Canadian Delegation encourages global action in protecting the ocean at the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon
July 4, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal - The world is at a pivotal moment when it comes to the health of our oceans and the marine life within them. The health of the ocean is front and centre on the global agenda because of its relationship with the health of our changing climate, its ability to support coastal livelihoods and our reliance on it to meet a growing demand for clean energy, low-carbon food, and other sustainable resources.
This unprecedented attention comes with the expectation that governments take concrete, coordinated and measurable actions to protect them – and that we do so urgently.
From June 27 to July 1, 2022, the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, led Canada’s delegation to the UN Ocean Conference (UNOC) in Lisbon, Portugal. The conference was an opportunity for Canada to meet bilaterally with likeminded countries on ocean issues and advance priorities like sustainable fisheries, protecting 25 per cent of marine space by 2025 while advocating for 30 per cent by 2030 and developing a blue economy.
Canada fulfilled its objectives for the meeting by:
- Jointly launching the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Action Alliance with the US and the UK while co-hosting a side event on transparency, technology, and combatting IUU fishing. This alliance adds to Canada’s partnerships with other governments and non-governmental organizations to advance research, development and data collection and sharing to combat IUU fishing;
- Advocating for Canada’s approach to sustainable fisheries, which Canada did through co-chairing a discussion on the importance of sustainable fisheries and how small-scale artisanal harvesters can gain better access to marine resources and markets;
- Underscoring Canada’s domestic commitment to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s ocean by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030, and encouraging other countries to adopt the same 30 per cent target in line with the Global Ocean Alliance;
- Providing a status update on Canada’s voluntary commitments at the first UN Conference in 2017, and making additional commitments;
- Building strong bilateral relations with likeminded countries; and
- Joining high-level political declarations, such as Canadian representatives meeting with the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy and also reiterating Canada’s support for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade).
The Canadian delegation also took the opportunity to invite the ocean community to the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5), a UN Ocean Decade endorsed event, that will take place in Vancouver February 3-9, 2023. Canada will host this global forum, alongside the Host First Nations (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh), bringing together ocean conservation experts and high-level officials to inform, inspire and act on marine protected areas.
“Canada is proudly taking multiple actions to tackle the challenges facing our ocean. I was honoured to lead the Canadian delegation at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon where together we advanced our shared goal of keeping ocean ecosystems safe, healthy and productive. I’m looking forward to building on what we achieved, at IMPAC5 next February.”
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
From June 27 to July 1, the Governments of Kenya and Portugal co-hosted UNOC. It is the second such conference since 2017. The event was designed to provide a space for international leaders to push for the adoption of innovative, science-based solutions for the sustainable management of the ocean. The conference focused on the Ocean Decade and Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Life below water” and the need to conserve and sustainably use the world’s ocean, seas and marine resources.
The Canadian delegation included representation from Indigenous partners, industry and environmental non-governmental organizations.
At the conference, Canada announced new voluntary commitments and emphasized existing priorities, including:
- Extending Canada’s Dark Vessel Detection Platform to support Ecuador's efforts to address IUU fishing around the Galapagos Islands;
- The establishment of the Eastern Canyons Marine Refuge off of Nova Scotia;
- Highlighting Canada’s work tackling abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear and other plastics; and
- Reiterating a pledge to developing a whole-of-government Blue Economy Strategy that will guide our actions and investments in the years to come.
On November 27, 2018, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced Canada’s support for the Ocean Decade, with an investment of up to $9.5 million and a commitment to work with domestic and international partners to advance ocean science, develop and share knowledge, build infrastructure, and foster relationships.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard
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