The EC's international cooperation relies on four pillars:
foreign affairs, trade, development and scientific cooperation
which, in turn, rely on several different instruments. Since
Rio, it has invested more than €400 million in international
cooperation relating to oceans and seas alone. The variety
of instruments reflects the diversity of policies within
collaborating countries, although they all embrace one unifying
theme: promotion of sustainable development through capacity
building, improved understanding and use of aquatic systems.
At a global level, the Commission has helped consolidate
the provisions of UNCLOS, which have been followed up by:
(1) the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International
Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels
on the High Seas (Compliance Agreement)(7);
(2) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries(8);
(3) Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks
and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (New York Agreement'(9)).
It is party to the first instrument, adheres to the code
and is ratifying the third agreement.
EC cooperation in UNEP's Regional Seas Programme(10)
helps ensure regional collaboration on the marine environment,
and includes support for revitalising the Nairobi and Abidjan
Conventions. The Commission is also a member of ten Regional
Fisheries Organisations (RFOs)(11).
These generally address harmonising conservation/management
measures. Among others, the EC collaborates with the Sub-Regional
Fisheries Commission in NW Africa (see FIAS
The Lomé Convention and its successor, the Cotonou
Agreement, are the main geographically bound instruments
for development in EC cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa,
the Caribbean and the Pacific - the 'ACP States'. The Conventions
advocate 'a sustainable balance between economic objectives,
the rational management of the environment and the enhancement
of natural and human resources'. For fisheries and aquaculture,
the Commission's guiding principle is to improve stakeholders'
livelihoods without further damaging the environment. This
is also reflected in cooperation outside the Cotonou framework.
Under the Lom¦ Convention, the 8th European Development
Fund (EDF, 1996?2001) made available €12.9 billion,
while the 9th EDF (2002?2006) provides €13.5 billion
for the first five years under Cotonou(12),
including €2.2 billion managed by the European
Investment Bank(13). Similar instruments
have facilitated sustainable development in Asia and Latin
America (ALA)(14), Central and Eastern
European Countries (CEEC)(15), the
Mediterranean (particularly the MEDA Programme)(16)
and the New Independent States (NIS)(17).
International scientific cooperation
The Commission_s international scientific research activities
were given a uniform structure (INCO) in 1994 as part of
the Fourth Framework Research Programme (FP4). INternational
COoperation with developing and emerging economies covers
ACP countries, Asia, CEEC, Latin America, the Mediterranean
and NIS. In line with increasingly complex problems recognised
in Agenda 21, it promotes interdisciplinary research affecting
global development and regional integration. Innovative
fisheries and aquaculture research was one area of this
cooperation in the context of sustainable use of oceans,
freshwaters and coastal zone management.
In addition to this commitment to implementing international
agreements, dialogue based on mutual respect and interest
remains key to determining regional cooperation priorities.
Successive international scientific cooperation programmes
have mobilised research teams from partner countries and
to create and share the know?how to address the identified
priorities. Synergies with other Community and Member State
policies and instruments is being sought to bridge the gap
between scientific knowledge, policy formulation and action.
The EC's Joint Research Centre(18)
(JRC) and the European Environment Agency(19)
(EEA) are among other European institutions with a mandate
to support knowledge creation and management towards sustainable
development. They provide technical and customer-driven
scientific support for the conception, implementation and
monitoring of EU policies. Co-financing arrangements with
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) represent a useful
financial instrument for the Commission, while the budget
line for 'Environment in developing countries'(20)
has supported, among others, capacity building, aquatic
biodiversity and training activities, and publications.