In 1992, the Habitats Directive was adopted in order to protect remarkable or vulnerable natural habitats in Europe. Twenty-five years later, the European Commission is stepping up its support to the Directive’s implementation and putting resources on the table to make sure that it effectively delivers on its goals and establishes a coherent network of Natura 2000 protected areas on land and at sea. The EU Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy, adopted in April 2017, aims to boost the contribution of EU’s nature laws towards reaching the EU's biodiversity targets for 2020.

9 June 2017, New York, US – Today, at the Ocean Conference of the United Nations, Seas At Risk, supported by its 34 members and Mission Blue, BLOOM, the Deep Sea Mining Campaign and Earthworks, called on the international community to stop deep sea mining in its tracks.

Governments must implement tighter marine pollution controls or risk further degradation of the oceans, fish stocks and precious ecosystems, the UN is warning this week. Countries are being asked to support a ‘zero draft’ Call To Action at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference in New York that calls for an acceleration of “actions to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds”. 

Thousands of blue minded people are heading to the United Nations’ The Ocean Conference, which will take place in New York from 5th to 9th June. It will be a prime opportunity for governments, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, businesses, philanthropies, civil society organisations, and the scientific community to assess the challenges the ocean is facing, and respond to a global call for action. Seas At Risk is joining this international effort, and will among others issue a strong statement about sustainable alternatives to deep sea mining.

At the upcoming United Nations’ The Ocean Conference, which will take place in New York from 5 to 9 June, Seas At Risk will make a strong statement to the plenary about halting deep sea mining. This statement is supported by all 34 Seas At Risk members, as well as Mission Blue, BLOOM, the Deep Sea Mining Campaign and Earthworks.

The deal - signed off in December 2015 by 195 countries - aims to limit global warming to well below 2C above pre industrial levels, a ceiling deemed dangerous by scientists. It’s important to note the White House decision does not directly impact climate talks at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Shipping was not included in the Paris Agreement and negotiations on maritime pollution control, the use of HFO in polar waters and CO2 cuts are the focus of IMO. On Friday the EU and China will announce a new range of collaborative measures on climate, including a pledge to “reinforce cooperation” at the IMO. But with the US accounting for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Trump’s decision raises the pressure on all major industrial sectors to deliver their fair share of carbon cuts.

After almost two years of consultations and negotiations, the European Union has finally adopted new criteria defining what it means for our seas and ocean to be in Good Environmental Status. Seas At Risk and its members have been actively involved in this process and, with other European NGOs, have contributed to a more coherent set of criteria, increasing the chances of having a similar level of protection across European seas.

A major new study by the International Coalition for Clean Transportation has concluded that the environmental and economic risks of an oil spill of heavy fuel oil (HFO), are much higher than the savings associated with keeping using this fuel.to power ships in the Arctic

2017 is certainly putting oceans in the policy spotlight. In the build up to the UN Ocean conference and the Our Ocean conference, declarations by the Commission and statements by the Environmental Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee call for sustainable use of the oceans, highlight the importance of oceans for climate change, and re-affirm the EU’s commitment to enhancing ‘blue’ socioeconomic growth. The challenge will be to reconcile these often opposing ambitions.

A new investigation by Corporate Europe Observatory and Seas at Risk reveals how Dutch and Spanish fishing lobbies have used press passes to access the EU Council building during crucial ministerial negotiations on fishing quotas.