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Oceans Meeting in Lisbon concentrates on marine litter and health

oceanThe European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, said at the Oceans Meeting in Lisbon today that the sea is "the most promising frontier for innovation in health," reminding delegates from 50 countries of the need for collaboration between nations, scientists and disciplines.

Moedas spoke at the opening session of the international conference at the Oceans Meeting 2017, which ended today in Lisbon, under the heading of ‘Ocean health and human health.’

According to the European Commissioner, "the ocean remains a place where there are so many discoveries still to be made that potentially will revolutionise human health."

According to Moedas, the sea "is the most promising new frontier for innovation in health", which requires "collaboration between countries and scientific disciplines so that it can inspire scientific excellence."

"We need to encourage scientists in every field to contribute," he said, noting the need to ensure "open access to data."

In this regard, the European commissioner cited the Open Science Cloud, a tool that allows researchers to access the scientific work produced, which will start operating in 2018 and will be fully operational by 2020.

The Government of the Açores subscribed to the "principles and objectives" of the joint declaration for the preservation of the oceans signed today in Lisbon by 70 countries.

The regional secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology, Gui Menezes, highlighted "the contribution" of the Açores, "to the sustainable future of the oceans," to ensure that the sustainability of resource extraction, mitigation of marine litter and an increase in knowledge about the oceans are a priority of the Açores executive.

Menezes added that the Government of the Açores subscribes to "the principles and objectives" of the joint declaration signed today between Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries and those in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic, for the preservation of the oceans.

Seventy countries committed their governments to reducing ocean-borne diseases and seeking solutions in ecosystems and marine protected areas for health problems affecting humanity.
 
In a statement signed late in the morning, those responsible for protecting the seas on all continents recognised the impact that ocean health has on their national health systems.

Among the measures contained in a summary of the statement distributed to journalists is "improving communication between the scientific community and the authorities" that protect the environment, food safety and health.

A closer look at the relationship between the marine environment and human health was one of the key elements of the Lisbon Declaration's commitment to analyse diseases in coastal communities.

"Because we are islands, we are aware of our environmental vulnerability and the low abundance of our resources," said the Açorean government’s Gui Menezes, stressing that governments have a responsibility to create "policies consistent with the principles embodied in this declaration."

The Açores regional secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology said that the islands are fighting "overfishing, marine pollution, climate change and habitat destruction," referring to several measures taken by the creation of protected marine areas and the development of regional policies aimed, for example, at reducing the production of marine litter at sea through initiatives and projects included in the Action Plan for Marine Litter.

Attendees at the conference, that was held variously at the Hotel Pestana Palace, the Champalimaud Centre and the Jerónimos Monastery, included Prime Minister António Costa, the minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino and the Minister of Health, Adalberto Campos Ferreira.

In points 13, 14 amd 15 below, it can be seen that adequate space has been allowed to enable Portugal to continue its oil and gas exploration programme and deep sea mining ambitions.

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MINISTERIAL MEETING OF THE OCEANS MEETING 2017 - DECLARATION ON OCEANS AND HUMAN HEALTH

We, the Ministers responsible for Ocean/ Fisheries/ Maritime Affairs, having met in Lisbon on September, the 8th, 2017, by invitation of the Portuguese Minister of the Sea, Mrs. Ana Paula Vitorino, in the framework of the Oceans Meeting 2017;

Recalling the declaration of the ministerial meeting of Oceans Meeting 2016, held in Lisbon, in June 2016, promoting Ocean Literacy & Culture, Ocean Science & Innovation and Blue Economy;

Recognizing the contribution of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations to the maintenance of peace, justice, social equity and progress for all peoples of the world;

Emphasizing the universal and unified character of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), setting out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out;

Reaffirming that UNCLOS is of strategic importance as the basis for national, regional and global action and cooperation in the marine sector, and that its integrity needs to be maintained, as recognized also by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in chapter 17 of Agenda 21;

Welcoming the adoption of United Nations General Assembly resolution 70/1, of 25 September 2015, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in particular Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) 2 “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”; 3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, 13 “take urgent action to combat the climate change and its impacts” and 14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”;

Welcoming, in this regard, the Call for Action of the UN Ocean Conference, held in NY, from 5 to 9 June 2017;

Further welcoming the adoption and early entry into force of the Paris Agreement negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), while recognizing the importance of raising awareness on the adverse impacts of climate change on the marine environment, marine biodiversity and sea level;

Also welcoming the adoption of United Nations General Assembly resolution 69/292 of 19 June 2015 on the “Development of an international legally-binding instrument under UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction” as well as the recommendations adopted on July 21st 2017 by the Preparatory Committee mandated by this resolution and in this regard encourage the United Nations General Assembly to take a decision, as soon as possible, on the convening of an intergovernmental conference, under the auspices of the United Nations to consider the recommendations of the Preparatory Committee on the elements and to elaborate a text of an international legally binding instrument under the UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, with a starting date as early as possible;

Welcoming with appreciation the first global integrated marine assessment (United Nations World Ocean Assessment), while reiterating the need to strengthen the regular scientific assessment of the state of the marine environment in order to enhance the scientific basis for policymaking and international cooperation;

Also welcoming the adoption of a G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter, while recognizing the urgent need to prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds from land- and sea-based sources to enhance food security and public health;

Further welcoming the hosting by the EU of the fourth edition of the ‘Our Ocean’ Conference on 5-6 October 2017 in Malta, and look forward to the voluntary commitments from all participants for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans;

Recognizing the importance of taking into account the different levels of development between countries to guarantee the success and sustainability of the actions to be undertaken in the context of sustainable management of the maritime economy;

Having decided on the importance of promoting regional and international cooperation in building partnerships in order to mobilize strong and more ambitious action in ocean affairs by Governments, civil society, industry, universities, research centres and NGO’s and all other relevant stakeholders, in particular regarding The Ocean and Human Health and social development.

1. Recognize the importance of improving our understanding of the potential public health benefits and responsible use from marine and coastal ecosystems;

2. Also recognize the crucial role of ecosystems and protected areas in supporting human well-being and sustainable economic development;

3. Further recognize the importance of reducing the burden of human disease linked with marine environmental causes;

4. Emphasize the importance of anticipating new threats to public health before they become serious;

5. Reiterate our commitment to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14 within the timelines – in particular target 14.1. on preventing and significantly reducing marine pollution of all kinds, and the need to sustain action over the long term, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.

6. Affirm that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and express our deep concern with the health of our Oceans, the most important life support system of the Planet, particularly concerning climate and carbon regulation, oxygen and food production;

7. Further affirm the need to build bridges between relevant stakeholders, for example by involving them at the outset of project formulation, allowing for co evaluation and joint construction of knowledge;

8. Acknowledge the importance of ocean knowledge management, including traditional knowledge, communication and maximization of the science policy interface;

9. Also acknowledge the need to develop specific international networking actions to increase international cooperation considering the specific research needs of developing countries to overcome the fragmented research capabilities of the World;

10. Welcomes the proposal of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO for an International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to be established for the period 2021–2030 under the United Nations, with the aim to stimulate international cooperation in marine science to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

11. Recall the need to stimulate creative thinking and develop opportunities to explore alternatives to standard risk assessment procedures;

12. Further recall the importance of improving communication between the research community and the authorities in charge of environmental protection, food safety and human health;

13. Affirm that, with respect to economic sustainable development of the Ocean, it is important to foster established and emerging sustainable ocean-based industries and activities simultaneously, with increased actions to ensure healthy, productive and resilient ocean and coastal ecosystems through innovative, integrated, ecosystem-based and multidimensional approaches, consistent with international law, as reflected in UNCLOS and other relevant international agreements;

14. Acknowledge that empowering relevant stakeholders with the tools, data and information needed to sustainably manage marine resources and to accurately assess risk and opportunities in the economic sustainable development of the Ocean is key during its early development state, in accordance with sustainable development;

15. Acknowledging in this regard that economic development cannot be understood without ensuring adequate working conditions, especially decent employment;

16. Stress the need for sustained and continuous observation of the essential ocean variables to monitor ocean health and impacts suffered from its changes;

17. Also stress the need to take all necessary actions to jointly implement the UN Sustainable Goal on Oceans (SDG 14) in a collaborative approach across all relevant sectors, expecting strong benefits also for the achievement of SDG 2 (food) and SDG 4 (health);

18. Support the implementation of an interdisciplinary systems approach incorporating environmental, biomedical, socioeconomic and epidemiological methods;

19. Also support the improvement of tests for the detection of pathogens and invasive alien species in seawater and seafood, including protocols for harmful nanoparticles and seafood material and chemical pollutants from all sources;

20. Further support the test monitoring of warning signals from the marine environment on sentinel organisms;

21. Stress the need to improve epidemiological modelling of the health of coastal human communities;

22. Further stress the need to provide adequate support for interdisciplinary research and training of young researchers to build capacity and improve our knowledge base on the relationship between the marine environment and human health;

23. Acknowledge the need to develop specific interdisciplinary Oceans and Human health networking actions to increase international cooperation, also considering the specific research needs of developing countries, to overcome the fragmented research capabilities of the world;

24. Also acknowledge the importance of fostering Ocean Sustainable Development financing.

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Comments  

+2 #13 Neil M 2017-09-12 19:45
Jack,
The Blue Flag Certification is an EU standard assessment, it is not changed for any reason.
The sea water on the coast of Clacton, England was so polluted in the 1970s by large businesses, that were pumping raw sewage and contaminated material into the sea, as there was no authority monitoring this activity.
However, the EEC at that time informed the local authority and offered advice and a time frame to rectify the pollution. The time frame was ignored and the EEC placed fines on the local authority.
The fines became so large that the local authority could not longer appease the large companies that were destroying the beautiful costal area with pollution. It's now completely cleaned up and looking great.
This is what would happen if there was pollution going into the sea here. VIVA the EU.
-3 #12 Jack Reacher 2017-09-12 15:06
Quoting Neil M:
The European Environment Agency's first point of assessment for the prestigious Blue Flag award is the sewage outlet going into the sea. Then water samples are taken from the sea and if bacteria is present in the samples the Blue Flag will not be awarded to that particular beach.
There are 32 items of criteria which are divided into 4 area's
(1) environmental education and provision.
(2) Water quality.
(3) environmental management
(4) safety and services
All of the beaches that you mentioned in your report of 13th April 2017, have the Blue Flag Award through the above stringent assessment.
This assessment is carried out on beaches all over Europe by the above agency.
Even on our lovely English costal waters, which may not be so lovely when The UK leaves the European Union.

The Blue Flag certification is flawed in the Algarve on so many different levels. The Blue Flag guidelines are completely outdated and need to be enforced.
-3 #11 Jack Reacher 2017-09-12 15:02
Maybe the EU Commission deliberately omitted the fact that Portuguese fishing boats have been implicit in plundering foreign fisheries. Of course he knew.

http://oceana.org/press-center/press-releases/eu-countries-authorized-their-vessels-fish-unlawfully-african-waters
+3 #10 Neil M 2017-09-12 08:49
The European Environment Agency's first point of assessment for the prestigious Blue Flag award is the sewage outlet going into the sea. Then water samples are taken from the sea and if bacteria is present in the samples the Blue Flag will not be awarded to that particular beach.
There are 32 items of criteria which are divided into 4 area's
(1) environmental education and provision.
(2) Water quality.
(3) environmental management
(4) safety and services
All of the beaches that you mentioned in your report of 13th April 2017, have the Blue Flag Award through the above stringent assessment.
This assessment is carried out on beaches all over Europe by the above agency.
Even on our lovely English costal waters, which may not be so lovely when The UK leaves the European Union.
-3 #9 mr john 2017-09-11 20:16
And the cigarette buts both under the sand and washed up on the beach, dogs on the beach, no one is watching so on it goes.
0 #8 Ed 2017-09-10 22:59
Quoting Emma B:
Please read ADN, issue dated 30th April 2017.
Where the big news was the outstanding amount of Blue Flag beaches in Algarve. Was this paper writing fake news in April or is this paper writing fake news now.

Neither.

The April item said "The Olhão mayor did not of course refer to the raw sewage outfalls that continue to flow under his city into the Ria Formosa as the areas affected by this pollution are a long way from the Blue Flag beaches on the island of Armona and further east along the coast at Fuseta."

The other references I made in my comments were for the regular dumping of untreated or partially treated sewage by overloaded ETARs. The blue flag analysis is unlikely to pick these up as they are not permanent flows. Sorry if I had not made this clear.
0 #7 Emma B 2017-09-10 22:27
Please read ADN, issue dated 30th April 2017.
Where the big news was the outstanding amount of Blue Flag beaches in Algarve. Was this paper writing fake news in April or is this paper writing fake news now.
-1 #6 Jack Reacher 2017-09-10 20:54
[quote name="Neil M"]Jack,
Can't seem to find quote from European Commissioner on drilling, deep sea mining, over fishing and sand dumping.
However I have found comments from the vice president of Energy Union, he congratulated Portugal on becoming Europe's frontrunner in its usage of renewable energy.
He also congratulated Portugal on being the first country in Europe, to provide the complete energy needs of the country, for four and a half days in succession with renewable energy in 2017.
I was very impressed by the above statement.[/quote

Don't get too excited by the 4 day renewable energy statement. Whilst it's a step towards sustainability it was only Portugal's Electrical Grid that was 100% producing renewable at massive cost and favourable weather conditions. The rest of the country was still guzzling and using fossil fuel.
The long term ramifications of overfishing, deep sea mining and O&G are entirely hypocritical of the way Portugal goes about business.
-1 #5 Ed 2017-09-10 20:36
Quoting Emma B:
Tt,
What areas of the Algarve is the waste going directly into the sea.
This worries me greatly, as I like swim in the sea.
Please name these areas quickly as this needs to be dealt with immediately

30 outlets of untreated human and industrial waste in the Ria Formosa area between Faro and Tavira - notably the permanent, 24/7 flow of crap into the Ria at the ferry terminal jetty in Olhao - wonderful to watch. Praia Grande at Salgados. Monte Gordo from the ETAR - these are three I can think of immediatey. Oh, and the ETAR at Albufeira where the pump mysteriously breaks each year, allowing the dumping of shit and the subsequent closing of the beach.

I am sure readers will come up with many more...
+1 #4 Emma B 2017-09-10 18:47
Tt,
What areas of the Algarve is the waste going directly into the sea.
This worries me greatly, as I like swim in the sea.
Please name these areas quickly as this needs to be dealt with immediately

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