at European level
This week, on 8 June, we celebrated World Ocean Day. Our French MEP Catherine Chabaud promotes better ocean governance at European level
The European Union is the world's largest maritime area. It is the most relevant level for advancing knowledge, developing renewable and clean marine energies, restoring our marine and coastal ecosystems, and preserving the wealth that makes the ocean our common property. "All Europeans benefit from the services that the ocean provides to humanity, whether or not their country has a direct link with the sea. However, each of us also contributes to the pressures it faces, which have negative consequences for the health and safety of people around the world."
The growing economic, diplomatic and ecological importance of maritime areas in the globalisation process makes the sea more than ever a political issue thanks to which a State can shine and assert its power on the international scene: "This awareness must lead to a truly integrated maritime policy. The cross-cutting nature of maritime issues means that our public policies must no longer be approached in a fragmented manner. For example, the fight against marine waste does not begin at sea: 80% of marine pollution comes from human activities on land. This perfectly illustrates the challenge of the land-sea link, the importance of the circular economy and the need to better include the ocean in our European policies."
The ocean is not only an issue in terms of internal policy, but also in terms of the EU's external policy. At the UN, negotiations are expected to conclude this summer on a treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Treaty). Similarly, in March this year, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) approved the start of negotiations for a global, legally binding treaty against plastic pollution. The year 2022 therefore promises to be crucial for the future of the ocean, and represents a unique opportunity for the EU to take a leadership role.
"A strategic vision of maritime issues requires first and foremost a strengthening, if not a revision, of European governance of the sea. On ocean issues, the European institutions still work too much in silos". The adoption of a strategic vision implies enhanced cooperation between the institutions to ensure a coherent EU position. The ocean must become a priority in the Commission, in the European Parliament, but also a priority for the different EU Council Presidencies. "I am convinced that Europe will also be reborn from the sea!"