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EU pledges EUR 300m for cleaner, safer oceans

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EU pledges EUR 300m for cleaner, safer oceans

Pacific Ocean - Photo by NASA

(BRUSSELS) -The EU Commission announced EUR 300m of EU-funded initiatives Monday, including projects to tackle plastic pollution, make blue economy more sustainable and improve research and marine surveillance.

Attending the 'Our Ocean' conference in Bali, Indonesia for better governance of the oceans. the European Union made 23 new commitments, adding to over EUR 550 million it committed at the conference in Malta last year.

"We have to urgently reduce marine litter and other sources of pollution, halt illegal fishing and support fragile marine ecosystems," said Maritime Affairs Commissioner Commissioner Karmenu Vella: "We have to develop our blue economy - create sustainable jobs and growth - supported by cutting-edge research and new technologies. It is for this reason that we are making these commitments."

During this year's conference, 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, sea floor 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.

Every year, the Our Ocean conference takes place attracting tangible commitments from governments, companies and non-governmental organisations. Previous conferences, hosted by the governments of Malta (2017), the United States (2014, 2016) and Chile (2015), have seen a wide range of commitments and billions of euros pledged.

Annex: European Union commitments to Our Ocean 2018

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