Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries was in Washington DC at the 2016 Our Ocean Conference. The conference, hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry, was addressed by US President Barack Obama. During the meeting Commissioner Vella announced that the next ‘Our Ocean’ Conference will be hosted by the EU and take place in Malta. This choice is a significant recognition of the efforts of Commissioner Vella, and the EU as a whole, to help deliver international cooperation on ocean issues.
It builds on Vella’s pledge that the EU plays a key role in improving Ocean Governance. President Obama praised the EU during his address, saying that the urgency of the issue and the need to act “was why the EU was so quick to raise its hand and offer to host the Our Ocean Conference in 2017”. Commissioner Vella, in his speech, noted: “If we want to ensure a more sustainable use of the oceans and their resources, we need to close legal gaps, cooperate more effectively and strengthen enforcement – in short, we need better ocean governance. I therefore intend to launch a major initiative on international ocean governance before the end of the year. We need to keep the momentum for change. In this spirit, I am proud that the European Union will be hosting the fourth edition of the Our Ocean Conference in Malta on 5-6 October 2017. In the spirit of Washington and Chile, it will follow up on previous commitments and seek new ones”. The 2017 conference will build on the issues of the ocean and climate change, marine pollution and sustainable fishing. It will further develop how the Ocean can contribute to sustainable blue growth, including through new energy sources such as tidal and wave technology.