BLUE PLANET The fight against plastic pollution and the protection of the high seas were at the heart of discussions in Brest

 One Ocean Summit in Brest: Thirty States promise to do more for the health of the oceans

Emmanuel Macron was present in Brest for this summit. — Ludovic Marin/AP/SIPA

Protect the high seas and fight against the invasion of plastic :  Brest, around Emmanuel Macron, to do more to protect the ocean, essential to climate regulating and rich in biodiversity, but updated; harmed by human activities. In 2022, several important international meetings will be held around the oceans. “Today’s mobilization has made it possible to materialize many commitments, new coalitions of private and public actors, of states,” the French president at the end of the summit.

Successive political leaders to Brest, present or on video, are committed to several issues, including progress towards global treaties for the protection of the high seas and against plastic pollution. Among those present, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen or the American envoy for the climate John Kerry, or the Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who will welcome at the end of June a UN summit on the oceans in Lisbon. Other leaders intervened by video messages.

Protection of the high seas and plastic agreement

“If we give ourselves the means, we can make historic decisions, and it has to start today,” Brest,” the French President, Emmanuel Macron. Main progress, Ursula von der Leyen announced from Brest the launch of a coalition comprising the 27 EU member states and 13 other countries to conclude a treaty; intended to protect the high seas, which are not under the jurisdiction of any state. Negotiations, ongoing under the aegis of the UN since 2018, have been interrupted by the Covid-19 epidemic. The fourth and theoretically last session of negotiations is scheduled for March at New York.

The United States announced for their part, support the launch of negotiations under the aegis of the UN for an international agreement against plastic pollution. The United States thus joins a dozen countries and the whole of the European Union. The launch of these negotiations will be considered. during the 5th United Nations Environment Assembly at the end of February, in order to achieve a an international agreement against pollution caused by the 8.3 billion tonnes of plastics produced since the 1950s. “We need an agreement that ensures the highest level of ambition possible” », claimed John Kerry.

“A blue washing operation” according to NGOs

The President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch, announced Friday the project of a “marine protected area of ​​more than 500,000 km2” and areas reserved for coastal fishing on an equivalent area. Other topics have been discussed. addressed, such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; greenhouse effect of the maritime sector, which is not concerned; by the Paris Climate Agreement. Or, as claimed; Emmanuel Macron, the abolition of public subsidies encouraging overfishing and illegal fishing, a subject under discussion at; the World Trade Organization.

For NGOs, France, the world's second largest maritime power, is nevertheless not at risk. the height to protect its seas and oceans. About 150 people gathered Friday morning at Brest to; the appeal of Greenpeace and the association Pleine mer to denounce “a blue washing operation”. Emmanuel Macron “announces that he is the champion of the oceans and who behind does nothing, even defends extremely destructive industrial activities,” François Chartier, from Greenpeace​ France. “Very little was said; overfishing, we haven’t talked about fundamental things, on effective and real protection of marine protected areas (…) side of the topic,” Lamya Essemlali, President of Sea Shepherd France.