France calls on world to help protect the oceans

Climate – Opening of the Global Climate Action Agenda’s Oceans Action Day – Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs

Paris, 12 November 2016

At the inaugural session of the Global Climate Action Day devoted to oceans, in the presence of Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco and Prince Albert II of Monaco, Ségolène Royal recalled the progress made by COP21: the ocean was included in the preamble to the Paris Agreement; for the first time in a COP, an Ocean Action Agenda was launched.

The COP21 President welcomed the progress made since, with the launch of a special IPCC report on oceans, and discussions at the IMO (International Maritime Organization) on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of international maritime transport, with the launch of new initiatives promoted by all stakeholders.

Ségolène Royal recalled France’s ambitious targets regarding marine protected areas and the conservation of coral reefs and mangroves. The rate of coverage of [France’s] territorial waters by marine protected areas will exceed 21% in 2017, when the global target is 10% by 2020.

The COP21 President announced:

- the publication of the decree to extend the French Southern Lands national nature reserve, creating the fourth-largest marine reserve in the world;

- the creation of the marine protected area around Clipperton atoll at the National Council for Nature Protection on 4 November;

- the launch of an action plan as part of the International Coral Reef Initiative, which France is co-chairing with Madagascar;

- the preparation of a project backed by the Global Environment Fund to support the project on coastal risk in West Africa [the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme] alongside the World Bank and the countries of the region.

Moreover, Ségolène Royal emphasized the fundamental role each party had to play in protecting the ocean – governments of course, but also those involved in the maritime economy, local authorities, scientists, NGOs and all citizens.

She urges national and local governments also to make active efforts to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean by joining the plastic bag coalition she initiated with Monaco and Morocco’s support./.

Climate – Joint statement by Australia and France – Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs¹

Paris, 15 November 2016

Protecting the World’s Coral Reefs

Australia and France share a strong commitment to preserving the world’s coral reefs.

The world’s coral reefs are under growing pressure from the cumulative impacts of factors such as rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidity caused by climate change, overfishing, pollutants and sediments coming from land, and increased sea traffic.

Coral reef ecosystems are some of the most beautiful and biodiverse on our planet. Healthy reefs provide a source of livelihood for many communities and are of pivotal importance to world food security.

Managing our reefs is a local endeavour, but sharing our expertise and cooperating on best practice globally offers the best prospect of the world’s coral reefs responding and recovering from threats and challenges.

Coral reefs are also vital early warning systems for the changes affecting our oceans caused by climate change. Building upon the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, continued joint action by all to address climate change is crucial.

More than two decades ago Australia and France with six other nations founded the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to improve sustainable management of coral reefs.

The members of ICRI have developed a Plan of Action to strengthen international action and cooperation on best practice in reef management.

Under the plan, ICRI will increase its focus on climate change, including the role coral reefs and related ecosystems can play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. It will help address human threats to ecosystems, such as those from plastic microbeads, and better monitor the state of the world’s coral reefs. ICRI will also promote public awareness of the importance of coral reefs, including making 2018 the third International Year of the Reef.

This is a powerful commitment, backed by the best expertise the world has to offer. Australia and France will continue to work together, and with ministers of other ICRI countries, to advance global coral reef preservation efforts and secure the future of these ecosystems./.

¹ Source of English text: Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs.

Published on 18/11/2016

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