A sustainable blue planet – The international ocean governance agenda: Pre-legislative synthesis of national, regional and local positions on the European Commission's initiative

Briefing 16-06-2022

This Briefing provides a pre-legislative synthesis of the positions of national, regional and local governmental organisations on the European Commission's recent initiative, 'Setting the course for a sustainable blue planet – Update on the international ocean governance agenda'. It forms part of an EPRS series offering a summary of the pre-legislative state-of-play and advance consultation on a range of key European Commission priorities during its five-year term in office. It seeks to present the current state of affairs, to examine how existing policy is working on the ground, and to identify best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of the European system of multilevel governance. This analysis of the positions of partner organisations at European Union (EU), national, regional and local levels suggests that they would like the following considerations to be reflected in the discussion on the forthcoming initiative on 'Setting the course for a sustainable blue planet – Update on the international ocean governance agenda'. There is an overall consensus that many environmental challenges pose a threat to the marine environment and require further action. The EU has had a profound impact on European oceans and coastal areas by adopting relevant legislation and providing funding for a number of projects contributing to their sustainability. EU support in addressing environmental challenges should be further enhanced. In addition, seas and oceans are seen as an important element of economic growth. A number of 'blue growth' measures are being developed by national, regional and local entities in order to explore this sometimes untapped potential in a way that can further contribute to their economic sustainability. Knowledge and innovation are prerequisites for ocean management and ensuring the long-term, sustainable development of maritime industries. Cross-border and global cooperation on ocean governance issues is taking place in various European and international fora and should be further reinforced. There is also broad consensus on the need to improve multi-level governance within EU Member States through the establishment of participatory bodies where institutions, research centres, NGOs and citizens can interact with each other.