The European Union has committed itself to protect the oceans at the 5th round of ‘Our Ocean’ conference that took place in Bali, Indonesia. Brussels is going to allocate 300 million euros on EU-funded initiatives aimed at targeting plastic pollution, making blue economy more sustainable and improving research and marine surveillance. The new contribution comes on top of the over 550 million euros committed by the bloc last year in Malta.
In Bali, the EU specifically made 23 commitments to improve the conditions of the oceans including investments in making the European blue economy – the economic sectors that rely on the ocean and its resources – more sustainable. EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini commented that “the state of our oceans calls for determined global action. With 23 new commitments, the European Union stays engaged to ensure safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans. No country can succeed alone in this endeavor. It requires determination, consistency and partnerships, within and outside our European Union, and it is in this spirit that today we renew the commitment to protect Our Oceans.”
The EU is taking action at home but also internationally. The bloc is also joining forces with the with United Nations Environment Program and other international partners to set up a coalition of aquariums to fight plastic pollution. Marine litter in South East Asia, notably China, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, will also be targeted. ‘Our Ocean’ conference takes place annually and yields major commitments from governments, companies and non-governmental organizations. Previous conferences were hosted by Malta, the United States and Chile.