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Towards a new ocean governance

Resolution 1694 (2009)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 2 October 2009 (35th Sitting) (see Doc.12005, report of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs, rapporteur: Mrs de Melo). Text adopted by the Assembly on 2 October 2009 (35th Sitting). See also Recommendation 1888 (2009).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly notes with great concern that, in recent decades, the oceans, which cover two thirds of the earth’s surface, have been particularly affected by environmental problems, in spite of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the many standard-setting legal instruments that have supplemented it.
2. The Assembly underlines that climate change and the greenhouse effect are closely inter-related with ocean processes, leading to harmful consequences such as rising sea levels, alteration of marine currents, imbalances in ecosystems, the decline of biodiversity, the rarefaction of certain fish species and, in particular, the flagrant decrease in the capacity of the oceans to absorb carbon dioxide.
3. The Assembly notes that the trends affecting coastal areas also have major repercussions for the preservation of the oceans. The reduction in sedimentation caused by the building of dams and the extraction of sand has combined with the pressure of urbanisation to speed up coastal erosion. Moreover, the use of coastal areas for activities as varied as tourism, fishing, port services, industry, agriculture and urban activity (waste, wastewater, etc.) has had a strong impact on the pollution of the oceans.
4. Scientific and technological know-how have also led to our extracting ever more value from the oceans and to speedier deterioration of the marine environment. This situation is all the more alarming since it is now recognised that ocean resources are limited.
5. The Assembly therefore calls on scientific experts and institutions to share all the available information and their knowledge in this area and make them accessible to the public and political and economic decision makers.
6. The Assembly therefore supports the establishment of an information network in order to introduce a new type of governance offsetting the irrationality, injustice and unsustainability of exploiting the resources of the oceans.
7. The Assembly therefore calls on member and non-member states to:
7.1 take measures to raise public awareness of the problems and potential of the oceans;
7.2 make sure that resources are distributed fairly and help less-developed countries to manage ocean resources;
7.3 put in place an integrated maritime policy based on the principles in the European Union “Blue Book”;
7.4 encourage scientific research on the oceans and its application to territorial waters and oceanic platforms;
7.5 encourage the establishment of a network of scientific and technological institutions, universities and companies for sharing and monitoring data on the oceans and disseminating it widely;
7.6 adopt ocean-friendly policies for coastline management, supervision of economic activity and water-basin preservation;
7.7 implement or, if they have not already done so, sign and/or ratify existing conventions on the law of the sea and in particular on people who work on, or make use of, the sea.
8. The Assembly wishes to continue its consideration of this area, in particular with regard to the preservation and potential of the oceans and the impact of the exploitation of maritime resources on the various aspects of sustainable development.