ROME, JANUARY 4 – In line with the European Union’s goal of protecting the world’s oceans from the rising threats of pollution, marine litter and overfishing, Italy recently approved a contribution of 1.3 million Euros to be used by UNEP in projects benefiting Small Island Developing States.
UNEP requested the funding to be used in the framework of the initiative “Development and Establishment of Marine Protected Areas”, in accordance of UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14, Target 5: that is, to conserve at least 10 percent of coastal and marine seas by 2020, consistent with national and international law and based on best available scientific information.
Target 5 has long been on the Italian agenda: Italy has stepped forward to take a leadership role in the effort to regenerate the fish stocks for all of humanity creating a Steering Committee which includes representatives of UN Member States, international organizations, associations and companies with a special interest and commitment in this sector.
Furthermore Italy sponsored a conclave of prominent marine scientists and diplomats from around the world in Rome March 7-9 2016 to take the first steps in making a science-based marine sanctuary network a global reality.
The Italian position is in line with the EU: in December European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella and UN Environment head Erik Solheim agreed that safeguarding the world’s oceans, on which more than three billion people depend for livelihoods, is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – the world’s master plan to end poverty, increase prosperity and protect the environment.
Following the recent European Commission Communication on Ocean Governance, a joint roadmap spelled out priorities for future cooperation. “Few ecosystems stand to benefit more from international cooperation than oceans. We must work together to clean and protect these great expanses and vital sources of biodiversity and human livelihoods. UN Environment is pleased to partner with the Commission to advance ocean protection, along with many other global environmental priorities,” said Solheim.
The roadmap agreed today includes joint activities for supporting the implementation of marine policies addressing major pressures, such as pollution and marine litter. The two organizations will closely collaborate at the upcoming UN Ocean Conference in June and the “Our Oceans” conference hosted by the European Union in Malta in October 2017.(@OnuItalia)