World Oceans Day: Joint Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius

On 8 June, we celebrate the World Oceans Day. Oceans are vital for life on Earth, playing a crucial role in climate regulation, providing more oxygen than all forests combined and being paramount in addressing pressing global challenges, such as food security, energy and fast-tracking green transition.

Ocean temperatures, however, have never been higher and marine life is disappearing at an unprecedented pace, putting the world at risk. Our oceans, functioning as our planet’s greatest carbon sink, cannot wait for the reversal of dramatic developments, and neither can we.

Since last year’s World Oceans Day, we have witnessed promising progress on ocean protection. On 19 June 2023, a historic Agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in the high seas, known as the BBNJ Agreement, was adopted. With the European Parliament’s vote on 24 April, the EU is one step closer to the Agreement’s ratification.

The task ahead is now to reach the number of sixty ratifications of the Agreement for it to enter into force and we can proceed to its effective implementation. Our objective is to make this happen by the June 2025 United Nations Ocean Conference in France.

The EU is taking action. Ocean sustainability is a priority of the EU’s green diplomacy. At the 9th Our Ocean Conference held in Greece, earlier this year, the EU made 40 new commitments for a safe, secure, clean, healthy and sustainably managed ocean adding up to some € 3.5 billion from various EU funds, the highest EU contribution since the start of the Our Ocean Conferences a decade ago. Our engagement remains rooted on the principles of dialogue, partnership and solidarity with our partners around the globe.

Looking ahead, strengthening the nexus between oceans and climate change remains a priority for the EU. The EU also seeks to expand the scope of marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean and advocates for an ambitious outcome of the negotiations on an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

Protecting our oceans is a shared responsibility and only the implementation of global solutions, such as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the BBNJ Agreement, can contribute to this.



Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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Press Officer for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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