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Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans

The European Union (EU) must continue to influence international debate on maritime affairs in order to reap all the benefits of its own integrated policy. In this Communication, the Commisssion presents its strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans. This strategy is the best means to safeguard European economic, ecological and social interests in the maritime domain.

ACT

Communication from the Commission of 15 October 2009 - Developing the international dimension of the Integrated Maritime Policy of the European Union [COM(2009) 536 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

In this Communication, the Commission describes its strategy to strengthen its authority in multilateral and bilateral relations in the domain of maritime affairs. This strategy should allow the European Union (EU) to exercise greater influence over international debate on marine issues in order to safeguard its economic and social interests and increase protection of the environment. It should also contribute to sustainable maritime governance at global level.

This strategy covers a number of domains (for example the protection of marine biodiversity, climate change, maritime safety and security, working conditions on board ships and research into the marine environment) which necessitate international and integrated solutions.

European Union strategy

In order to improve global governance of seas and oceans, the EU must in particular:

  • strengthen its role as a global player through greater and more unified participation in multilateral fora;
  • promote membership of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at global level;
  • establish high-level dialogues on maritime affairs with key partners, ensuring synergies with existing sectoral dialogues in other policy areas;
  • pursue dialogue on Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) bilaterally through both European Neighbourhood Policy instruments and multilateral dialogue. Dialogue on IMP may be based on the frameworks put in place at sea-basin-level (e.g. Union for the Mediterranean, Northern Dimension, Black Sea Synergy). It can be supplemented by sharing best practices concerning the implementation of IMP instruments with countries neighbouring the EU and by encouraging these countries to use the instruments;
  • continue to work on moving oceans and coasts higher up the climate change agenda and provide assistance to developing coastal and island states in this field, in line with the EU development cooperation strategies and initiatives;
  • continue to support an integrated approach to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, particularly in areas beyond national jurisdiction, including for the establishment of marine protected areas;
  • pursue its cooperation with the ILO to encourage decent working conditions in the maritime sector;
  • pursue its actions to ensure freedom, safety and security of navigation, including actions against piracy;
  • continue and strengthen cooperation in research activities with third countries in order to enhance participation in large-scale international research programmes and with countries neighbouring the EU in order to define common regional marine research strategies;
  • ensure coherence between the activities of various organisations, notably in the fisheries, environment and transport fields;
  • encourage the OECD to develop a structure for exchange of best practices on integrated approaches to maritime affairs;
  • develop strategies for all relevant shared sea basins.

Context

The EU must pursue its efforts to improve dialogue with its neighbours, at both bilateral and regional level, including by concluding Regional Seas Conventions.

Regional approaches have already been launched for the Arctic, the Baltic, and the Mediterranean. The preparation of similar approaches for other sea basins is now of paramount importance. The EU can thus contribute to extending Integrated Maritime Policy at global level.

Last updated: 31.03.2010
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