Global Ocean Conservation

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th February 2018.

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Photo of Mary Robinson Mary Robinson Conservative, Cheadle 12:00 am, 20th February 2018

What steps his Department is taking to support global ocean conservation.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

At the previous Foreign Office questions in January, I explained that the UK is leading by example on ocean conservation. The Government are on track to meet their manifesto blue belt pledge, which will deliver marine protection across nearly 4 million sq km of the waters around our overseas territories by 2020. Through the Commonwealth marine economies programme, we are working to enable small island Commonwealth states to conserve and use their maritime space sustainably.

Photo of Mary Robinson Mary Robinson Conservative, Cheadle

In common with my constituents, I welcome the microbeads ban and other measures taken by the Government to protect the marine environment, but we need a global approach. What diplomatic steps is my right hon. Friend taking to engage with the United Nations and other countries to push the blue belt charter up the global agenda?

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for recognising the steps that we have taken, such as on microbeads. As for her main point, we are closely involved in negotiations to develop a UN treaty on marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdictions. As chair of the Commonwealth for the next two years, we will work with member states to create a Commonwealth blue charter. In the G7, we are working closely with Canada during its presidency to deliver our shared ambition to tackle the threats facing our oceans.