Marine Agenda for Sustainable Development by Germany

New Position Paper: Implementation of the Global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in and by Germany

Following a participative and comprehensive process over several years, in September 2015 the United Nations (UN) adopted the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs must now be implemented in and by Germany. It is our opinion that in order to do so, fundamentally different approaches must be taken in areas of political action. Germany must accept its responsibility for sustainable development and implement the 2030 Agenda in accordance with its five principles (people, planet, prosperity, peace, partnership). „Leave no one behind“ needs to be the central guiding principle of activities. (German NGO Forum on Environment and Development)

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Here is the Excerpt for the SDG Goal 14

SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Effective measures must be taken to secure marine biodiversity, clean, healthy, productive seas and to achieve a good environmental standard in all marine habitats. The implementation of the Nagoya target to conserve 10 percent of the oceans by 2020 has to be part of this. Conservation areas and their management must be defined transparently on the basis of the requirements of nature conservation.

They have to have adequately financed and participatory management plans which respect the rights of the local population and involve them in defining conservation goals for specific areas. Maritime spatial planning as well as a sustainable use of marine resources must be performed coherently with the inclusion of all relevant policy areas and using procedures which contain environmental impact assessments, respect the precautionary principle and rule out negative effects on conservation areas and marine biodiversity.

Germany’s protected areas network Natura 2000 in the North Sea and Baltic Sea has to contribute to this. Nature-oriented protection of the Wadden Sea and the coastal landscape have to comply with the commitments to the Council Directive on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, the Birds Directive, as well as Germany’s international commitments concerning regional marine conventions. For this, it is key to achieve a good environmental status according to the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive by 2020 and to operationalize an effective national action plan in 2016.

As part of the European fishing industry, the world‘s largest market in international fish trade, Germany bears responsibility for fishery policy beyond its own waters and fishing fleets. Adherence to the limits for sustainable fishing above the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), the promotion of selective, environmentally compatible fishing methods to reduce by-catch and environmental destruction and the depletion of fishery capacities must be enforced. The amount of fish from illegal, non-registered and unregulated fishing on the German market must be reduced to zero and this status be maintained in following years – through international collaboration and a stringent monitoring network with sufficient technical and human resources in Germany.

Germany should make an ambitious commitment to the further development of international regulation for marine protection, especially also outside of those areas under national jurisdiction (high seas). A special implementing agreement pertaining to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which provides for adequate marine conservation areas must be passed to protect biodiversity in the high seas and the ecosystems of its water bodies. Furthermore, legislative measures to enforce more effective waste prevention and waste disposal practices, a ban on microplastics in cosmetics and a cessation of the addition of other sources of nanoparticles into nature, as well as the implementation of a comprehensive circular economy in Germany and corresponding support in development cooperation are needed.

Moreover, a comprehensive moratorium must be declared for deep sea mining so long as participation and human rights are not implemented, the scientific basis for informative and verifiable environmental compatibility inspections is not provided, a reduction of resource consumption has not been achieved and alternative concepts for demonstrably environmentally friendly raw material extraction have not been put in place. The German government is called upon to revise its current funding practice for maritime research and technology as well as its international cooperation plans and legislation for maritime mining, and to integrate them in a sustainable resource strategy which, given this background, rules out the extraction of deep sea raw materials until further notice.


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