The health of our oceans and seas is critical to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the planet. Oceans and seas play a fundamental role in the global climate system and in supporting communities, jobs and livelihoods, food security, human health, biodiversity, economic prosperity and way of life.
Oceans and seas; however, are facing many challenges. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and overexploitation of fish stocks threaten entire species and food security. Marine pollution, including from plastic litter, is compounding the threats facing already degraded marine ecosystems. As set out in The Charlevoix G7 Summit Communique, ocean warming, acidification and sea-level rise, together with extreme weather events, are affecting communities globally. Arctic and low-lying coastal communities, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS), are among the most vulnerable.
We, the Leaders of the G7, underscore the importance of engaging and supporting all levels of government to develop and implement effective and innovative solutions. We will promote collaborative partnerships and work with all relevant partners, in particular local, Indigenous, remote coastal and small island communities, as well as with the private sector, international organizations and civil society to identify and assess policy gaps, needs and best practices. This path forward will support the leadership and empowerment of women and youth as agents of positive change.
Recognizing the direct impact of global temperature rise on oceans, with this Blueprint we are pursuing global efforts towards a sustainable and climate-resilient future, in particular reducing emissions while stimulating innovation and economic growth, enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change while ensuring a just transition to the broad participation of women and girls, both at home and in our commitment to support developing countries.Footnote 1
Recognizing the need for action in line with previous G7 commitments and the 2030 Agenda, which sets a global framework for sustainable development, we, the Leaders of the G7, commit to:
Resilient Coasts and Coastal Communities
- Support better adaptation planning, emergency preparedness and recovery: We will work in partnership across multiple sectors to identify and assess policy gaps, vulnerabilities, risks and needs, and share lessons learned and expertise. We encourage the development of coastal management strategies to help plan and build back better, including through standards, best practices and provisions to rebuild natural and physical infrastructure, as appropriate. Our efforts will support resilient and quality infrastructure in coasts and coastal communities, particularly in SIDS. This will include advancing the development and deployment of clean and resilient energy systems, including from renewable sources. Where appropriate, we will advocate for and support nature-based solutions, such as the protection and rehabilitation of wetlands, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs. To protect coastal communities, we will work to increase the capacity of these communities, particularly in SIDS, to generate and communicate effective early warnings of extreme weather and other geo-hazard related risks. To this end, we support early warning systems, including through efforts such as the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems initiative, which aims to build the capacity of Least Developed Countries and SIDS. We will develop gender-sensitive planning strategies that integrate economic growth, adaptation, sustainable development, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and disaster risk reduction. In ensuring more inclusive, comprehensive approaches, we will support women’s equal participation in decision-making for disaster risk reduction and recovery. Looking ahead to a brighter economic future, we will promote income-generating activities in coastal communities, such as sustainable tourism.
- Support innovative financing for coastal resilience: Mobilize greater support for increasing financial resources available to build coastal resilience, particularly in developing countries, and exploring new and innovative financing with national and international public and private sector partners. To explore these innovative financing approaches and tools, we will build on existing platforms for governments, industry, philanthropists and institutional investors. We will explore broadening disaster risk insurance coverage, including through global and regional facilities, such as the InsuResilience Global Partnership, to extend high quality insurance coverage to vulnerable developing countries and beneficiaries in need and to encourage new types of insurance products for emerging risks. We welcome research, monitoring and gender analysis to increase both the range of insurance products and women’s access to financial resources for disaster risk management and recovery.
- Launch a joint G7 initiative to deploy Earth observation technologies and related applications to scale up capacities for the integrated management of coastal zones: We intend to leverage innovation in the field of Earth observation technologies and related applications and make them broadly available in the poorest and most vulnerable regions of the world in order to support disaster risk prevention, contingency planning, spatial planning, infrastructure and building design, early warning systems and risk transfer mechanisms. We ask the forthcoming G7 Ministerial meetings in Halifax to work to present new actions in this area.
Ocean Knowledge: Science and Data
- Increase the availability and sharing of science and data: Recognizing the value of ocean science, observation and seabed mapping, we will expand global observation and tracking efforts. Through enhanced global monitoring of oceans, and coordinating access to ocean science information, we will significantly improve the availability of data. We encourage the collection, analysis, dissemination and use of gender-sensitive data to bridge gaps in understanding the way women and girls are impacted by risks and catastrophic events, and how they can be engaged in developing and implementing solutions.
Sustainable Oceans and Fisheries
- Address IUU fishing and other drivers of overexploitation of fish stocks: We will work globally to build stronger public-private partnerships with key countries and technology providers to deploy innovative platforms and technology to identify vessels that engage in, and those that support, IUU fishing. A key effort will be the implementation of unique vessel identification scheme of the International Maritime Organization for all eligible vessels fishing on the high seas. Further, we will strengthen existing regional fisheries networks and launch new networks in needed areas in partnership with INTERPOL and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), in accordance with their respective competencies, to share information and best practices, and develop new tools to eliminate IUU fishing. Our partnerships will leverage the agency, leadership and participation of women in developing strategies for marine conservation through inclusive planning and implementation, capacity building and improved access to information for women. We will also work to address the myriad of other challenges facing sustainable fishing, including by: promoting global adoption and implementation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate IUU Fishing, including through supporting capacity building on effective implementation of the Agreement; promoting coordinated action to address forced labour and other forms of work that violate or abuse human rights in the fishing sector that can also be related to IUU fishing; prohibiting harmful fish subsidies that contribute to overfishing and IUU fishing and collectively addressing this through effective disciplines in the World Trade Organization (WTO); supporting the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Catch Documentation Schemes; and promoting innovation for fishing gear design and recovery to prevent its loss or abandonment. We will also support the implementation of the Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels, and Supply Vessels by providing our Phase 1 vessel data as soon as possible.
- Support strategies to effectively protect and manage vulnerable areas of our oceans and resources: We will advance efforts beyond the current 2020 Aichi targets including, the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) where appropriate and practicable and contribute towards these objectives, the sustainable management of fisheries and the adoption of marine spatial planning processes. We will further advocate for the creation and implementation of effective and science-based MPAs and area-based conservation measures, in close alignment with relevant international frameworks, including in the high seas. We acknowledge efforts to develop an effective and universal international legally-binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction in line with resolution UNGA 72/249.
Ocean Plastic Waste and Marine Litter
- We recognise the urgency of the threat of ocean plastic waste and marine litter to ecosystems and the lost value of plastics in the waste stream. We commit to building on previous G7 commitments and taking a lifecycle approach to plastics stewardship on land and at sea, moving towards a more resource efficient and sustainable management of plastics. Further, we will promote the harmonization of monitoring methodologies for marine litter and collaboration on research on its impacts, in cooperation, for example with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to facilitate this work.
We ask Ministers to further elaborate on this work at their meeting in Halifax.
Annex: Ocean Plastics Charter
Plastics are one of the most revolutionary inventions of the past century and play an important role in our economy and daily lives. However, the current approach to producing, using, managing and disposing of plastics poses a significant threat to the environment, to livelihoods and potentially to human health. It also represents a significant loss of value, resources and energy.We, the Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, commit to move toward a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics. We resolve to take a lifecycle approach to plastics stewardship on land and at sea, which aims to avoid unnecessary use of plastics and prevent waste, and to ensure that plastics are designed for recovery, reuse, recycling and end-of-life management to prevent waste through various policy measures. We endeavor to increase the efficient use of resources while strengthening waste diversion systems and infrastructure to collect and process plastic materials and recapture the value of plastics in the economy, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing waste and litter from being released into the environment. We seek to stimulate innovation for sustainable solutions, technologies and alternatives across the lifecycle to enable consumers and businesses to change their behaviour. We will work to mobilize and support collaborative government, industry, academia, citizen and youth-led initiatives. We also recognize the need for action in line with previous G7 commitments and the 2030 Agenda, which sets a global framework for sustainable development.
We commit to take action toward a resource-efficient lifecycle management approach to plastics in the economy by:
- Sustainable design, production and after-use markets
- Working with industry towards 100% reusable, recyclable, or, where viable alternatives do not exist, recoverable, plastics by 2030.
- Taking into account the full environmental impacts of alternatives, significantly reducing the unnecessary use of single-use plastics.
- Using green public procurement to reduce waste and support secondary plastics markets and alternatives to plastic.
- Working with industry towards increasing recycled content by at least 50% in plastic products where applicable by 2030.
- Supporting secondary markets for plastics including using policy measures and developing international incentives, standards or requirements for product stewardship, design and recycled content.
- Working with industry towards reducing the use of plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetic and personal care consumer products, to the extent possible by 2020, and addressing other sources of microplastics.
- Collection, management and other systems and infrastructure
- Working with industry and other levels of government, to recycle and reuse at least 55% of plastic packaging by 2030 and recover 100% of all plastics by 2040.
- Increasing domestic capacity to manage plastics as a resource, prevent their leakage into the marine environment from all sources, and enable their collection, reuse, recycling, recovery and/or environmentally-sound disposal.
- Encouraging the application of a whole supply chain approach to plastic production toward greater responsibility and prevent unnecessary loss, including in pre-production plastic pellets.
- Accelerating international action and catalyzing investments to address marine litter in global hot spots and vulnerable areas through public-private funding and capacity development for waste and wastewater management infrastructure, innovative solutions and coastal clean-up.
- Working with relevant partners, in particular local governments, to advance efforts to reduce marine litter and plastics waste, notably but not exclusively in small island and remote communities, including through raising awareness.
- Sustainable lifestyles and education
- Strengthening measures, such as market-based instruments, to prevent plastics from entering the oceans, and strengthening standards for labelling to enable consumers to make sustainable decisions on plastics, including packaging.
- Supporting industry leadership initiatives and fostering knowledge exchange through existing alliances and other mechanisms.
- Promoting the leadership role of women and youth as promoters of sustainable consumption and production practices.
- Support platforms for information sharing to foster awareness and education efforts on preventing and reducing plastic waste generation, plastics pollution and eliminating marine litter.
- Research, innovation and new technologies
- Assessing current plastics consumption and undertaking prospective analysis on the level of plastic consumption by major sector use, while identifying and encouraging the elimination of unnecessary uses.
- Calling on G7 Ministers of Environment at their forthcoming meeting to advance new initiatives, such as a G7 Plastics Innovation Challenge, to promote research and development of new and more sustainable technologies, design or production methods by the private sector and innovators to address plastics waste in the oceans with a focus on all stages of the production and supply chain.
- Promoting the research, development and use of technologies to remove plastics and microplastics from waste water and sewage sludge.
- Guiding the development and appropriate use of new innovative plastic materials and alternatives to ensure they are not harmful to the environment.
- Harmonizing G7 science-based monitoring methodologies.
- Collaborating on research on the sources and fate of plastics and their impact on human and marine health.
- Coastal and shoreline action
- Encouraging campaigns on marine litter in G7 countries with youth and relevant partners to raise public awareness, collect data and remove debris from coasts and shorelines globally.
- Accelerating implementation of the 2015 G7 Leaders’ Action Plan to Combat Marine Litter through the Regional Seas Programs, initiatives led by RFMOs, where appropriate, and targeted investments for clean-up activities that prove to be environmentally sound in global hotspots and priority areas, in particular on Abandoned, Lost or Otherwise Discarded Fishing Gears (ALDFG) and wastes generated and collected by fishery activities.