Monday, July 2, 2018

UK Foreign Secretary Unveils All Inclusive Strategy for the Oceans

Plan Looks to Environmental and Maritime Trade Future
Shipping News Feature
UK – Before disappearing ahead of Parliamentary vote on the Heathrow Expansion in the House of Commons recently, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson unveiled an ambitious plan to bring together all of the Government's international oceans work under a single strategy for the first time. The central pillars of this will feature energy, environmental and shipping interests.

The Government will agree and implement a new oceans strategy, under the aegis of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which will cover work from departments including Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Department for Transport (DfT), Department for International Trade (DIT), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The strategy will be developed over the coming months.

Responding to the recommendation from the Government Chief Scientific Adviser to develop a more strategic approach to marine and maritime policy, the intention is to provide a blueprint for international action by the government towards the oceans that supports the long-term prosperity of the UK and the long-term health of the marine environment. Speaking on a visit to the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) last week, the Foreign Secretary said:

“Britain has a proud and ancient maritime history, but our commitment to the oceans must be enshrined in our future. Today in Southampton I’ve heard from world-leading UK experts on marine protection, and what more the UK can do to help.

“We need to improve and energise international ocean governance to protect the world’s seas and their ecosystems, to keep our people and goods safe, and to support sustainable economic growth, as well as to deliver our ambitious environmental commitments. Utilising expertise across government, Britain will stay at the leading edge of international marine excellence.”

At the NOC, the Foreign Secretary met scientists working on Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded marine protection programmes, including the flagship Blue Belt programme, which will protect over four million square kilometres of British waters by 2020.

The Foreign Secretary’s visit builds on commitments made during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in April, where the FCO announced additional funding for the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme (CMEP) and a number of Government commitments to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the oceans.

The CMEP is a £23 million programme over 4 years (from 2016) to assist Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean to develop maritime economy plans for sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

Photo: The Foreign Secretary feeding water lettuce to a manatee during a visit to the Amazon Rescue Centre near Iquitos, Peru in May.