Speaking at the session 'the ocean economy – a whale of an opportunity?' yesterday, Commissioner Vella stressed the opportunities the world's oceans offer for sustainable 'blue' growth, for instance in emerging technologies like ocean energy.
"Ocean energy illustrates two fundamental conditions of sustainable blue growth. First, that environmental sustainability and business opportunities often go hand in hand. Protecting and restoring ocean ecosystems pays off. Second, business needs the right regulatory and policy framework for investment. So we are working with the European Investment Bank to support blue economy projects, as well as promoting them under the European Union's 'Investment Plan for Europe'," Commissioner Vella said.
Commissioner Vella also laid out the EU's international ocean governance agenda, highlighting the world's responsibility to act.
"Blue economic growth is neither automatic nor inevitable. If our oceans are in bad shape, the blue economy cannot thrive. All of us share the responsibility of keeping our oceans healthy, so that all of us can benefit for the opportunities that oceans offer. That is why, last November, the European Union proposed 50 actions to create the conditions for a sustainable blue economy around the world. We are creating a healthy investment environment for a healthy and productive marine environment," Commissioner Vella said.
On the margins of the Summit, the Commissioner discussed ocean governance and the potential of the blue economy with Ms Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia, Mr John Maneniaru, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources of the Solomon Islands, Mr Peter Thomson, President of the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNPGA), and business leaders.
Today, in a panel on 'what comes next', the Commissioner will invite ministers, business representatives and civil society leaders to join the fourth Our Ocean conference, a high-level international event aimed at generating commitments for concrete and measurable actions for healthy, sustainable oceans worldwide. This year's edition will be hosted by the EU in Malta on 5-6 October. The website for the edition was launched today.