Brussels, 3-4 March 2014 -- Seas At Risk attended the Healthy Oceans - Productive Ecosystems (HOPE) conference in Brussels at the start of March. 



The conference, organised by the European Commission’s directorate for Environment, focused on the progress on the implementation of the 2008 Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), and brought together numerous NGOs and other stakeholders from all the EU member states. 



Brussels, 3-4 March 2014 -- Seas At Risk attended the Healthy Oceans - Productive Ecosystems (HOPE) conference in Brussels at the start of March. 



The conference, organised by the European Commission’s directorate for Environment, focused on the progress on the implementation of the 2008 Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), and brought together numerous NGOs and other stakeholders from all the EU member states. 



Seas at Risk deputy director Ann Dom gave a speech in the opening session that focused on the shortcomings of the current approach to marine development in the EU. Her speech followed the opening statements from Commission president Barroso and those of the members states’ environment ministers, and focused on the pitfalls that the EU’s current ‘blue growth’ drive for economic development can pose to Europe’s coastal and marine environments. It was up to Seas At Risk to sound a strong note of caution – the recently completed article 12 review of the implementation of the MSFD demonstrated a dangerous lack of ambition and severe shortcomings. Ms. Dom pointed out that Member States need to shape a much better vision of what Good Environmental Status actually means, and what a sustainable future for the seas and oceans could look like. 



Seas At Risk also presented a ‘speed pitch’ on the challenges of tackling marine litter, which focused on improving EU waste and other related legislation and hosted a stand with materials to inform participants about its work and the work of its member organisations on fisheries, shipping, blue growth, marine litter and other topics. 



Many Seas At Risk member organisations were also in attendance, and the conference was a good opportunity to discuss their national situations in the European context. 



Following the conference, Seas At Risk hosted a one day workshop on 5 March about the implementation of the MSFD, which was attended by member NGOs from across the EU, and had guest speakers from DG Environment and the European Environment Agency. The discussions focused on how NGOs can work together to help improving the implementation of the MSFD. As a result, NGOs agreed on a list of actions to follow up the Article 12 review and to engage at the national level in the development of programmes of measures, which is a next step in the implementation of the MSFD.

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