International ocean governance: an agenda for the future of our oceans

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On 10 November 2016, the European Commission and the EU’s High Representative set out a joint agenda for the future of our oceans, proposing 50 actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans in Europe and around the world.

A new agenda for the oceans

The Joint Communication on international ocean governance builds on a widely shared understanding that the ocean governance framework needs to be strengthened, that pressures on the oceans need to be reduced and that the world’s oceans must be used sustainably. It also stresses that a better understanding about the oceans is necessary to achieve these objectives.

The Joint Communication proposes ways the EU can step up and play a stronger role at global and regional level in shaping the way oceans are managed and used. It sets out detailed actions to shape international governance in three priority areas:

  1. Improving the international ocean governance framework;
  2. Reducing human pressures on the oceans and creating the conditions for a sustainable blue economy;
  3. Strengthening international ocean research and data.

The Joint Communication is an integral part of the EU’s response to theUnited Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 14 ‘to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources’. It is based on the political mandate given to Commissioner Vella by President Juncker ‘to engage in shaping international ocean governance in the UN, in other multilateral fora and bilaterally with key global partners’.

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