26 June 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Damien English, T.D, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal and Minister Thérèse Coffey M.P, UK Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, opened the annual meeting of the OSPAR Commission in Cork today, 26th June.
The 2017 meeting, which is co-hosted by Ireland and the UK, comprises key international environmental policy makers from Contracting Parties to the OSPAR Convention for the Protection and Conservation of the North-East Atlantic. The meeting will see the finalisation and launch of OSPAR’s Intermediate Assessment 2017, demonstrating the close cooperation between OSPAR countries, and OSPAR’s greater understanding of how best to deliver a clean, healthy and biologically diverse North-East Atlantic.
Minister English said ‘’Prestigious Events such as this OSPAR meeting provide a great opportunity to develop a common understanding of issues of mutual concern, to share experiences and knowledge, and to develop ways to best work together to protect and sustainably manage our shared marine environment’’.
The 1992 OSPAR Convention was formed from conventions originating in the 1970s covering dumping at sea, land-based sources of pollution and the offshore industry. OSPAR expanded its remit in 1998 to cover the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems and non-polluting human activities that can adversely affect the sea. OSPAR represents 15 individual countries and the European Union. More than 60 observer organisations comprising Non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) and other Inter-Governmental Organisations also play an essential role.
The Minister further commented that ‘‘I believe that Regional Sea Conventions such as OSPAR are the ideal vehicles for developing mechanisms to protect the marine environment and to enhance our knowledge and understanding of marine issues, while acknowledging the peculiarities and unique nature of local ecosystems’.
‘We, as current custodians of the marine environment have a duty and a responsibility to pass on a marine resource to future generations, a rich and abundant legacy to be sustainably developed and enjoyed by our children and their children’’ the Minister concluded.