Marine Regions Forum provides multi-stakeholder platform for regional ocean governance

By Stop Illegal Fishing:22nd Oct, 2019: Event Coverage · FISH-i Africa · West Africa Task Force

The Marine Regions Forum 2019 took place for the first time from 30 September – 02 October 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The overarching theme of the conference was ‘Achieving a healthy ocean – Regional ocean governance beyond 2020’. Attended by 200 people from over 40 countries, the Forum provided an opportunity to explore ways to strengthen regional ocean governance to achieve a healthy ocean.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, in the opening address stated, “There are four critical issues are required for implementing SDG target for oceans: climate change, sustainable fisheries, pollution and restoring coastal ecosystems. Fisheries management is key to saving the oceans. Getting it right on the regional level is a critical element of governance, and must be based on people, politics and economies, with solutions tailored to regional situations.”

During the ‘Keeping an eye on the high seas: Strengthening monitoring, control and surveillance’ session the FISH-i Africa Task Force was showcased as an effective regional mechanism. Dr Kristin von Kistowski of the Food and Agriculture Organization highlighted the importance of information sharing and the development of strong cooperation between neighbouring coastal States. She said, “Trust between monitoring, control and surveillance officers is a crucial aspect of regional info sharing and fighting illegal fishing. Regional task forces such as FISH-i and the West Africa Task Force provide one of the cheapest and most effective tools against illegal fishing and fisheries crime.”

Sandy Davies, Stop Illegal Fishing commented, “The Marine regions Forum has provided an interesting opportunity to explore the issue and the role of fisheries and IUU fishing related to biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). It has been useful to discuss and learn about the concerns of people from other sectors within our ocean space, and how regional cooperation and collaboration can work for the good of the oceans.”

The Marine Regions Forum initiative goes back to commitments by Germany and the European Union made 2017 at the UN Ocean Conference in New York and the Our Ocean Conference in Malta respectively, announcing their support in establishing a multi-stakeholder platform for regional ocean governance. The Marine Regions Forum is a contribution to the Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance (PROG), a collaborative initiative between scientific institutions and UN Environment.

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