Healthy oceans are a priority in the fight against climate change. They are the first victim of global warming, but they also offer some of the most effective solutions.
To reinforce that point, the European Commission has organised an ‘EU Ocean Day’ on 7 December during the COP25, the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid.
On his first international assignment as European Commissioner for environment, oceans and fisheries, Virginijus SINKEVIČIUS did not leave any room for doubt about is mission:
‘I am the first European Commissioner ever with “oceans” in his job title. I will work day and night to live up to that honour.’
Commissioner SINKEVIČIUS pleaded that when it comes to climate change, everyone should take their responsibility:
“Opportunities to increase ocean action in climate strategies exist and there is collective momentum. We have to act now instead of looking for new ways to protect the status quo. There is no status quo in climate change.”
This message underscores the assertive position of the European Commission, who with the European Green Deal have pledged to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.
Also the EU countries are on board. In November, they adopted conclusions on oceans and seas, stressing that climate change is a direct and existential threat to life in the oceans and seas globally. They called for increased action at all levels of government to protect marine and coastal ecosystems. Climate change is having far-reaching impact, not least on fisheries. Shifts in species distribution, in migration patterns and in abundance, creates important challenges for sustainable fisheries management at both national and international level.
In its proposal for a future multiannual budget of the EU (2021-2027), and in line with the Paris Agreement and the commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Commission sets an ambitious goal for climate mainstreaming across all EU programmes, with a target of 25% of all EU expenditure contributing towards climate objectives.
At “Our Ocean Conference” in Oslo in October, the EU announced 22 new ocean commitments, worth € 540 million. This includes targeted action to support climate change adaptation in highly sensitive marine regions, like the Pacific Islands and the Coral Triangle, advance climate monitoring and research for example in Arctic and Antarctic, and promote the transition to a low carbon emission economy.
- Publication date
- 18 December 2019
- Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries