United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North -East Atlantic (OSPAR)

Statement at Plenary at the General Assembly, approximately at 13:30 on Friday 9.00
Mr President, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.
1. The OSPAR Commission for the protection of North East Atlantic is the intergovernmental
regional sea organisation for the North East Atlantic. Through the convention, the Contracting
Parties, 15 national governments and the European Union cooperate with each other as they
seek to conserve and protect the marine environment. Through the Convention, the
Contracting Parties aim to maximise achievement oftheir environmental objectives within the
characteristics of the marine ecosystems and the social and economic realities of the North
East Atlantic.
2. Such cooperation over OSPAR's 45 year history has delivered comprehensive monitoring and
assessment. It has successfully addressed pollution from hazardous substances, heavy metals,
eutrophication, radioactive substances and discharges from offshore industry. · Nevertheless
challenges remain including concerns from new contaminants, from litter and from noise.
OSPAR's work on biodiversity includes addressing threats to its list of threatened and declining
species and habitats, as well as establishment of a network of Marine Protected Areas
throughout the convention area, including in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
3. While reporting on progress on SDGs is primarily for our Contracting Parties as UN Member
States. OSPAR can provide supporting monitoring and assessment at the regional level. This
allows for an ecosystem-based perspective at the larger ecosystem scale of the relevant sea,
which is appropriate for the ocean SDG in particular.
4. I believe SDG 14 and the call for action add extra impetus for us all to achieve the
environmental, social, and economic objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals. This
implies cooperation between regions and across the globe, cooperation across sectors and
organisational structures. OSPAR is already active in this regard, for instance in working
closely with the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission on our respective activities on area
based management in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Such work, which we have
highlighted through a voluntary commitment is fundamental to delivering an ecosystem based
approach across the sectoral divides.
5. OSPAR has over the years cooperated with its sister re~ional seas in neighbouring regions of
the Baltic, Mediterranean and the Atlantic coast of west central and southern Africa. I am
pleased to say the Sustainable Development Goal 14 has now provided further impetus for
OSPAR and our sister regional sea the Caribbean Environment Programme, Cartagena
Convention, to commit to start exploring a cooperation on our common and linked marine
environment issues across the Atlantic Ocean, to see how we can support each other, and our
respective Contracting Parties, in delivering SDG 14.
6. These on-going activities are consistent with the need to rise to the challenges set out by
Agenda 2030 and in particular delivering SDG 14. T~e regional level of cooperation is
necessary as the ecosystems of the oceans do not respect borders. The OSPAR Commission
stands ready to support our Contracting Parties in delivering SDG 14 as they cooperate with
each other to conserve and protect the marine environment.
Thank you
Ospar Commission - draft paper on regional cooperation