Delivering Ireland’s National commitments at the Our Ocean Conference in Malta today, Minister of State Ciarán Cannon T.D. stressed the importance to Ireland of promoting and protecting the world’s marine resources, for present and for future generations.
In highlighting Ireland’s contribution to this goal, Minister Cannon is announced over €6 million in funding in the area of marine research. He also announced the roll out of a groundbreaking Global Citizenship, Marine Environment education module for school children from September 2017 onwards.
In advance of the announcement, the Minister noted:
“…this programme will increase ocean literacy by fostering understanding of the important role our oceans play in our lives, how individual actions can affect them and how we can act together to protect them”.
The Minister will further commit €320,000 in funding to the Clean Coasts programme for 2017. This programme comprises Clean Coasts Volunteering with over 550 Clean Coasts volunteer groups established in Ireland to date. The programme is operated by An Taisce and is funded by the Department of the Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government. Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager with An Taisce, presented the initiative at the Conference this week, and will join Minister Cannon in a Facebook Live conversation with Northampton National School in Kinvara County Galway. By speaking to the students from the Malta conference, Minister Cannon will highlight the global impact of local action, which is at the core of engaging children in protecting our environment through education.
Additional commitments include the expansion of the 2015 Fishing for Litter programme and continued contributions to support developing countries engagement at the UN on issues relating to marine governance.
Minister Cannon also reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to prohibit the sale or manufacture of certain products containing microbeads, announced at the UN in June of this year.
The European Union is hosting the fourth edition of the Our Ocean Conference in Malta, on 5 - 6 October 2017. The Our Ocean Conference aims to inspire joint solutions and gather ambitious commitments to conserve and sustainably use the oceans. https://ourocean2017.org
Ireland’s 8 commitments made at the Our Oceans Conference are:
Ireland announces its commitment to invest EUR 1 million over the period 2018-2021 into R&D to help ensure future food and nutrition security and the sustainable supply for other high-added-value chains and products such as bioenergy, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics from algae.
Ireland announces EUR 1 million funding towards research vessel ship time per annum from 2018-2021 to activities agreed under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) - Galway Statement implementation, notably seabed mapping & ocean observation. Data from these activities will be open access.
Ireland announces that it will invest EUR 4 million per annum to a world class programme of seabed mapping (INFOMAR). Ireland has to date committed some EUR 50 million to this programme. This data feeds directly into the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODNnet) and helps support AORA.
Ireland announces that, in cooperation with the International Eco Schools programme, it will roll out a ground-breaking Global Citizenship: Marine Environment education module for school children from September 2017 onwards. The programme will increase ocean literacy by fostering understanding of the important role the oceans play in our lives, how individual actions can affect them and how we can act together to protect them.
Ireland announces EUR 320,000 in funding to the Clean Coasts Programme for 2017 and commits to funding on an on-going basis in future years. This programme, operated by An Taisce, Ireland’s National Trust, engages communities to work actively with local authorities to protect Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. This Programme comprises Clean Coasts Volunteering (with over 550 Clean Coasts volunteer groups established to date) and the highly sought after Green Coast Award (62 beaches awarded the Green Coast award in Ireland in 2017).
Ireland announces the expansion of its 2015 "Fishing for Litter" programme to a further 2 ports/piers and 15 vessels which has encouraged fishermen to retain marine litter brought up in their nets for onshore disposal, with 46 trawlers in 7 different ports around the Irish coast now participating in that programme.
Ireland reaffirms that by end 2018 it will introduce national legislation to prohibit the sale or manufacture of certain products containing microbeads including not just cosmetics but also body care and cleansing products as well as detergents and abrasive surface cleaning products.
Ireland announces a contribution of EUR 50,000 to the three United Nations trust funds in 2017. The contribution will go to the United Nations trust fund created to assist developing states engage with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, to the trust fund to assist them in participating in the work of the UN Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the marine environment and to the fund to assist developing states participate in the work of the UN Preparatory Committee on a new legal instrument for the conservation and sustainable development of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Since 2003 Ireland has contributed more than EUR 800,000 to these trust funds.