Environment, Oceans and Energy Ministers ready to take action on our oceans and seas; conclude G7 joint meeting on Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities

News release

September 20, 2018

Halifax, Nova Scotia – Canada and its G7 partners recognize the need for urgent action to address the devastating impacts that plastic pollution and marine litter, overexploitation of fish stocks, and extreme weather events have on the health and sustainability of our oceans, seas, coastal communities and entire ecosystems.

Healthy and resilient oceans can help mitigate the effects of climate change. They are also a major source of food for the world’s population, a key driver of national and local economies, and an opportunity for new sources of renewable energy.

Today, G7 Environment, Oceans and Energy Ministers concluded their joint meeting on Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities, to support the G7 theme of “Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy”. During the meeting, they discussed the need for collaborative partnerships with relevant stakeholders, in particular with local, Indigenous, remote coastal and small islands communities, the private sector, international organizations and civil society in order to foster effective and innovative solutions to improve the health of our oceans and seas.

The meeting was co-hosted by the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources. The G7 Ministers were joined by Ministers and representatives from Jamaica, Kenya, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru, Norway, Seychelles and Vietnam. The meeting also included a presentation by the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada’s G7 presidency.

Ministers discussed ways to advance the priorities identified by G7 Leaders in the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities at the Charlevoix Summit in June, in particular around:

  • Addressing marine plastic pollution through social and technological innovation

    G7 Ministers agreed that reducing plastic pollution in our oceans requires urgent action by government and business. Major multinational businesses made important commitments to reduce plastic pollution against this backdrop. Unilever announced that it was launching a new non-profit entity to reduce consumer and business waste and would support the Ocean Plastics Charter announced at the Charlevoix G7 Summit. Loblaws, Walmart, Nestle Canada, IKEA, Dow Chemicals, The Coca-Cola Company, BASF Canada and A&W Canada also stepped up to support the Ocean Plastics Charter. Car manufacturer Volvo amplified its ambition to source 25 per cent of the plastics in its cars from recycled plastics by 2025. In addition, working with the World Economic Forum, Canada will invest $6 million to strengthen public-private partnerships to support global action in plastic pollution hot spots.

    Many of the outreach countries participating in the G7 meeting also stepped up to support the Ocean Plastics Charter, including Jamaica, Kenya, the Republic of Marshall Islands and Norway. The Charter was launched at the Charlevoix Summit in June 2018 and provides an international framework to guide action to stop the flow of plastics to the oceans.

    G7 members came together to establish a G7 Innovation Challenge to address marine plastic litter designed to spark innovation to beat plastic pollution. Canada pledged $20 million in support of the initiative, as well as over $12 million for funding Canadian innovations.

    In addition to oceans plastics, one of the biggest threats to our oceans is marine litter and in particular, ghost fishing gear. Ghost gear refers to any fishing equipment or fishing-related litter that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded and is some of the most harmful and deadly debris found in oceans. Canada is strengthening its domestic and international commitment to address marine litter and has become a signatory to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. This global initiative brings together 80 participants from across 50 organizations that represent governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector and fishing industries and academia.

    To further its commitment to help reduce marine pollution, the Government of Canada will invest $600,000 in the Marine Pollution Monitoring Program led by Ocean Wise. This will provide funding for an additional four years.
  • Supporting sustainable oceans and fisheries by combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

    G7 Leaders discussed working globally and building stronger public-private partnerships to address IUU fishing.

    The Government of Canada emphasized its support for combatting IUU fishing by announcing earlier today that up to $10 million will be invested to support the development and deployment of satellite-based technologies that can remotely identify and track suspected IUU vessels. An additional investment of up to $1.6 million will contribute to the development of regional fisheries intelligence sharing for Western Central Pacific countries to share information, and develop new tools and best practices to eliminate IUU fishing in their waters.

    The Government of Canada also announced support for the work of the Global Fishing Watch -- an international, non-profit organization that promotes healthy, productive and resilient oceans through transparent and effective governance of its marine resources. 
  • Increasing our ocean knowledge by expanding global observation efforts as well as sharing scientific data

    As recognized at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Charlevoix, greater ocean knowledge is needed for the lasting health of our oceans.

    The Government of Canada is committed to expanding global observation efforts to significantly improve the availability and sharing of science and data to ensure they effectively inform decision-making processes. Better information sharing of ocean data and improved ocean observation technologies will help identify and reduce the risks to coastal communities.

    Leading the charge in ocean observation is the Argo program. The Government of Canada will invest up to $5.6 million in support of the deployment of Argo Ocean Array--a global array of 3,800 free-drifting profiling floats that continuously monitors the international waters and measures the changing ocean temperature and salinity of the upper ocean and makes this data publicly available. Developing countries will benefit from these ocean observation capabilities.
  • Supporting innovative solutions and financing to develop clean and resilient energy systems in vulnerable coastal communities

    G7 Ministers discussed the particular vulnerability of coastal communities to the increasing number of extreme weather events globally, and highlighted their commitment to help strengthen the resilience of coastal communities, at home and internationally. Ministers agreed to launch the G7 Initiative on Earth Observation and Integrated Coastal Zone Management to improve the availability and accessibility of data and services that are critical to better understand the current state of our oceans and coasts.

    Ministers also agreed that resilient energy systems are an essential part of increasing the overall resiliency of coastal communities, particularly in Small Island Developing States and low-lying vulnerable countries, as they support critical operations and infrastructure in the context of emergency response and recovery efforts, such as communication, hospitals and water treatment facilities.

    The Government of Canada is doing its part with a $60M funding to support the expansion of clean energy systems in Small Island Developing States, improve energy access for women and girls, and provide training and employment opportunities for women in non-traditional, sustainable technology sectors.

    The outcomes of the G7 Environment, Oceans and Energy Ministers’ meeting lay the groundwork for immediate action and further collaboration expected to continue at a more global level at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference that Canada is co-hosting in Nairobi, Kenya from November 26 to 28, 2018.


“G7 members are taking bold action to protect our oceans, a resource that creates jobs and sustains livelihoods across our countries and around the globe. I am proud that Canada has brought the advanced economies of the world together to tackle the biggest threats to our oceans. We look forward to co-hosting the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference later this year with Kenya and continue international collaboration on this critical issue.”

Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard 

“We made important progress today to protect our oceans and reduce plastic pollution. Canada and our G7 counterparts reinforced our commitments to tackling the problem, while many other leading businesses and governments stepped up with new commitments, including through the Ocean Plastics Charter which was launched at the Charlevoix G7 Summit. These significant commitments are a step towards cleaning up our shorelines, beating plastic pollution in our communities, and to growing jobs and opportunities in a cleaner economy.”

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change 

“A strong economy tomorrow depends on our actions to safeguard our environment. The ways in which we develop, move and use our energy must respect the environment while enriching the lives of all Canadians. Our planet's oceans represent an important resource in many ways, including as a source of clean, affordable and reliable energy. As G7 countries, it is our responsibility to address pressing global issues, such as meeting the world’s ever-increasing demand for energy, in a more responsible way. I look forward to continuing work with our international community to explore ways to transform our energy systems and bring about a more sustainable future for everyone.”

Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources 

Quick facts

  • The G7 “Working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy” meeting is the fourth ministerial meeting of Canada’s G7 presidency.

  • The G7 is an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies, consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union.

  • The G7 Leaders’ Summit was held from June 8-9 in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada. The G7 is an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies consisting of Canada, France, the United States, The United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Italy, as well as the European Union. Canada holds the G7 Presidency until December 31, 2018.

  • Co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Isabelle Hudon, Ambassador of Canada to France, the Gender Equality Advisory Council is advising Canada in the context of its G7 presidency on how to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment across all themes, activities and initiatives.

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Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Caroline Thériault
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Vanessa Adams
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

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