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Ocean governance and blue growth: Challenges, opportunities and policy responses

04-11-2019

Oceans cover more than two thirds of the earth and are a vital element of life on our planet. Not only are they a primary source of food, they are also central to the carbon cycle; they regulate the climate and produce most of the oxygen in the air we breathe. They also play an important socio-economic role. The 'blue economy', covering traditional sectors such as fisheries, extraction of oil and gas, maritime transport and coastal tourism, as well as new, fast-growing industries such as offshore ...

Oceans cover more than two thirds of the earth and are a vital element of life on our planet. Not only are they a primary source of food, they are also central to the carbon cycle; they regulate the climate and produce most of the oxygen in the air we breathe. They also play an important socio-economic role. The 'blue economy', covering traditional sectors such as fisheries, extraction of oil and gas, maritime transport and coastal tourism, as well as new, fast-growing industries such as offshore wind, ocean energy and blue biotechnology, shows great potential for further economic growth, employment creation and innovation. At the same time, oceans face pressures, mainly associated with the over-exploitation of resources, pollution and the effects of climate change. In recent years, ocean pollution from plastics has received more attention from the public and has been high on policy-makers' agendas. At global level, the European Union is an active player in protecting oceans and shaping ocean governance. It has made progress by taking measures in a series of areas: maritime security, marine pollution, sustainable blue economy, climate change, marine protection, and sustainable fisheries; by working towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda sustainable development goal on oceans; and by taking part in negotiations on a new international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. In encouraging the blue economy, the EU also recognises the environmental responsibilities that go along with it. Healthy, clean oceans guarantee the long-term capacity to sustain such economic activities, while a natural decline threatens the ecosystem of the planet as a whole and ultimately, the well-being of our societies. The conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy, EU action under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the establishment of marine protected areas are key EU policies when it comes to protecting the marine environment. They are complemented by recent environmental legislation such as the Directive on single-use plastics to reduce marine litter. This briefing updates an earlier edition published for the High-level conference on oceans held by the European Parliament on 19 March 2019.

Single-use plastics and fishing gear: Reducing marine litter

17-06-2019

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding ...

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment and ensuring a functional internal market. After completion of the legislative procedure, the final act was signed by the presidents of the co-legislators (European Parliament and Council) on 5 June 2019, and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 12 June 2019. Member States have two years (i.e. until 3 July 2021) to transpose the new directive into national law. Fourth edition of a briefing originally drafted by Didier Bourguignon. document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Port reception facilities for ship waste: Collecting waste from ships in ports

07-06-2019

Marine litter and pollution put the marine environment at risk. While a great proportion of marine litter originates from land-based sources, limiting waste discharges from ships also plays an essential role in efforts to preserve marine and coastal ecosystems. Based on international law, EU legislation requires vessels to bring the waste they generate on voyages to waste-reception facilities in port, and obliges EU ports to provide such facilities to ships using the port. Despite these developments ...

Marine litter and pollution put the marine environment at risk. While a great proportion of marine litter originates from land-based sources, limiting waste discharges from ships also plays an essential role in efforts to preserve marine and coastal ecosystems. Based on international law, EU legislation requires vessels to bring the waste they generate on voyages to waste-reception facilities in port, and obliges EU ports to provide such facilities to ships using the port. Despite these developments, discharges at sea continue. In January 2018, the European Commission put forward a new legislative proposal seeking to improve the collection of ship waste while ensuring efficient maritime transport operations in ports. Interinstitutional negotiations concluded on 13 December 2018. The final text was adopted by the Parliament on 13 March 2019 and then by the Council on 29 March. The Directive was then signed on 17 April by the presidents of the two institutions and will be published in the Official Journal shortly.

Reducción de los desechos marinos de plástico

20-03-2019

En mayo de 2018, la Comisión Europea presentó una propuesta legislativa para combatir la basura marina concentrándose en los diez principales artículos de plástico de un solo uso que se encuentran en las playas europeas y en los artes de pesca, que, en conjunto, equivalen a cerca del 70 % de los residuos marinos de las playas europeas. Las negociaciones interinstitucionales con el Consejo desembocaron en un acuerdo en diciembre de 2018, que el Parlamento deberá votar en su periodo parcial de sesiones ...

En mayo de 2018, la Comisión Europea presentó una propuesta legislativa para combatir la basura marina concentrándose en los diez principales artículos de plástico de un solo uso que se encuentran en las playas europeas y en los artes de pesca, que, en conjunto, equivalen a cerca del 70 % de los residuos marinos de las playas europeas. Las negociaciones interinstitucionales con el Consejo desembocaron en un acuerdo en diciembre de 2018, que el Parlamento deberá votar en su periodo parcial de sesiones de marzo II.

Ten issues to watch in 2019

08-01-2019

This is the third edition of an annual EPRS publication designed to identify and frame some of the key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. The topics analysed are the outlook for a new European Parliament and new European Commission, the way forward for the soon-to-be EU-27, the future financing of the Union, the process of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and collective intelligence, internal ...

This is the third edition of an annual EPRS publication designed to identify and frame some of the key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. The topics analysed are the outlook for a new European Parliament and new European Commission, the way forward for the soon-to-be EU-27, the future financing of the Union, the process of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and collective intelligence, internal security, trade wars, Africa, electric mobility, and the oceans.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, October II 2018

26-10-2018

The highlights of the October II plenary session were the debate on the conclusions of the European Council meeting on 17 and 18 October 2018 and the presentation of the European Commission’s 2019 work programme, the last of the current legislature. Parliament also held debates on the use of Facebook users' data by Cambridge Analytica and its impact on data protection, and the Cum-Ex trading scandal. The series of debates on the Future of Europe continued, this time with Klaus Iohannis, President ...

The highlights of the October II plenary session were the debate on the conclusions of the European Council meeting on 17 and 18 October 2018 and the presentation of the European Commission’s 2019 work programme, the last of the current legislature. Parliament also held debates on the use of Facebook users' data by Cambridge Analytica and its impact on data protection, and the Cum-Ex trading scandal. The series of debates on the Future of Europe continued, this time with Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, urging European unity. Parliament voted on legislative proposals, inter alia, on drinking water; marine litter; the Schengen Information System; import of cultural goods; veterinary medicinal products; charging of heavy goods vehicles; and energy-efficient road transport vehicles. Members also adopted Parliament's position on the EU general budget for 2019 and declined to grant discharge for the 2016 budget to the European Council and Council.

Desechos marinos. Plásticos de un solo uso y artes de pesca

17-10-2018

Los desechos marinos, la mayoría de los cuales son plásticos, representan una grave amenaza para la biodiversidad marina y costera; también tienen importantes repercusiones socioeconómicas. En mayo de 2018, la Comisión Europea presentó una propuesta legislativa en relación con los diez plásticos de un solo uso que se encuentran con más frecuencia en las playas europeas, así como los artes de pesca, con el fin de reducir su impacto en el medio ambiente y garantizar un mercado interior sin fisuras. ...

Los desechos marinos, la mayoría de los cuales son plásticos, representan una grave amenaza para la biodiversidad marina y costera; también tienen importantes repercusiones socioeconómicas. En mayo de 2018, la Comisión Europea presentó una propuesta legislativa en relación con los diez plásticos de un solo uso que se encuentran con más frecuencia en las playas europeas, así como los artes de pesca, con el fin de reducir su impacto en el medio ambiente y garantizar un mercado interior sin fisuras. Se prevé que el Parlamento Europeo adopte su posición sobre la propuesta durante su período parcial de sesiones de octubre II.

Marine litter: single-use plastics and fishing gear

09-07-2018

The Commission proposal aims to reduce the environmental harm from single-use plastics and fishing gear. The supporting impact assessment (IA) does not discuss the impacts on innovation, research and development or the feasibility for businesses to invest into alternative materials. The IA only briefly touches upon the implications for SMEs and does not explain why the open public consultation ran for 8 weeks instead of the 12 weeks. Finally, the proposal misses certain measures foreseen under the ...

The Commission proposal aims to reduce the environmental harm from single-use plastics and fishing gear. The supporting impact assessment (IA) does not discuss the impacts on innovation, research and development or the feasibility for businesses to invest into alternative materials. The IA only briefly touches upon the implications for SMEs and does not explain why the open public consultation ran for 8 weeks instead of the 12 weeks. Finally, the proposal misses certain measures foreseen under the preferred option and contains measures not foreseen in the IA.

Port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships

22-03-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) (consisting of part 1 and part 2), accompanying the above-mentioned proposal, submitted on 16 January 2018 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism. Ship-generated waste, such as oily waste, sewage and garbage, poses a significant threat to the marine environment (IA part 1, p.3). The current legal framework laying down the rules applicable to ship-generated ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) (consisting of part 1 and part 2), accompanying the above-mentioned proposal, submitted on 16 January 2018 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism. Ship-generated waste, such as oily waste, sewage and garbage, poses a significant threat to the marine environment (IA part 1, p.3). The current legal framework laying down the rules applicable to ship-generated waste is Directive 2000/59/EC (hereafter referred to as 'the directive'). The directive is based on the provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (the MARPOL Convention), which was developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)) and regulates discharges at sea. The directive strengthens the regime established under MARPOL through a port-based approach, focusing on operations in ports, including 1) development of waste reception and handling plans in ports; 2) advance notification of waste by ships before entry into port; 3) mandatory delivery of ship-generated waste; 4) payment of fees by ships for the reception of their ship-generated waste; 5) exemptions for ships engaged in scheduled traffic; 6) inspections to verify compliance with the delivery requirements; and 7) development of an information and monitoring system.

IMO’s challenges on the route to decarbonising international shipping Key Issues at Stake at the 72nd Session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72)

15-03-2018

Despite efficiency improvements, CO2 emissions from international shipping are projected to be two to five times higher in 2050 than in 1990. At the Paris climate conference, countries agreed to limit climate change to well below 2°C. Without considerable contributions of the shipping sector to global mitigation efforts this goal will be much harder to achieve. The main issue at stake at MEPC 72 is the comprehensive IMO Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. MEPC 72 will be preceded ...

Despite efficiency improvements, CO2 emissions from international shipping are projected to be two to five times higher in 2050 than in 1990. At the Paris climate conference, countries agreed to limit climate change to well below 2°C. Without considerable contributions of the shipping sector to global mitigation efforts this goal will be much harder to achieve. The main issue at stake at MEPC 72 is the comprehensive IMO Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. MEPC 72 will be preceded by a weeklong meeting of the GHG Working Group that will discuss issues relating to this Strategy with the view to adopt the Initial Strategy at MEPC 72.

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Jakob Graichen, Martin Cames, Vanessa Cook

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