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The European Commission has announced €300 million of EU-funded initiatives, which include projects to tackle plastic pollution, make blue economy more sustainable and improve research and marine surveillance. This important contribution comes on top of the over €550 million committed by the European Union, when it

hosted the Our Ocean conference last year in Malta.

23 new commitments for Our Ocean.  During the Our Ocean conference in Bali this year, the EU has made 23 new commitments for improving the condition of our oceans and tapping their potential. These include €100 million for Research and Development (R&D) projects to tackle plastic pollution and €82 million for marine and maritime research, such as ecosystem assessments, seafloor mapping and innovative aquaculture systems. The new EU action also includes a €18.4 million investment to make the European blue economy – the economic sectors that rely on the ocean and its resources – more sustainable.

The EU's showpiece Earth observation programme Copernicus features prominently in the list of new commitments. The programme's support will be enlarged with another €12.9 million for maritime security and for research dedicated to coastal environmental services, in addition to the €27 million Copernicus funds devoted at Our Ocean 2017 conference. With its Maritime Surveillance System Copernicus has significantly underpinned the EU commitments to reinforce maritime security and law enforcement.

The EU is taking action at home but also internationally. As one of the commitments, the European Commission is joining forces with United Nations Environment Programme and other international partners to launch 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 be fought with a €9 million EU-funded project. Another €7 million will go towards protection of marine ecosystems in the region. 

Delivering on commitments.  Two years ahead of the initial deadline set, 10% of all EU waters have already been designated as Marine Protected Areas. With effective management, adequate funding and robust enforcement Marine Protected Areas can have both conservation and economic benefits.

The 2017 Our Ocean conference in Malta was a game-changer, mobilising funding and ocean action at an unprecedented scale.The European Unionhas already delivered on almost half of EU's 35 commitments made at the last year's conference, equalling €300 million.

The EU is now working with Indonesia and other future hosts to keep the momentum going for cleaner and safer seas.

 

 

 

 

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