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Marine Environment: International Cooperation

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 38825, tabled on 18 July 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure it delivers on the Government's commitments made in the Global Ocean Alliance 30by30 initiative.

Answered on

5 September 2022

Since 2019, the UK has been leading the Global Ocean Alliance (GOA) of countries championing ambitious ocean action under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including the ‘30by30’ target to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030. The ocean has historically been underrepresented in the CBD, and the GOA plays an important role in raising the profile of ocean and marine issues.

In addition to leading the GOA, the UK also serves as Ocean Co-Chair of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature & People, alongside Costa Rica and France. The HAC champions 30by30 for both the land and the ocean. Between these two UK-led alliances, 120 countries support 30by30 for the ocean, and over 100 countries support 30by30 for both the land and the ocean. The HAC and the GOA are complementary alliances, working closely together and pushing in the same direction to ensure that the 30by30 target is adopted at CBD COP15.

As we approach the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the CBD in December 2022, the UK will continue working with Costa Rica, France, and members of the HAC and GOA, to call for the 30by30 target to be enshrined within the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

The UK is committed to securing an ambitious outcome at COP15, including ambitious outcomes for the ocean, to halt and reverse biodiversity loss globally by 2030. However, it is also crucial that we continue working after COP15 to support the global implementation of the GBF, including the 30by30 target.

Achieving a global 30by30 target will require an international effort, from all Parties and sectors. The UK is leading the way, with 374 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) protecting 38% of UK waters. We have built a comprehensive network of MPAs and are focusing on making sure they are protected properly. 98 MPAs in English inshore waters already have byelaws in place to protect sensitive features from damaging fishing activities. The first four offshore byelaws have now also been implemented and plans are in place to protect all offshore sites by the end of 2024, using new powers in the Fisheries Act 2020. The Government has also committed to introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) following the response to the Benyon Review. We are now consulting on candidate pilot HPMAs.

In addition, the UK continues to provide support for marine protection internationally, including through the £500 million Blue Planet Fund. The Blue Planet Fund, financed from the UK overseas aid budget, will support developing countries to protect and sustainably manage their marine resources and address human-generated threats across four key themes: biodiversity, climate change, marine pollution, and sustainable seafood.

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