Marine Environment: International Cooperation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 2 March 2020.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to expand the global membership of the Global Ocean Alliance.

Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to meet the Government's target of protecting 30 per cent of world oceans by 2030.

Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of the world's oceans that are in marine protected areas.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Joining the Global Ocean Alliance indicates that countries will support a new global target of protecting at least 30% of the global ocean within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2030 at the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties (COP15) in Kunming, China in October 2020 (30by30). This target would replace the current 10% target agreed in Aichi in 2010.

The UK-led Global Ocean Alliance is currently made up of Belgium, Belize, Costa Rica, Finland, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Palau, Portugal, Seychelles, Sweden and Vanuatu. Many other countries have also expressed their support for the 30by30 target.

English waters have 177 MPAs covering 40% of English seas. The UK has 357 MPAs protecting 25% of UK waters spanning almost 220,000 km2. Furthermore, the Overseas Territories Blue Belt Programme is on track to deliver 4 million km2 marine protection around the UK Overseas Territories by 2020.

Globally, the World Database on MPAs, a joint project of the UN Environment Programme and the International Union for Nature Conservation, shows the percentage of the ocean covered by protected areas at 7.91%.

To increase the proportion of the global ocean that is in MPAs, the Government is working with supportive countries and NGOs to encourage other countries to join the Global Ocean Alliance and thereby increase the possibility that the 30by30 target will be adopted later this year in Kunming.

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