The international community wants to do more to protect the oceans. In Brest, France, numerous heads of state and government discussed steps to combat plastic waste in the seas and overfishing.
France then spoke of "important commitments" made as part of the "One Ocean Summit". President Emmanuel Macron invited to the three-day summit, with the support of the United Nations.
Many projects announced
The EU states want to work together with other countries to ensure that an agreement on the sustainable use and protection of biodiversity on the high seas is concluded this year.
14 participating States pledged to step up the fight against illegal fishing, including through better controls in ports and at sea. The Mediterranean countries also want to campaign for the creation of a low sulfur emissions zone.
Federal government wants marine commissioner
The federal government announced yesterday in Brest that it wanted to do more to combat ocean pollution with a "marine strategy". A marine officer should take over the coordination of marine policy, as Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said.
Macron said his country had expanded protected areas in France's Southern and Antarctic Lands. France has committed to this as part of the nature conservation coalition "High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People".
It was founded in 2019 by Costa Rica, France and Great Britain with the aim of protecting at least 30 percent of the country and the world's oceans by 2030. The coalition now includes 84 countries, including Germany.
Environmental activists divided
The environmental organization WWF evaluated the summit in an initial assessment as an important political sign. The importance of the oceans in the climate crisis seems to have arrived. Nevertheless, it is sad that politicians have not made any progress at all in the discussions about a moratorium on deep-sea mining.
Climate protection activists from Greenpeace also called on Macron to support a moratorium during protests in Brest. It is a pity that the result of the summit remained vague – but concrete measures are necessary.
Important role of the seas in climate protection
Seas and oceans cover about 70 percent of the earth's surface and play a crucial role in climate. They absorb harmful carbon emissions and store heat, which is carried around the globe by currents and wind.
At the same time, they are being hit hard by climate change. In recent decades, high CO2 emissions have led to acidification and heating of the world's oceans, which threatens ecosystems and contributes to hurricanes.
Numerous other international gatherings dedicated to marine conservation are planned for the coming months. According to France, the purpose of the Brest summit was to develop a common vision in advance. In addition to representatives from around 100 countries, personalities from business, science and civil society also came together in the French port.
Editor's note: The interview mentions that two truckloads per hour end up in the sea. Correctly converted, it is two truckloads per minute.