EU, China ink landmark oceans agreement

A new oceans partnership agreement has been signed by the European Union and China that will see the two economies work together on strategies such as combating illegal fishing and promoting responsible practices.

According to the European Commission, the alignment contains clear commitments to protect the marine environment, tackle climate change in accordance with the Paris Agreement, and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 14 regarding oceans.

“Across the world, I see growing awareness of the need for joint solutions to the challenges facing our oceans and seas. From cleaning up plastic pollution to tackling overfishing, no one country or continent can shoulder these colossal tasks on their own. With the partnership signed today, the European Union and China are stepping up their joint efforts, toward a more sustainable future for our oceans and the millions that make their living from them,” said E.U. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs, and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.

Other general lines for future collaboration are set out in areas such as: 

  • The conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in the high seas
  • The fight against marine pollution including marine plastic litter and microplastics
  • The mitigation of and adaption to climate change impacts on oceans, including the Arctic Ocean
  • The conservation of Antarctic marine living resources
  • The fisheries governance in regional and global fora and the prevention of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing

Additionally, the E.U. and China agreed to support the development of a “thriving and sustainable blue economy” by exploring possibilities to foster closer business-to-business interaction and exchanges of information between stakeholders such as enterprises, research institutes, financial institutions and industry associations. 

In particular, they will promote the circular economy within the blue economy based on clean technologies and best available practices. Cooperation will also extend to improving knowledge of the oceans through better ocean literacy, enhanced ocean observation and open science and data.

The E.C. said the signature of the partnership also “opens the door” for further ocean partnerships with other key players.

Photo courtesy of the Delegation of the European Union to China


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