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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement1 March 2024Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries2 min read

UN Environmental Assembly adopts a resolution to strengthen action for the ocean

Today, 1 March 2024, the United Nations Environmental Assembly adopted a resolution on “Strengthening Ocean efforts to tackle climate change, marine biodiversity loss and pollution” which was proposed by the European Union, its Member States and Costa Rica. 

This resolution underscores the need for concerted action to address the interconnected challenges of climate change, marine biodiversity loss, and pollution affecting our oceans. The resolution has been co-sponsored by Chile, Barbados, Ghana, and Ukraine. 

The ocean plays a critical role in sustaining life on our planet and the resolution calls for decisive measures to ensure its health and resilience.  

  • Recognising the inadequacy of progress made in recent years, it encourages UNEA parties to adopt and implement crucial multilateral instruments for the protection and conservation of the marine and coastal environments such as the BBNJ (Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction), GBF (Global Biodiversity Framework), and the IMO (International Maritime Organization) strategy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.  

  • Additionally, it advocates for active participation in developing a legally binding instrument to combat plastic pollution. The Resolution also supports a closer involvement of Regional Seas Conventions and highlights the role of the UNEP on environmental marine issues. Its adoption is of utmost importance for the delivery of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda. 

By submitting and negotiating the resolution, the European Union and its Member States reiterated their determination to play a leading role in protecting, conserving, restoring, and sustainably utilising the world's oceans. 

The sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) also saw a Ministerial Declaration welcoming the BBNJ agreement. The Ministers restated their commitment to accelerating the implementation of the ocean-related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and acknowledge the critical role played by the regional seas in ocean governance.

Next steps

Looking ahead, the focus shifts towards advancing the global ocean agenda and achieving key milestones in 2025. These include the 3rd UN Ocean Conference (UNOC), UNFCCC COP30 where countries will set new National Determined Contributions to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and the 30th session of the International Seabed Authority aimed at concluding a deep-sea mining code. Also, the European Commission has proposed to the Council of the European Union to approve the conclusion of the BBNJ agreement on behalf of the EU, which will then be also requested to the European Parliament, in order to ratify it. 


The sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) took place from 26 February to 1 March 2024 at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.  

As the world’s top decision-making body on the environment, UNEA aims to help restore harmony between humanity and nature, improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.  

UNEA-6 focused on how multilateralism can help tackle the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. . 

More information 

Outcomes of UNEA-6

OpEd by Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius : UNEA 6: United action needed to tackle triple planetary crisis - European Commission (  

International ocean governance 






Publication date
1 March 2024
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries