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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement1 October 2019Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Marine Regions Forum fills critical gap in ocean governance landscape

On 30 September, the European Commission and Germany have kicked off the first Marine Regions Forum. Gathering experts from different disciplines, the Forum will bring the much-needed regional perspective into international ocean governance and foster cross-border and interdisciplinary cooperation to achieve healthy, safe and productive seas.

In the EU, regional ocean governance has become a central element of ocean policy making, be it for resource management, environmental protection or sustainable economic development. But in global discussions about the health and future of our ocean, the regional level is still underrepresented. Wrongly so, because coordination of national strategies and actions across borders is indispensable as we are implementing global commitments.

That is why, at the Our Ocean Conference in Malta two years ago, the EU and Germany have committed to establish a Marine Regions Forum. Suiting the action to the word, they are now hosting the first edition of this forum from 30 September to 2 October in Berlin.

This forum is filling a critical gap in the ocean governance landscape

(Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries)

The Marine Regions Forum brings ocean actors and stakeholders together outside formal negotiations and the typical silo-based processes. Given the interconnected nature of many natural and societal challenges, such isolated processes are inadequate to deliver the UN’s Agenda 2030, including SDG 14 on Life Below Water.

In Berlin, 200 participants exchange experiences and discuss common challenges as they try to develop new cross-sectoral solutions to deliver Sustainable Development Goal 14 on Life Below Water. Other parts of the UN’s Agenda 2030 are also on their radar, as most of our natural and societal systems are intrinsically interconnected.

The Marine Regional Forum comes very timely, with a full year of “blue” summits ahead of us. The Climate COP25 will take place just a few months after the very critical IPCC report on oceans and the cryosphere in a changing climate. In June 2020, the UN Ocean conference will assess global progress towards SDG14. And after a successful start, the negotiations on a legally binding agreement for biodiversity in the high seas will hopefully come to a close. Adding the regional dimension ensures that these meeting points will become more than the sum of single national efforts.

The first Marine Regions Forum covers all major ocean governance dilemmas, including ecosystem-based management, climate change mitigation and adaption as well as protection of marine biodiversity. Also the blue economy, for example marine tourism, is on the agenda.

The full programme of the meeting is available on the conference website.


Publication date
1 October 2019
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries