The European Union (EU) announced this Thursday that it will dedicate more than 800 million euros this year to programs to protect the oceans, on the occasion of the opening of the world conference “Our Ocean”, in Panama.
“The EU confirms its strong commitment to the international governance of the oceans, announcing 39 concrete commitments for the year 2023. These actions will be financed in the amount of 816.5 million euros”, announced the EU in a statement.
The 8th world conference “Our Ocean” began this Thursday in Panama with appeals to arrive as soon as possible at an international treaty, which is being discussed at the UN, to protect international waters and to monitor by satellite illegal fishing.
The conference “is extraordinarily important because it’s a conference about action, not words. It’s about real commitments and real solutions,” said John Kerry, the US special envoy for the climateat the opening of the meeting.
Around 600 delegates from governments, companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will debate for two days the framework of the “blue economy” (the oceanic equivalent of the green economy) for the sustainable use and protection of the seas and oceans.
More protection, less pollution
Discuss ways to expand the marine protected areasreduce pollution by plastics and other waste, fight illegal fishing and curb underwater mining.
The President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, opened the conference by signing a decree to expand the marine protected area of Banco Volcan (Caribbean Sea) from 14,000 to 93,000 square kilometers.
Thus, Panama will “protect 54.33% of its exclusive maritime zone”, said the Panamanian Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepción.
“We hope that more than 300 new commitments will be made” for the protection of marine resources “in the short, medium and long term”, with the mobilization of public and private financial resources, said the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, Yill Otero .
… international waters represent almost two thirds of the oceans, but only about 1% of this area is under some kind of protection?
In a preparatory meeting for the conference, representatives of the European Union, the United States, Latin America and the Pacific Islands appealed to the negotiators in New York for the High Seas Treaty, which has been under discussion for over 15 years at the UN , come to a conclusion as quickly as possible.
“We hope that all countries reach an ambitious agreement”, said the moderator of the meeting, Maximiliano Bello, from the NGO Mission Blue.
“The high seas constitute half of the surface of the planet, far from national jurisdictions, and only a dozen countries use (explore) it, in a very disruptive way”, he said.
The high seas begin where the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the States end, within a maximum of 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from the coast, and is therefore not under the jurisdiction of any country.
The “Our Ocean” conferences were launched in 2014 on the initiative of John Kerry, then head of US diplomacy.
The conference brings together more than 200 NGOs, 60 research centers, 14 philanthropic structures and around 100 companies and international organizations.
Participants will not vote or adopt an agreement, but will announce voluntary “commitments”.