61 countries meeting in Malta to defend the oceans

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Representatives from 61 countries are meeting this week in Malta at the Our Ocean 2017 (OOC 2017) conference organized by the European Commission to make effective commitments to the global and sustainable management of oceans and marine resources.

Sources of the European Commission in a statement to the Lusa agency said that the European financial commitments of countries, institutions and companies announced at the conference “amounted to more than 550 million euros” and overall, OOC 2017 could generate funding for projects of sustainable management of the oceans to be around five thousand million euros.

Portugal will be represented by the Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, who in an intervention scheduled for the first day of the conference, will announce new initiatives and financial commitments of Portugal on prevention of the introduction of non-indigenous marine species, environment-related information technologies and ocean economic activities and scientific research on the environmental impacts of seabed mining.

Throughout the conference, participating countries and institutions will announce effective commitments on funding and measures to be taken in areas such as the creation of protected marine areas, combating climate change, sustainability of fisheries, marine pollution, maritime safety and blue economy.

The European Union figures indicate that since 2014, the commitments made at the Our Ocean conferences have produced around 250 concrete actions worldwide, with funding estimated at EUR 8.2 billion, including the designation as marine protected areas of a total of 9.9 million square kilometers.

According to the official conference program, the opening session will also feature a video conference message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

This conference in Malta is the fourth of Our Ocean conferences, following the inaugural meeting in 2014 in Washington, followed in Valparaiso, Chile in 2015, and Washington again in 2016.

Following Malta, the upcoming Our Ocean conferences are due to be held in Indonesia in 2018 and in Norway by 2019.

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