HOPE conference discusses progress of MSFD
With the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), adopted in 2008, the EU wants to ensure the protection of the whole marine environment and the achievement of ‘Good Environmental Status’ for Europe’s seas by 2020. As this year Member States are halfway through the timetable of the Directive, the Commission recently held the HOPE (Healthy Oceans – Productive Ecosystems) conference to reflect on the main challenges and potential solutions to protect the planet’s marine ecosystems. It was opened by Commissioner Potočnik with 15 EU environment ministers and over 400 participants in attendance, including Member State representatives, industry, NGOs and academia. Following the conference, an output document entitled Declaration of HOPE was issued, calling for 11 concrete actions, including “the sustainable development of economic activities affecting the marine environment at sea and on land, with the private sector taking appropriate responsibility”. Blue growth was among the topics vividly debated during the event. While acknowledging the huge economic potential of our oceans, the Commissioner for marine affairs Maria Damanaki has warned against a “frenzied gold rush” in a recent speech and likewise called for a leap towards sustainability.