Marine Environment: Conservation

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his policy is on global ocean conservation.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

The ocean is vital for life on earth and the prosperity and security of the United Kingdom. The UK and its Overseas Territories are custodians to the fifth-largest marine estate in the world. My department therefore has a very important role in promoting security at sea and improving the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans. We already take a leading role on maritime protection and are on track to deliver marine protected areas across nearly 4 million square kilometres of the planet's ocean and seas through our Blue Belt programme by 2020.

Activities supported by the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme are helping to deliver the UK's global commitments to the Commonwealth marine environment and tackling climate change, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, the Commonwealth Blue Charter and the Paris Climate Change Accord.

However, our ocean is shared, and it is only through international cooperation that global ocean conservation will be delivered. That is why at the United Nations General Assembly this September, the Government called for 30 per cent of the world's oceans to be protected within Marine Protected Areas by 2030 and why we are committed to negotiations for a new Implementing Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

We are also working on an International Ocean Strategy, which will provide the government with a blueprint for international action on all fronts that will support the long term prosperity of the UK and reaffirm our long term commitment to the health of the marine environment.

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