The Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland promoted the Commonwealth’s Blue Charter proposal during a visit by UN Special Envoy on Oceans Peter Thomson to the Commonwealth Secretariat on November 29, 2017.
The Blue Charter of principles for sustainable ocean development was proposed at the UN Ocean Conference in June 2017 as a way of helping Commonwealth governments to ensure that maritime industries are managed so that the health of oceans is promoted and preserved.
It applies 16 principles from the Commonwealth Charter to ocean governance, including good governance, environmental protection, human rights and gender equality, justice and peace, and the recognition of the needs of vulnerable nations and young people.
The Charter aims to support countries in delivering on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 14 on conserving and sustainably using the seas.
A knowledge and innovation hub, along with a set of best practice toolkits, will be developed that complement the Secretariat’s existing support to its 45 coastal Commonwealth members.
Scotland and Thomson agreed on the importance of balancing ocean protection and production and highlighted the fragile interdependencies between people, oceans, climate and land.
They also declared support for the upcoming initiative, the proposed UN Ocean Conference in 2020, in relation to the Blue Charter.
Special Envoy Thompson said: “The significant amount of existing ocean initiatives and processes at the international, regional and national levels underscores that everyone has to be involved in ocean action.”
Speaking at the conference in June, 2017, Scotland said: “The Blue Charter will help countries develop an integrated approach to the building of the blue economy, one which considers the value of often overlooked sectors such as artisanal fishing as well as the role of women and young people.
“It will help policy-makers to adopt a regenerative model of development and find common sense solutions to challenges such as marine pollution, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and harmful trade subsidies.”
Read More: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales points out the vital importance of the oceans to all life on earth, and urges Commonwealth countries to play a positive role in ensuring that worthy commitments are turned into practical action