OUR OCEAN
COMMITMENTS

Over recent decades , our marine environments have undergone widespread deterioration. To turn this tide, the world must commit to sustainable action and invest in innovative solutions. Organised since 2014, the Our Ocean conferences are all about driving these commitments.

The 2017 edition of Our Ocean hosted by the European Union in Malta, generated an unprecedented level of ambition:

• 437 tangible and measurable commitments
• EUR 7.2 billion in financial pledges
• 2.5 million square kilometres of additional Marine Protected Areas

With 100 commitments from the corporate sector, the 2017 conference for the first time mobilised at scale the business community in ocean conservation. The EU's 36 commitments alone amounted to over EUR 550 million, and together with its Member States and the European Investment Bank, the total EU pledge exceeded EUR 2.8 billion. Other countries, NGOs, foundations, research institutes and international organisations tabled nearly 300 commitments in a truly global show of determination to act. Altogether, almost doubling the amount pledged since 2014, substantially increasing the world's marine protected areas and launching impactful action in all corners of our ocean.

The European Union announced that it will commit EUR 20 million to support the management of marine protected areas in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries through the programme BIOPAMA II (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme).

The European Union and Germany announced that they will support the establishment of a cross-sectoral and cross-boundary multi-stakeholder platform for regional ocean governance by 2020. This platform will be developed under the Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance (PROG), initiated in 2015 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (Institut du Développement Durable et des Relations Internationales - IDDRI) and the Think Tank for Sustainability (TMG). The development of the platform has been announced by Germany as a voluntary commitment on the occasion of the UN Ocean Conference for their implementation of SDG14 (5-9 June 2017). The PROG forum will provide new knowledge on integrated ocean governance at three different levels: (1) within regions; (2) between regions; and (3) between the regional level and the global level. Building on a collaborative process with international partners in 2018, the European Union and Germany will organise the first meeting in 2019.

The European Union announced that it will invest EUR 1.5 million to analyse ecosystems and economic activity on the mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Rio Grande Rise, in order to support the definition of a coherent set of Areas of Particular Environmental Interest.

The European Union announced its intention to support the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean in establishing a Fishing Restricted Area (FRA) of at least 2,700 square kilometres to protect demersal stocks in the habitat recognised as essential nursery and spawning ground for a number of marine species outside territorial waters of Italy and Croatia of the Jabuka/Pomo Pit area of the Adriatic Sea. The creation of the Jabuka/Pomo Pit FRA will be for decision at the annual session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) on 16-19 October 2017.

Argentina announced its Government presented a draft law for the creation of two new marine protected areas. These areas are Yaganes and the extension of Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank, which will increase the coastal area to 155,918 square kilometres and constitute the first step to achieve the protection of 10% of these areas.The draft law proposes the creation of the Estricta National Marine Reserve and the Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank National Marine Reserve; and the Estricta National Marine Reserve, the Marine National Park and the Yaganes National Marine Reserve. These areas are located in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Argentine Sea. Yaganes contributes 0.23% of the fishing effort at national level and will add more than 69,000 square kilometres to the coastal marine protection; while Burdwood represents 0.81% of the fishing activity with an area of more than 28,000 square kilometres.

Australia announced the building of a tool for the implementation of government policies by 2021 to guide and prioritise the Australian Government's activities to protect the environment. The Australian Government is committed to making ongoing improvements that enhance the currency and usability of this resource and will be exploring how it can make data available more frequently. Australia announced the release of the State of the Environment report as an interactive digital platform which enables decision-makers, researchers and the public to explore, compare, filter and download its findings in a variety of ways. This tool is an important resource for helping to guide and prioritise the Australian Government's activities to protect the environment, including the Marine environment. The Australian Government is committed to making ongoing improvements that enhance the usability of this resource and will be exploring how it can harness the value of making data available more frequently.

Bangladesh announced that the protection measures adopted in 2016 will be reinforced by committing further funds and ground equipment to protect and preserve the existing mangroves. Up to 5% additional mangrove trees will be replanted in the coastal belt. This will help restore the mangrove ecosystem, for instance by providing more breeding and spawning grounds for various species and help mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Cambodia announced the establishment of Marine Fisheries Management Areas which cover an area of 120 square kilometres in the Kep Province as well as its commitment to combat Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated fishing. Cambodia further reaffirmed its previous commitment to establish its first Marine Protected Area, which covers 405 square kilometres in the waters of the Koh Rong Archipelago.

Canada reaffirmed the identification in May 2017 of a portion of Canada's Offshore Pacific Bioregion as an area of interest (AOI) for possible future protection as an Oceans Act Marine Protected Area (MPA). The Offshore Pacific AOI is located in the southern portion of the Offshore Pacific Bioregion extending from the continental shelf break, west of Vancouver Island, to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) boundary with an area of approximately 140,000 square kilometres. The interim conservation objective of the Offshore Pacific AOI is to contribute to the protection and conservation of the unique seafloor features (i.e., seamounts and hydrothermal vents) and the ecosystems they support in Canada's Offshore Pacific Bioregion.

Canada reaffirmed designation of 26,600 square kilometres, an additional 0.46% of marine territory in Canada as other effective area based conservation measures in June 2017. These existing fisheries management measures in Canadian waters provide refuge to fish, mammals and their habitat. They have been found to meet the five criteria, which Canada has developed, that conservation measure must meet in order to contribute to Canada's marine conservation targets: the geographic location must be clearly defined; stock management or conservation objectives need to directly relate to an important species or habitat; the area must contain an important species and important habitat; the measures must be long term; and, the measures need to protect the important species and its habitat from both existing and foreseeable pressures.

Canada reaffirmed the designation in June 2017 of St. Anns Bank Oceans Act Marine Protected Area, which provides protection from the impacts of human activities, adding an additional 4,364 square kilometres of protection or 0.08% of Canada's oceans. Located to the east of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, St. Anns Bank contains ecologically and biologically significant features including unique habitats, areas of high biodiversity, and areas of high biological productivity.

Canada announced the Miramichi Bay Closure of September 2017, a fisheries area closure off New Brunswick that aims to protect adult Atlantic salmon and an important migration corridor for the species. This population of Atlantic salmon has been in decline and is listed as a species of special concern. The fisheries area closure covers approximately 1,553 square kilometres or 0.03% of Canada's ocean area. In order to allow Atlantic salmon to use the migration habitat as a way to return each year to the Miramichi River to spawn, the use of gillnets for all commercial groundfish fisheries is prohibited within the closure area.

Canada announced the introduction in June 2017 of regulations to finalize the Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area. The Laurentian Channel contains sensitive benthic habitats and is described as having one of the highest sea pen concentrations within the entire Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves Bioregion. The proposed Regulations would establish two management zones that provide varying levels of protection within the designated area, covering 11,619 square kilometres or 0.2% of Canadian waters.

Canada announced the September 2017 designation of the Western/Emerald Banks Conservation Area as a restricted fisheries zone off the coast of Nova Scotia. It is approximately 10,234 square kilometres, covering 0.18% of Canada's ocean area. The conservation objectives of this area are to support productivity objectives for groundfish species of Aboriginal, commercial, and/or recreational importance, particularly NAFO Division 4VW haddock, and manage the disturbance of benthic habitat that supports juvenile and adult haddock and other groundfish species.

Canada reaffirmed that in its 2017 budget, the Government of Canada has made a financial commitment of EUR 8,175,916 (CAD 12 million) over four years to protect the Last Ice Area, the only Arctic region expected to retain summer sea ice until 2050. As the last permanent ice-covered region in the Arctic, the area will be essential to ice-dependent species such as polar bears, beluga, narwhal, seals, walrus and the Inuit communities that depend on them for food. In partnership with Inuit, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work together with all partners including the Parks Canada Agency and other federal departments, other governments, management organizations, northern communities, and scientists

Canada reaffirmed that it will be hosting an international technical expert workshop on marine other effective area-based conservation measures, February 6-9, 2018 in Montreal, and provide funding of EUR 110,605 (USD 130,000). This technical expert workshop will consolidate scientific and technical information on approaches for assessing the contribution and effectiveness of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, as well as provide scientific and technical advice on the definition and identification of other effective area-based conservation measures for marine and coastal areas. This advice will then be used by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat to inform the development of voluntary guidance on other measures.

Canada reaffirmed that it will host a pan-Arctic MPA science workshop in the autumn of 2018, which is intended to convene MPA managers, Indigenous peoples, community representatives, and other MPA partners to share experiences in planning and developing Arctic MPA networks, including the role that Indigenous people may play in developing and managing protected areas and other measures. The Arctic Council's Framework for a Pan-Arctic Network of Marine Protected Areas sets out the vision for an ecologically connected, representative and effectively-managed network of protected and specially managed areas. Further technical work and coordination at the pan-Arctic level is needed to advance this vision. As a step towards contributing to the Aichi target of 10% marine protected areas, this is one of a series of MPA science workshops being organized by the project co-leads, during 2017-2018.

Canada reaffirmed the establishment of the Coastal Restoration Fund to address historically degraded areas and will support projects that contribute to coastal restoration plans; support the identification of restoration priorities; and threats to marine species located on Canadas coasts. The Government of Canada will make EUR 51,099,473 (CAD 75 million) available from 2017-2022 for eligible projects.

Canada announced it has recommended boundaries for the Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area. The Scott Islands make up one of the most productive and biologically diverse marine ecosystems, particularly for seabirds, on the Canadian Pacific Coast. The Scott Islands support the highest concentration of breeding seabirds in the Canadian Pacific, and are the site of the most intensive seabird research in Canada. The Scott Islands NWA encompasses approximately 11,546 square kilometres of an exclusively marine area that does not include the terrestrial portions of the Scott Islands, which are provincial protected areas.

Canada will continue to advance cooperation under the Canada-EU-United States Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and further the successful implementation of the Galway Statement. Canada will continue to support the coordination and collection of data on the seabed through the hiring of a research vessel coordinator to identify trilateral at-sea opportunities for improved collaboration on vessels, and the North Atlantic trilateral survey transects such as those undertaken on board the CCG Louis St. Laurent (July 2015 and July 2016). We remain committed to our contributions to important trilateral science consortiums such as those associated with the Atlas and SponGES projects.

Chile announced the creation of three new Marine Protected Areas - Juan Fernandez Archipelago, "Seno Almirantazgo" (Tierra del Fuego) and Cabo de Hornos and Diego Ramirez Archipelagos - which will add 620,152 square kilometres to the existing MPAs. With these three new areas almost 46 percent of Chile EEZ will be under protection.

Chile reaffirmed that by December 2017 the proposal for a National Ocean Policy will be presented to the President. This National Ocean Policy aims to ensure effective coordination among public institutions responsible for all the actions that take place in the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean.

China announced that by 2020 it will implement the "Blue Bay" renovation project in at least 66 bays and adjacent areas, approximately 70% of the coastal water quality meets the excellent or good Grade (I or II Grade) for Chinese National Sea Water Quality Standard.

China announced that it will further strengthen the conservation of the natural coastline, in order to ensuring that the mainland natural shoreline remains at least 35 percent.

Colombia announced the expansion of the fauna and flora Sanctuary of Malpelo by 17,090 square kilometres, increasing its extension from 9,500 to 26,670 square kilometres. With this decision, Colombia is protecting marine ecosystems with high influx of sharks, marine mammals and diversity of fish, whilst conserving the ecosystems associated with the ridges of Malpelo and Yurupari. With the recently declared marine protected areas in the Pacific, Colombia is exceeding the Aichi Target of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the national target for hectares of protected ecosystems, as embedded in the National Development Plan.

The Cook Islands announced the achievement of their 2014 commitment that was to legally designate a multiple-use marine park over their entire Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.9 million square kilometres including exclusion zones where no large scale commercial fishing or seabed minerals activities will be permitted. With the passing of the Marae Moana Act 2017 there are now 15 exclusion zones encircling each of the 15 islands of the Cook Islands to a distance of 50 nautical miles from shore. The total area of the exclusion zones is 324,000 square kilometres.

Costa Rica announced that on June 8 a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Tropical Eastern Pacific Marine Corridor (CMAR, a regional voluntary initiative by the governments of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama) and PACIFICO (a coordination platform made up of four environmental funds). This strategic alliance seeks to mobilize and implement resources in common geographic areas in the Tropical Eastern Central Pacific in order to help consolidate the integrated management of ecosystems, biodiversity and marine and coastal resources through their conservation and sustainable use. To achieve this, the agreement already has a Five-Year Work Plan (2017-2022) and its first Annual Plan.

Croatia announced the expansion of Jabuka/Pomo Pit Marine Protected Area, the habitat recognised as essential nursery and spawning ground for a number of marine species. With this enlargement, MPAs cover more than 11 per cent of marine waters under national jurisdiction.

Croatia announced that by the end of 2018 it will set up a national monitoring system, including monitoring of marine species and habitats, to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of species and Natura 2000 sites management and will allocate EUR 10 million over five year period.

Croatia announced its commitment by 2020 to determine the most appropriate conservation areas for marine turtles and dolphins and in that regard has started research in 2017.

Croatia announced that during the next 5 years it will implement a management regime of marine resources, which will include spatial and temporal regulations within the inner and territorial waters over the area of no less than 20 percent of its territorial and inner waters.

Croatia announced EUR 24 million over the five years to establish effective management framework for Natura 2000 network, including the preparation of management plans for at least 90 Natura 2000 marine sites. Croatia also announced the implementation of a five-year national capacity building program, starting in 2017, to train Natura 2000/protected area managers, including managers of marine protected areas.

Croatia announced EUR 13 million over five years for the preparation of detailed marine habitats mapping for waters under national jurisdiction, as the scientific basis for the determination of new marine protected areas in the Adriatic.

France reaffirmed the second expansion of the marine reserve in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands in the Indian Ocean by 1 million square kilometres by 2022, which already includes a buffer zone. This will enable France to reach a total of 32% of French waters classified as Marine Protected Areas by 2022. France also reaffirmed that it will proceed with all stakeholders to manage 22% of its MPAs already established.

France announced it has proposed with the EU and its Member States and Australia the establishment of an East Antarctic Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Southern Ocean. The proposal will be discussed at the next meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) which will take place on 16-27 October 2017 in Hobart, Australia.

France announced it will submit to the Conference of the Parties to the Barcelona convention the proposal to recognize the Parc National des Calanques as a Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance (ASPIM).

France announced its commitment to protect 550 square kilometres of mangroves in its overseas territories by 2020.

France reaffirmed its commitment of EUR 1,000,000 per year to support the French Initiative for Coral Reefs (IFRECOR) in line with its 2016 commitment of protecting 75 percent of its coral reefs by 2021. France also reaffirmed as the chair of the secretariat of the International Initiative for Coral Reefs (ICRI) its commitment of EUR 500,000 to support the implementation of the ICRI action plan.

France announced its commitment of EUR 400,000 to support the "ACCOBAMS Survey initiative", aiming at establishing an integrated and coordinated monitoring system for cetaceans throughout the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area. The final goal is to improve the conservation status of these species and their habitats through appropriate management, fostering a good status of the marine and coastal environments.

Germany announced to reinforce its continuous support for the EBSA process by dedicating EUR 100,000 to promote the designation of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) within and beyond national jurisdiction under the Convention for Biological Biodiversity (CBD). By the end of 2017, Germany will organize an international workshop to advance the description of new areas, and for strengthening the scientific credibility and transparency of the EBSA process.

Germany announced the launch of the STRONG High Seas Project this year. Through the support by Germany and contributions from partners, the project will receive EUR 3.9 million over the next 5 years to strengthen regional ocean governance for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) will lead the project and together with the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), BirdLife International, the International Ocean Institute (IOI) -Southern Africa, the Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN), WWF Colombia, and WWF Germany identify best practices and provide support to regional institutions and national authorities. Working with the Secretariats of the Comisión Permanente del Pacífico Sur (CPPS) and the Abidjan Convention, and others it will develop and propose measures to support integrated and ecosystem-based ocean governance in the Southeast Pacific and Southeast Atlantic.

Ghana announced its commitment to complete the assessment of ecologically sensitive areas along the Ghanaian coast and the designation of Ghana's first marine protected area by 2025, to safeguard coastal and marine biodiversity.

Greece reaffirmed its commitment to expand the marine protected areas in its territorial waters from the current 6 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020. With this regard, Greece has already completed an evaluation of 183 areas as prospective additions to the national part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas. 95 of these areas have already been selected for inclusion, either as expansions of existing protected areas or as outright new additions to the network, the vast majority of them being marine or coastal areas. This process aims to preserve important habitats, such as the Posidonia oceanica underwater meadows, as well as important species of birds.

Iceland reaffirmed its commitment to launch a ground-breaking 13-year effort to map the remaining 88% of its Icelandic Economic Exclusive Zone. Two high-tech platforms will be used for the work that will be operating beyond 200 meters using an ultramodern multibeam echosounder technique. The estimated cost of the project is around EUR 26 million (USD 31 million). All data that is made available from the project will be available for use free of charge for non-profit use.

Indonesia announced that it will establish 200,000 square kilometres of conservation areas by 2018 - two years earlier than intended and covering 6.5% of Indonesian waters. Once completed and building on its previous milestone of achieving 100,000 square kilometres in 2009, Indonesia has managed to triple the size of its conservation areas in 12 years - coming from 69.500 square kilometres in 2006.

Indonesia announced it will restore the 18,882 square metres damaged coral reefs in the Dampier Strait off Raja Ampat (West Papua, Indonesia).

Ireland announced that, in cooperation with the International Eco Schools programme, it will roll out a ground-breaking Global Citizenship: Marine Environment education module for school children from September 2017 onwards. The programme will increase ocean literacy by fostering understanding of the important role the oceans play in our lives, how individual actions can affect them and how we can act together to protect them.

Ireland announced a contribution of EUR 50,000 to the three United Nations trust funds in 2017. The contribution will go to the United Nations trust fund created to assist developing states engage with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, to the trust fund to assist them in participating in the work of the UN Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the marine environment and to the fund to assist developing states participate in the work of the UN Preparatory Committee on a new legal instrument for the conservation and sustainable development of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Since 2003 Ireland has contributed more than EUR 800,000 to these trust funds.

Malta announced it would commemorate the pioneering role of the country in the creation of the UN Convention on the International Law of the Sea. The process within the United Nations General Assembly started in 1967 with the well-known speech of the Maltese Ambassador Dr Arvid Pardo. Celebrations will include a national symposium dedicated to the initiative by Dr Pardo in 2017, a side event at the UN on ocean governance in 2018 and annual lectures and promotional material (including dissemination of clips and documentaries shown on TV on a yearly basis) to underscore the relevance of his work and competitions on the Law of the Sea aimed at children.

Malta announced to designate 30% of its waters as Marine Protected Areas in 2018 to ensure protection of caves and reefs. As part of this objective, Malta announced it would develop management plans by 2020 for the fourteen marine protected area sites it designated in 2016 comprising roughly 3,487 square kilometres, covering an area significantly larger than the country itself.

Mexico announces the establishment of Revillagigedo National Park of 140,000 square kilometres, protecting the islands and surrounding waters, with a total ban of fishing activities in the area.

Montenegro announced the establishment of a network of marine protected areas with the aim to preserve and, where necessary, regenerate values of marine biodiversity. The procedures for establishing marine nature protected areas should be finalised on at least three locations (e.g. Katič, Platamuni, Ratac) by 2020.

Niue announced that over the next three years 40 per cent of its Exclusive Economic Zone, equal to 127,000 square kilometres, will be declared as a large scale marine protected area. The area will include an offshore biodiverse rich Beveridge Reef (with the highest density of grey reef sharks in the world), a raft of resource rich deep ocean seamounts and the adjacent Territorial seas of Niue. This MPA will be established through the Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) project, a public-private partnership between the Government of Niue (GON) and Tofia Niue (a local non-profit organization) and key collaborating partners including Oceans 5, National Geographic Pristine Seas, and Niue Ridge to Reef project.

Palau announced that it has met its 2020 goal of the Micronesia Challenge through the protection of 30% near shore marine resources.

Palau announced the creation of a Palau National Marine Sanctuary with the aim of working towards closing 80% of its EEZ to commercial fishing by 2020, making it a no-take. The remaining 20% is reserved for the fishing needs of the local population and tourism industry.

The Philippines announced the designation of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) with an Area to be Avoided which was adopted by the IMO on 7 July 2017 in order to enhance conservation and protection measures of this UNESCO Heritage Site. Moreover, the Philippines commits to enhance by 2028 the protection of the MPAs by increasing by 20% the coverage of MPAs or sanctuaries as compared to 2015 and establishing at least 100 MPA networks. Finally, the Philippines commits to achieve as soon as possible the ratification of the IMO Conventions on Anti-Fouling Systems and Ballast Water Management.

Portugal announced it will develop new regulations by 2020 addressing the introduction of marine non-indigenous species to ensure the effective implementation of the Ballast Water Convention.

Portugal announced it will finance EUR 3 million by 2020 to support the upgrade of National Information and Communication Technology Systems on Ocean Environment Management Protection and Economic Activities.

By 2018, Portugal reaffirmed its commitment to create an evaluation and monitoring system of the Blue Fund that is aligned with the SDG 14 targets.

Portugal reaffirmed its commitment for the conservation of at least 14% of coastal and marine areas under national jurisdiction by 2020.

Portugal announced the allocation of EUR 2 million by 2020 to promote and increase the public investment on projects focused on marine biodiversity conservation.

By 2020, Portugal reaffirmed its commitment to promote and support the launch of a marine and maritime research and innovation network, through the establishment of a Port Tech Cluster in Lisbon and the Atlantic Observatory in the Azores, with a focus on both North and South Atlantic (a total investment of EUR 30 million).

Romania reaffirmed its commitment to prepare a national plan to enhance institutional capacities and cooperation with maritime sectors in order to achieve good environmental status in the Black Sea marine region by 2020, notably the protection and preservation of the marine ecosystem.

Sweden announced the allocation of EUR 6 million (SEK 60 million) in 2017 to address to increase the efforts to establish an ecologically representative, well connected and effectively managed network of MPAs in Swedish waters. The commitment also includes efforts to reduce the bycatch of ghost gear.

Spain announced a creation of new Marine Protected Area "Cetacean migration corridor of the Mediterranean" of 46,000 square kilometres (almost 5% of Spanish waters) in the Mediterranean Sea between the coasts of Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. This MPA will be recognized under the Barcelona Convention. With this new MPA 13% of Spain's marine waters will be under protection.

Spain expressed its will to work on the expansion of the current maritime-terrestrial National Park of the archipelago of Cabrera and the establishment of the first exclusively marine national park in the Hierro Island, Canary Islands, with the consensus of regional and local authorities, and all sectors involved.

Thailand announced that it will establish 14,300 square kilometres of marine protected area (4.4 per cent of its EEZ) by 2020 as part of the implementation of its 5 years action plan on area-based management and conservation measures. The proposed areas include 4 national marine parks (ca. 450 square kilometres), 3 environmental protection areas (570 square kilometres), and many marine and coastal protection areas, i.e. 25 island-groups (6,600 square kilometres) and one large offshore shelf zone (6,700 square kilometres). Thailand also announced its commitment to protect 10 percent of its coastal and marine protected areas by 2030.

The United Kingdom announced EUR 5.88 million (GBP 5.2 million) for marine projects through the Darwin Initiative and Darwin Plus competitive grant schemes in 2017. Through these initiatives, the UK funds environment and biodiversity projects in developing countries and the UK Overseas Territories. These competitive grant schemes aim to build local capacity to manage biodiversity and the natural environment for the future, securing the benefits of these natural resources for people. A key priority for Darwin Plus is to help deliver a Blue Belt of marine protection around the Overseas Territories. This includes developing integrated marine management plans and promoting sustainable fisheries. Enhancing the extent and management of protected areas in the marine environment is also a priority for the Darwin Initiative.

The United States announced the designation of the He'eia National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is now protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education, and coastal stewardship. This 1,385-acre reserve contains historic and cultural resources and encompasses upland forests and grasslands, wetlands, reefs, and seagrass beds, as well as the largest sheltered body of water in the Hawaiian Island chain. Established in January 2017, it is the only reserve among the 29 sites in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System that is located in the Hawaiian Islands.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) reaffirmed its global programme to enhance global cooperation on ocean literacy. With the support of Sweden, the IOC-UNESCO programme, will dedicate EUR 211,975 (USD 250,000) by the end of 2018 to develop an ocean school programme to foster ocean literacy among youth ages 10-18, an online platform to share resources, projects and people on ocean literacy for sustainable development and a comprehensive ocean literacy training programme for business, policy, and education sectors. Moreover, an international forum on ocean literacy, with 100 international experts will be held in December 2017. The project will be based on two main pillars: (i) Encourage cooperation and exchange on ocean education to improve ocean literacy globally and (ii) Seek and apply innovative ways to make citizens ocean literate.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) and its partners reaffirmed the launch of the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable development in January 2018. This ten-year cooperative programme will support effective ocean management, stewardship and sustainable development, by: (i) Stimulating a global partnership on the marine science requirements needed to support implementation of Agenda 2030; with regionally driven focuses; (ii) Improving the understanding of the impacts of cumulative stressors and seeking sustainable solutions for sustaining benefits from the ocean; (iii) Sharing knowledge and enhancing interdisciplinary marine research capacities particularly for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries. IOC/UNESCO is dedicating EUR 635,927 (USD 750,000) in 2017-2018 to prepare an implementation plan in consultation with Member States, UN and non-UN partners, as well as with the scientific community and relevant stakeholders.

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco announced a commitment of EUR 250,000 to the "Mediterranean MPA Trust Fund" and EUR 200,000 to the "Beyond Plastic Med Initiative" (BeMed) in 2018.

MedReAct, in collaboration with Stanford University, Marche's POLYTECHNIC University, Legambiente and Marevivo, announced the allocation of EUR 366.000 to launch the Adriatic Recovery Project. Running from 2017 to 2020, the initiative will help restoring essential fish habitats in the Adriatic Sea, by promoting through the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean the establishment of Fisheries Restricted Areas closed to bottom trawling to protected key nurseries, spawning grounds and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the region.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced EUR 836,000 (USD 1 million) annually for the next five years on its NY Seascape initiative to promote conservation of the marine waters surrounding New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the Mid-Atlantic, and to develop an urban marine conservation ethic for New York City and beyond. In addition, WCS announced it will incorporate an interactive exhibit to educate and engage visitors on the impacts of plastics in the ocean and undertake personal commitments to reduce single use plastic use, as an integral component of the new Ocean Wonders exhibit to open at the NY Aquarium during the summer of 2018. This will be combined with a digital campaign to promote public policies in New York City to reduce single use plastics.

The Leibniz-Centre of Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) reaffirmed its commitment to bring together scientists from 26 EU Member States to create and coordinate a research network for transdisciplinary research on ocean governance in the EU with the support of a grant of EUR 600,000 from the European COST programme. The network will identify ocean governance challenges in close cooperation with actors and stakeholders and provide integrated advice on governance tools and mechanisms to improve ocean related decision-making focusing on (a) land-sea interactions; (b) area-based management; (c) seabed resources; (d) nutrition security; (e) ocean acidification and climate change; and (f) fisheries governance.

The Nekton Oxford Deep Ocean Research Institute, supported by Kensington Tours, announced a major global scientific collaboration from 2018 to 2021 that aims to create a step change in the knowledge of the Indian Ocean and catalyse its sustainable governance. The Mission consists of six research cruises in six distinct bioregions of the Indian Ocean from West (Mozambique Channel and Seychelles), to Central (Chagos and Maldives) and East (Andaman and Sumatra). The Mission will conclude with a State of the Indian Ocean Summit in November 2021. The Mission combines four major activities linked to clear measurable outcomes to deliver the greatest coordinated impact to accelerate the sustainable governance of the Indian Ocean: Scientific Research, Capacity Development Initiatives, Policy initiatives and Public Engagement and ocean literacy. The Mission will entail EUR 34 million (USD 40 million).

The Nekton Oxford Deep Ocean Research Institute announced a new framework for standardised multi-disciplinary marine research in conjunction with a dozen world leading marine scientists. From ocean physics to chemistry, from pelagic and benthic biology to geophysics, the new framework harnesses all major marine research technologies to support scientists to gather, analyse and publish comparable ocean data at scale and at speed. The Protocol aims to increase scientific productivity and the provision of actionable data that is required to catalyse ocean governance.

Biotherm, through its partnership with Mission Blue, announced up to EUR 300,000 to support a worldwide network of marine protected areas over the next 3 years. Biotherm, through its partnership with Mission Blue, announced EUR 300,000 to support a worldwide network of marine protected areas over the next 3 years.

The Sea Ranger Foundation, in cooperation with several business and NGOs, announced the establishment of the world's first maritime ranger service by July 2018. The Sea Ranger Service is a social enterprise in which navy veterans will train unemployed youth as Sea Rangers to assist North Sea and Mediterranean countries in the management of their Marine Protected Areas through fisheries research, pollution monitoring and environmental regeneration work. It will use sailing vessels instead of motor ships. From 2018, 17 navy veterans will train more than 300 youth in a two year pilot in the North Sea. The initiative was established in 2016 and has raised already over 1 million euro in investments, with more than 40 businesses involved as partners. The first Sea Ranger ship is currently nearing the final stages of construction and another four Sea Ranger ships will be built by 2022.

Saildrone announced that by 2022 it will build a global ocean monitoring network consisting of 1,000 wind and solar powered saildrones providing planetary coverage at a 6x6 degree resolution, endeavouring to significantly reduce the cost of ocean data collection to improve management of sustainable fisheries, carbon cycle, marine pollution and climate change impacts on humanity. To further encourage scientific innovation, every year starting in 2018, Saildrone will award 30 days of saildrone-powered data, equivalent to approximately EUR 842,000 (USD 1 million) of research ship time, to the most impactful research project submitted.

The MAVA Foundation announced a EUR 70 million commitment over the next 5 years to the conservation of marine biodiversity mainly in the Mediterranean Basin and in West Africa for the benefit of people and nature. More specifically, MAVA Foundation will provide EUR 8 million to reduce environmental impacts of plastic pollution and oil and gas activities; EUR 5 million to stimulate a blue economy focusing on coastal infrastructure development; EUR 30 million to support sustainable fisheries for the benefit of local livelihoods and biodiversity; and EUR 27 million to promote MPAs as a tool for protecting marine species, habitats and fish resources.

The Austrian non-profit organization MARE Mundi, along with Dive Together Crete and partners, announced EUR 96,780 for the establishment of a marine field station in Plakias to promote the establishment of a marine protected area in the surrounding coastline by 2021. The station works together with the regional government and local inhabitants around three pillars: education, research and protection.

National Geographic's Pristine Seas Project and Vulcan Inc. - the organization led by philanthropist and Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen - announced a marine protected areas enforcement partnership. The first of at least three implementation projects is in collaboration with the Government of Gabon and will focus on combating illegal fishing in their marine protected area network. This partnership leverages Vulcan's emerging illegal fishing intelligence and research service, SkyLight; Gabon's national enforcement capacities; and National Geographic's scientific exploration and story-telling expertise. The project will run for an initial twelve months.

The Oceano Azul Foundation and the Waitt Foundation reaffirmed their commitment to invest at least EUR 1 million in the next three years to help create and implement a network of effectively managed marine protected areas in the Azores archipelago. The project, named Blue Azores, is a partnership between the two foundations, the Portuguese government, regional administrations and different stakeholders and is to include evaluating the economic value of ecosystem services, organising scientific workshops, media and science expeditions, literacy and awareness campaigns and sustainable fisheries actions. The Azores include some of the most important marine habitats in the Atlantic Ocean, including coastal island habitats, the deep sea, seamounts, hydrothermal vents and the open ocean. The islands attract marine megafauna such as whales, dolphins, sharks, mantas, billfishes and tunas, and a hotspot for marine biodiversity.

Aker BioMarine announced EUR 830,000 (USD 1 million) over the next five years to the Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund to further its work on promoting and facilitating research on the Antarctic ecosystem.

Sociedade Francisco Manuel dos Santos, the holding company of an international retail and agro-foods group, announced EUR 41 million over the next eight years to support ocean conservation and ocean literacy, with a primary geographical focus in Portugal, the Atlantic Ocean, Portuguese speaking countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This initiative is part of a ten-year commitment for a total amount of EUR 81 million, including a new philanthropic foundation set up in 2015. The Oceano Azul Foundation is dedicated exclusively to ocean sustainability and funding for a 30-year concession of the Oceanário de Lisboa. Its mission and its yearly profits will be dedicated to ocean conservation and education. Ocean Azul has launched a mass market campaign with TV adds raising awareness on plastic litter polluting the oceans. Since 2016, the Foundation is sponsoring a center for recovery of wounded marine species in the coast of Portugal with an annual grant of EUR 100,000.

The European Union announced that it will commit EUR 1.5 million to reducing black carbon emissions in the Arctic. The project is intended to reinforce international cooperation to protect the Arctic environment.

The European Union announced that it will contribute EUR 600,000 over the next two years to an integrated Arctic project focusing on the three priority areas of EU Arctic policy: Climate Change and Safeguarding the Arctic Environment; Sustainable Development in and around the Arctic; and International Cooperation on Arctic Issues.

The European Union announced a EUR 10 million project with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) concerning climate change mitigation in the maritime shipping sector. The project aims to establish five Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs), one in each of the target regions - Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific - thereby forming a global network. The network's task is to enable developing countries in these regions to develop energy-efficiency measures in maritime transport.

Austria announced EUR 600,000 for the launch of the first operational phase of the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE). The objective is to improve access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services, energy security and mitigation of negative externalities of the energy system (e.g. local pollution and GHG emission) by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency investments, market and industries in 22 Pacific Island States and Territories. Its work will be integrated in the Framework of Action on Energy Security for the Pacific (FAESP) of the Pacific Community (SPC).

Australia announced a series of initiatives within the International Partnership for Blue Carbon, including a workshop in the Philippines in August 2017 helping the Coral Triangle countries (Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, PNG) identify needs and opportunities to develop tools supporting knowledge sharing. In addition, Australia is hosting visiting fellows from IORA countries (Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles) in November 2017 and supporting a proposed IORA summit in 2018.

Australia announced EUR 24.7 million (USD 29 million) to the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac), supporting Pacific Island countries to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate variability. COSPPac is successfully building capacity in Pacific Island countries National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and relevant Lands and Survey Departments to develop and disseminate user-focused products and services that assist governments and communities to better prepare for severe climate events. The program has ensured that the Pacific regional partners are equipped for the transition and end of the current phase of COSPPac in June 2018.

Australia announced EUR 300,000 (AUD 447,000) for a series of events to foster greater blue carbon awareness and cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. As a first step, Australia will hold a symposium in 2018 to develop a common understanding of blue carbon and a framework for future priorities in the Indian Ocean region.

France reaffirmed its commitment of EUR 800,000 to support eight research projects to advance scientific understanding of ocean acidification, and its impacts on marine biodiversity (coral reefs, phytoplankton etc.).

France announced an impact study of EUR 250,000 to consider establishing a low pollution emission area (Nitrogen Emission Control Area / Sulphur Emission Control Area) by ships in the Mediterranean.

France announced in accordance with the Paris agreement objectives on climate change that it will ban the production of hydrocarbon on its territory by 2040's.

France announced a EUR 1.5 million commitment to protect and restore marine and coastal ecosystems in the Northern Mozambique Channel. France also committed EUR 1.2 million to a marine restoration project in Costa Rica.

Iceland reaffirmed its commitment to update of its climate mitigation strategy by the end of 2017, aimed at ensuring that the country can meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement up until 2030. Iceland will reduce emissions from transport and fisheries by using low-carbon fuels and electricity and other means; green taxes and incentives; reduced waste and better waste handling; carbon capture; and increased carbon uptake by restoring forests, vegetation and wetlands.

Indonesia announced the establishment of a national blue carbon program to support the establishment of the scientific, institutional and community engagement foundation necessary for Indonesia to benefit from future Blue Carbon finance opportunities, as well as alternative livelihood for coastal communities in its coastal mangrove and sea grass ecosystems. It will include the establishment of a Regional-International Center on Blue Carbon, expanding science-policy program, conservation and management, assessment of Blue Carbon value, mangrove & seagrass ecosystem restoration, capacity building in sustainable fisheries, tourism and alternative livelihoods.

Indonesia announced EUR 8.5 million to enhance the Indonesia Tsunami Early Warning System (InaTEWS) to provide inter alia meteorology, climatology, and geophysics service including public information, and early warning services.

Indonesia announced an EUR 850,000 commitment to conduct, in collaboration with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), a project on Strengthening Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment and Early Warning Systems with Applications of Space and Geographic Information Systems in Pacific Island Countries

Indonesia announced a commitment of EUR 850,000 to support a course programme to assist countries in the region in the area of disaster management. It will focus on enhancing the contribution and capability from charting in order to produce coastal and bathymetry mapping support for disaster assessment, disaster relief mapping and management, by its charting naval agency and hydrographic office in the region and other Archipelagic countries.

Japan announced the allocation of a EUR 81.4 million (USD 90 million) concessional loan to Indonesia to rehabilitate its coastal area. This area is seriously affected by coastal erosion, seawall collapse and coastline recession.

Japan announced its commitment to support the space-based observation networks by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) program by launching the geostationary meteorological satellites and adopted the budget of EUR 28 million (USD 32.9 million) for Fiscal Year 2017 to operate Japan Meteorological Agency's Geostationary Meteorological Satellites "Himawari-8" and "Himawari-9". These satellites will provide, for a long term, stable meteorological observation information to more than 2 billion people to ensure their security and safety and lead to the improvement of meteorological services in the fields such as climate monitoring, natural disaster prevention/risk reduction and safe maritime transportation in the East Asia and Western Pacific region until 2029.

Korea reaffirmed its commitment to invest EUR 4.5 million (USD 5.3 million) between 2017 and 2021 to support the establishment and operation of a Marine Acidification Monitoring system -a network to monitor acidification in coastal areas of Small Islands Developing States in the Pacific-. Korea will offer training on the operation of the acidification monitoring system to officials from Palau and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP).

Mauritius announced the setting up of 20 nurseries for the major rehabilitation of the corals, on the top of the five already set up. The work is expected to start in 2018 and end by 2022.

New Zealand announced that it has joined the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification.

Sweden announced the allocation of EUR 15.6 million (SEK 150 million) for at least the next three years for the "Eco Bonus" initiative, to support a less harmful shipping with the aim of shifting freight from land to sea.

The United Kingdom announced EUR 11.4 million (GBP 10.1 million) between 2016 and 2023 to design and introduce a model of sustainable development for mangrove habitats. The project will focus on blue carbon sequestration and forestry management, fisheries management and improvement, mangrove livelihood diversification, community health and women's empowerment.

The United States announced that, for 2017, it has allocated EUR 363,000 (USD 433,875) through the International Atomic Energy Agency's Peaceful Uses Initiative to the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center (OA-ICC) located at the Environment Laboratories in Monaco. Since 2010, the United States has allocated a total of more than EUR 2 million (USD 2.3 million) to the OA-ICC.

The United States announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will expand the Pier2Peer scientific mentorship program from the current 49 active pairs of scientists to 60 pairs by the 2018 Our Ocean conference, with a special emphasis on the Pacific Island nations. NOAA launched Pier2Peer in April 2016 as part of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON). The program pairs early-career researchers with experienced scientists, creating international networking and collaboration opportunities and increasing global scientific capacity.

The United States announced an Arctic Observing Network (US AON) initiative that will establish and support tasks to link existing U.S. agency contributions towards better integrated pan-Arctic observing networks in marine and terrestrial environments. Better integrated observing networks will enable access to high quality data, expertise, and information in support of scientific understanding, stakeholder needs, and agency missions such as commerce, security, and sustainable marine ecosystems. This initiative directly supports the international Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) process, which aims to support and strengthen the development of multinational engagement for sustained and coordinated pan-Arctic observing and data sharing systems.

The BNP Paribas Foundation announced to support, with a donation of EUR 1.5 million, two research projects to enhance scientific knowledge on climate change impact on two major ecosystems: coral reefs and polar systems. For polar systems, the Foundation will support a consortium of 13 research teams from six countries to carry out the SENSEI project (SENtinels of the SEa Ice) that is to collect data on marine top predators as indicators of the sea ice ecosystem. For coral reefs, an international research team will carry out an exhaustive assessment of the role of each coral reef fish species in the different ecosystem services in the French Polynesian islands between 2017 and 2019. Moreover, by drawing on observations accumulated over more than thirty years in the Pacific, the team is to more accurately predict the consequences of current global warming on coral reefs.

Carnival Corporation & plc announced the order of seven new LNG cruise ships to be delivered between 2018 and 2022. These new vessels will be part of the first generation of cruise ships to be fully powered by LNG both in port and on the open sea.

The Clean Arctic Alliance, along with the European Climate Foundation, Eyak Preservation Council and the expedition cruise ship operator Hurtigruten announced their commitment to further develop the Arctic Commitment multistakeholder collaboration for a heavy fuel oil (HFO) free Arctic. The initiative will increase the groundswell of support for a ban on the use and carriage of HFO fuel in the Arctic. The aim is to expand the "Arctic Commitment" to over one hundred leading Arctic voices, including industry, environmental NGOs and indigenous communities; profile innovative technologies demonstrating that abandoning the use of HFO in the Arctic is feasible; profile innovative industry sector leaders using alternatives to HFO in the Arctic; launch new communications pieces on alternatives to HFO; and prepare an Arctic Commitment Report highlighting signatories, and "words of wisdom" from a selection of Arctic voices. The initiative will conclude towards the end of 2018.

Conservation International (CI) and Bechtel Corporation announced a new partnership to implement integrated "green-grey" infrastructure solutions for the most climate vulnerable communities across the developing world. Bringing together CI's 30 years of conservation expertise with Bechtel, one of the most respected global engineering, construction, and project management companies, the partners will combine the power of natural ecosystems to deliver coastal protection, flood control, erosion and other critical services, with the surety of low impact traditional engineering infrastructure. Starting in the highly vulnerable Visayas region of the central Philippines, by 2018 the program will design "green-grey" solutions that simultaneously provide coastal protection from typhoons, sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities, and critical habitat for marine life in one of the most biodiverse regions of our ocean. The combination of 'green' nature-based solutions with 'grey' infrastructure will deliver solutions which maximise economic efficiency, minimise costs, and help vulnerable communities.

Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Wildlife Fund and Wetlands International announced the launch of the Global Mangrove Alliance. The target of the Global Mangrove Alliance is to increase the global area of mangrove habitat 20 per cent over current extent by the year 2030, and an interim target to acquire pledges toward this goal from ten governments (with two-three from each region) and ten new partners (a mix of private sector and NGOs) by 2022. With an eye to catalysing new investments, the Alliance aims to improve land use management and on-the ground conservation, restoration and sustainable use of mangroves. The Alliance will work locally, regionally and globally to secure commitments from its partners, governments, and the private sector to halt and reverse mangrove loss.

Coral Vita, a company that executes large-scale community-based restoration projects, reaffirmed its commitment to transplant 5,000 climate change resilient corals by 2020 from its Caribbean pilot coral farm. It announced that it will launch the first large-scale farm (~100,000 coral fragments) by 2021, using breakthrough methods to boost coral resiliency to climate change while accelerating growth rates up to 50x through its land-based farming models.

Environmental Law Institute announced the development of a research and a policy dialogue on environmental displacement due to climate change in the Marshall Islands with grants totalling EUR 19,000 from the Ocean Policy Research Institute and the University of Tokyo.

The GEF announced a total of EUR 17.8 million (USD 21 million) GEF investments to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacities in coastal areas vulnerable to climate change in Mozambique, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and the Mediterranean Region.

Grimaldi Group announced the programme to build a new generation of roll-on/roll-off vessels 'Grimaldi's fifth Generation of Green ships' (G5GG), as part of a wider total investment EUR 2 billion (USD 2.3 billion) on new buildings, ship lengthening, and retrofits over a four-year period, in new buildings, destined to short sea traffic with a 100% increase in cargo capacity against best existing ships. This will introduce an unprecedented sum of green technology for this ship category, including electronic propulsion engines connected with abatement systems of exhaust gas emissions. These are the most innovative energy saving devices, including air lubrication systems, solar panels and large Li-ion battery pack to enhance zero emissions in port. In this way, Grimaldi Group aims at achieving by 2020 an emission reduction of 50% per cargo transported at sea on short-sea route between North Italy and Spain and later on continental national cabotage and on Scandinavian routes.

The International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification announced that fifteen of its members will develop Ocean Acidification Action Plans by June 2019. The Alliance will also seek inclusion of ocean acidification and changing ocean conditions in the "nationally determined contribution plans" (NDC's) developed pursuant to the Paris Agreement at COP 23 and 24. The Alliance also announced its commitment to grow from its present 47 members to over 60 members by June 2018.

The International Chamber of Shipping announced to reduce CO2 emissions to mitigate increases in ocean temperatures and prevent acidification by: (i) Maintaining international shipping's annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels; (ii) Reducing CO2 emissions per tonne-km by at least 20% by 2022, compared to 2008. Implementation will be achieved principally through technical and operational measures by shipping companies.

The Italian General Confederation of Enterprises, Professions and Self-Employment (Confcommercio) announced that it will allocate EUR 50,000 in 2018 to the "DUE project - Divers united for the environment". In partnership with the University of Bologna, the Professional Association of Divers Instructors, SCUBAPRO and ANSA, the project provides a monitoring program of biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea, based on the observations of recreational divers. In 2018, thanks to the investment of Confcommercio, the project will be expanded and will target all tourists, which will detect the evolution of the marine biodiversity by observing and filling in simple questionnaires, analysed then by the University of Bologna. DUE project allows to improve the knowledge of a possible shift in Mediterranean Sea biodiversity driven by human activities and climate change and at the same time to raise awareness on the ocean's health.

MAN Diesel & Turbo SE announced a facility of up to EUR 2 million allocated to 10 LNG-retrofits to improve environmental efficiency & footprint of existing vessels. MAN Diesel & Turbo SE promotes the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as replacement for heavy fuel oil and the transition to electricity-based synthetic fuels in order to achieve CO2-neutrality by 2050.

Microsoft announced today a dedicated "AI for Earth EU Oceans Award" as part of the AI for Earth program launched in July 2017, which has committed USD 2 million in the form of grants that provide access to Artificial Intelligence and cloud tools, and resources to use them well, to organizations working on the issues of water, agriculture, biodiversity and climate change. The "AI for Earth EU Oceans Award" will allocate some of these funds exclusively to work on oceans with EU-based research institutions. The award will provide access to Azure compute resources and data science tools to qualifying applicants that are focusing on addressing ocean-related challenges. Submissions are due by December 15, 2017; grant decisions will be communicated 4-6 weeks following this date; the grants are for a one-year term.

The North Adriatic Sea Port Authority (NASPA) announced its commitment to promote the renewal and expansion of the Venice Blue Flag agreement in 2018 and 2019; to reduce particular matter cruise emissions of more than 40 per cent at a local scale by using MDO/MGO fuel - instead of HFO as from entering the Venice Lagoon, through the Lido Inlet - and not only during hoteling phase- as foreseen by law; to evaluate, using Tier 3 EMEP/EEA (EEA 2009 - March 2011) methodology, the cost benefit analysis of Venice Blue Flag implementation; to publish online all data related to Venice Blue Flag results. The "Venice Blue Flag" consists in a voluntary agreement that has been signed, year by year, between local authorities and cruise companies, in order to encourage the use of green fuel (with Sulfur content less than 0.1%) within the Venice Lagoon. In 2017, all cruise companies scaling at the port of Venice signed this voluntary agreement. NASPA will also promote the Blue Flag agreement among other ports in Italy and the Adriatic region.

The Ocean and Climate Platform and France and UNESCO-IOC announced the launch of the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance (OCIA) in February 2017. France has provided EUR 300,000 to the Alliance. Its ambition is to promote the integration of climate-related ocean initiatives into the Global Climate Action Agenda, and to reinforce ocean resilience by working to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14. The Alliance's objectives include carrying the voice of civil society into international dynamics; reducing the knowledge gap on ocean and climate and, sharing existing scientific information; and identifying the synergies between international initiatives on ocean and climate. Accordingly, the Alliance will release its first report on the progress of ocean and climate action during the Oceans Action Day at UNFCCC COP23.

The Ocean Foundation announced a EUR 1.05 million (USD 1.25 million) initiative for the ocean acidification capacity building for 2017 and 2018, particularly for developing nations, which will include workshops for policy and science capacity building as well as technology transfer for African, Pacific Island, Central American and Caribbean nations. This initiative, announced in 2016, has been expanded with regard to the increased funding commitments from public and private partners, the number of scientists to be invited and number of kits to be gifted.

OFDC announced its support for a four-year program by Taiwan worth EUR 14.2 million (USD 17 million) on research on artificial reefs as suitable marine habitats as well as on removal of abandoned fishing gear and marine debris around the Penghu Islands.

The Port of Civitavecchia announced its commitment to improve air quality and reduce the particulate matter over 97% by 2025 (compared to 2015) by putting in place a LNG station in 2018 to supply methane to trucks, heavy duty vehicles and small boats and a LNG bunker station by 2023 to supply methane to all large vessels. This would represent a capital expenditure of EUR 90 million.

The Port of Civitavecchia announced its commitment to provide 50% of land energy need by 2023 though the utilisation of Oscillating Water Column (OWC) energy converters. In 2018, the port will put in place the first OWC and by 2020 the first prototype of an OWC energy converter derivate from mini-hydroelectric technology (WaveSax). This is designed to be installed in the marine side of a dock, being a small and modular device, with an integrated system of protection from extreme events. The total capital expenditure of this development represents EUR 12,5 million.

Port of Vigo announced it will reduce by 30% its emissions (CO2, SOx and NOx) and will reach 3% energy self-sufficiency by 2022. To achieve this it will carry out actions that will promote GNL use and application of innovative actions on algae capture of CO2, support implementation 100% clean energy self-sufficiency for National Natural Park Illas Cies as a pilot project and raise awareness/training of at least 1,000 users of Port of Vigo (all activities included) on the need for clean and blue energy.

Resolute Marine Energy announced the launch of its first Wave2OTM system in Cape Verde in the framework of which it will train between 5 and 10 local workers and provide state-of-the-art marine survey equipment valued at approximately EUR 208,000 (USD 250,000) to INDP, the Cape Verde fisheries institute, by the 4th quarter of 2019.

The Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) announced its commitment to deliver evidence-based, scalable solutions to global ocean challenges at the intersection of nature conservation, sustainable development, and human well-being. SNAPP working groups have explored science-informed solutions for a variety of ocean-related issues. There are 7 ocean-themed groups, involving 210 individuals, 76 institutions, and 23 countries: Coastal Defenses, Ridges to Reefs, Data Limited Fisheries, Fisheries Measures, Offshore Aquaculture, Coastal Restoration, and Assessing Biocultural Indicators. The research includes: efforts to value the coastal defenses from storms and sea level rise that are provided by nature and coastal preserves; development of a tool to help manage fisheries when there are limited data about the fisheries; determining how (and where) offshore aquaculture can be an integral component of global food security and sustainability; and how land-use decisions in Pacific islands impact the health of reef habitats and the management of local fisheries. The Partnership has invested EUR 1.1 million (USD 1.3 million) in this initiative and is committed to spend at least an additional EUR 500,735 (USD 598,537.42) on these projects.

Surfrider Foundation Europe announced it will work in partnership with ship-owners and key maritime stakeholders to reduce shipping emissions through the promotion of a label for sustainable shipping in France by 2025. This label will aim at certifying that businesses have measured and reduced their CO2 emissions during the transport chain of their products -from the producer to the seller- and making this effort visible to the consumers.

The Tara Expeditions Foundation announced under its Oceans program an investment of up to EUR 9 million funded by scientific institutions and the French Facility for Global Environment. France has provided EUR 2 million to this initiative. The program will invest in research, innovation, transfer of technology and capacity building on plankton studies related to climate change. After collecting 35,000 samples and sequencing more than 40 billion genes, the Tara Expeditions Foundation announced that South American and African research institutions will join the program.

The Tara Expeditions Foundation announced under its Pacific expedition and related scientific program an investment of up to EUR 9 million in research on coral reefs ecosystems, with an unprecedented DNA sequencing effort to better understand the reefs biology in order to better protect them in a fast changing climate.

The World Economic Forum and its members announced new additions to the list of companies, governments and international organisations who have full end to end traceability of tuna. They have also announced Global Ocean Data Alliance which comprises world's leading technology and data companies as well as scientific organisations. The Ocean Data Alliance will build technological tools needed for full end to end traceability of Tuna by 2020, in line with the Tuna Traceablity Declaration.

XL Catlin announced its commitment to spend between EUR 2.1 and EUR 2.5 million (USD 2.5 - USD 3 million) over 2017-2018 on its Ocean Risk Initiative, which aims to help leaders to become better prepared to tackle potential consequences of ocean change and to generate new and dynamic solutions. In these two years, the initiative will: set up a new funding stream for Ocean Risk research by Early Career Scientists; organise the first Ocean Risk Summit (Bermuda, May 2018); deliver new risk reports and a global engagement program on the financial impacts of ocean warming, as well as continue funding the XL Catlin Oceans Education program, which aims to increase ocean literacy by reaching 10 million children by 2020.

In 2017, 27 companies and organisations, the Leaders for a Living Ocean, announced commitments contributing to MSC’s “20 by 2020” goal, and in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and science-based solutions to accelerate improvements in marine fisheries. The MSC is supporting these leaders in their journey to transform their business and act as agents for change within their sphere of influence. 14 of these companies and organisations are now able to report on progress towards the 2020 goal. The leaders reporting progress include: Aeon group (Japan), Albert Heijn (Netherlands and Belgium), ALDI group (Germany), Carrefour (France), Coles (Australia), Colruyt group (Belgium), COOP (Japan), FishTales (Netherlands), Jumbo (Netherlands), PNA (International), Sainsbury’s (UK), Thai Union (International), WADPIRD & WAFIC (Australia). In addition, 3 new commitments were submitted, one from Woolworths Australia and others from Lidl International and Metro International.”

The European Union announced the launch of WISE-Marine, a gateway to information on European water issues for the general public and stakeholders to promote better ocean governance and ecosystem-based management. The platform will be expanded and integrated further in the years to come.

The European Union announced that it will contribute EUR 2 million in 2017 to support the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive by the Member States and a further 2.3 million to support regional and inter-regional cooperation for this objective. The EU law aims to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) of the waters of EU Member States by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend.

The European Union announced that it will commit EUR 2.85 million to marine pollution prevention and preparedness projects and EUR 2.5 million to marine pollution exercises, to support and complement the cross-border cooperation efforts between EU countries and with selected countries in the EU's vicinity.

As part of its upcoming plastics strategy, the European Union announced draft measures to reduce the leakage of plastics into the environment by the end of 2017.

The European Union announced draft measures in 2017 to reduce the discharges of ship-generated waste and cargo residues into the sea.

The European Commission announced that it will phase out by end 2017 all single-use plastic cups in water fountains and vending machines in all its buildings and meetings. It also committed to report on all its efforts towards a further reduction of the use of other single-use plastic items in all its building and events at the occasion of the 2018 Our Ocean Conference. Measures to achieve this will include improving its green public procurement, reducing single-use plastics in canteens and cafeterias, promoting use of tap water, launching a wider awareness raising campaign for staff on waste reduction, sorting and recycling and greening Commission events.

Australia announced the update of the threat abatement plan prepared in 2009, by mid-2018 aiming at providing national guidance on specific action to prevent and mitigate the impacts of marine debris. Injury and fatality to vertebrate marine life caused by harmful marine debris was listed as a key threatening process under Australia's Environment law. The plan update addresses six objectives, including the removal of existing marine debris and the increase of public awareness of the issue.

Australia announced that its national research agency, CSIRO, is leading a project, with a budget of EUR 1.33 million (AUD 2 million), from 2017-2020. Its objective is to use field sampling and mathematical modelling to document the distribution of plastic in the ocean on the coast and in the nearshore environment generated by 6-8 major urban centers and surrounding areas that have been identified as having significant waste mis-management or losses into the marine environment.

Austria together with major trade companies, Greenpeace and Global 2000, reaffirmed their commitment to reduce carrier bags. The objective is to reach a maximum of 25 plastic bags per person a year and reduce the use of disposable carrier bags made from other materials such as paper by 2025. Disposable carrier bags made from all types of materials will only be handed out against payment. Austria will publish an annual report to assess the progress achieved.

Austria reaffirmed its commitment to invest EUR 60 million per year in waste water treatment between 2017 and 2021. This will contribute to reduce nutrient and hazardous substances emissions into Austrian rivers, which in turn contribute to the reduction of discharges from catchment to sea. Austria also announced its Agri-Environmental scheme ÖPUL will contribute EUR 65 million per year for greening of arable land and management of arable surfaces threatened by erosion and EUR 700,000 per year for preventative surface water protection (buffer strips).

Bangladesh announced that the legislative measures in force resulted in the ban of plastic shopping bags production. They will be reinforced by committing further resources to prevent the production and significantly reduce the use of plastic shopping bags by 2025. In a first phase, plastic production will be reduced by 60% by 2019.

Belgium announced that by the end of 2017 it will adopt its federal action plan to combat marine litter, the scope of which will be broad and will include macro and microliter, land-based and sea-based sources, litter from the fisheries sector, single use plastic materials and primary microplastics. It will foresee cleaning and awareness raising activities. It will also focus on the collaboration on the national and international levels.

Canada reaffirmed that it joined the UN Environment Clean Seas Campaign in July 2017 as part of Canada's commitment to take action on marine litter. The Government of Canada will continue to work with provincial and territorial governments, under the auspices of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), to improve Canada's record on reducing and recycling waste and implement the CCME waste action plan.

Canada reaffirmed that in June 2017 it published the Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations that will prohibit the manufacture, import and sale of all toiletries that contain plastic microbeads including cosmetics. The regulations will prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of toiletries used to exfoliate or cleanse that contain plastic microbeads, including non-prescription drugs and natural health products. For the purposes of the regulations, plastic microbeads include any plastic particle equal to or less than 5 mm in size. The types of toiletries covered include products such as bath and body products, skin cleansers and toothpaste. The ban on sale, manufacture and import for all toiletries and natural health products will be phased in from January 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019.

Canada reaffirmed EUR 772,624 (CAD 1,134,000) in support announced in February 2017 for two new research projects to monitor contaminants and investigate their impacts in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans, in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing EUR 271,850 (CAD 399,000) to the Vancouver Aquarium to help implement Pollution Tracker. This project will sample mussels and near-shore sediment along the coast of British Columbia to collect data on a wide range of contaminants. A further EUR 146,485 (CAD 215,000) is being provided for the Vancouver Aquarium study, for the first time, microplastics in the Arctic Ocean and their biological effects on marine life. An additional EUR 354,290 (CAD 520,000) in in-kind support, such as vessel use, will be provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to assist in the collection of samples.

Chile announced that it will ban plastic bags in coastal cities throughout the country. Once the law is approved by the National Congress, Chile will be the first American country to implement this type of ban.

China announced EUR 8 million (USD 9 million) worth national research projects to develop marine micro plastics, jellyfish, red tide, pathogenic microorganisms monitoring and preventing technology. China also announced its intention to focus on the elimination of plastic waste pollution in estuaries and bays and to formulate plans for action against pollution from marine wastes.

Denmark announced EUR 400,000 (DKK 3 million) for an awareness raising campaign on marine litter in 2018 targeting all types of fishers, people on boats and in harbours as well as those visiting the beaches.

Denmark announced it has allocated EUR 161,300 for a first beach litter survey in selected 4 areas in Greenland including monitoring of microplastic in fulmars.

Denmark announced its intentions to support the development and implementation of Indonesia's National Marine Debris Action Plan with EUR 1,273 million (USD 1,500,000). Indonesia aims to reduce by 70% the plastic debris by 2025 in comparison to 2017.

France announced that it is committed to ban single-use plastic cups, glasses and plates by 1 January 2020. France also announced that it will no longer sell cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads by 1 January 2018 and cotton buds with plastic stems by 1 January 2020.

France announced EUR 500,000 to UNEP activities under the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) from 2017 to 2020.

France announced that it will create by 1st January 2018 a structured network that will address the issue of end-of-life recreational craft. By 2021, 26,000 ships will be dismantled. This action will help improve waste disposal and promote circular economy.

France announced that over the next five years it will develop cross-border cooperation under the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) to prosecute polluters responsible for oil spills in the Western Mediterranean Sea.

Germany announced the launch of the G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter as part of its 2017 G20-Agenda. Upon proposal by Germany, the G20 Heads of State and Government have confirmed their commitment to protect the marine environment by adopting measures to address pollution from land-based and sea-based sources; provide financial resources for cost-effectiveness analyses, and to prevent or reduce marine litter. The plan sets effective actions, e.g. to facilitate the implementation of the polluter pays approach, 'extended producer responsibility' or deposit schemes; develop new sources of funding for effective waste management systems and to stimulate innovations. It further addresses education and awareness raising, as well as additional research needs. As part of the action plan, a voluntary "Global Network of the Committed" has been launched in order to support the implementation of measures defined in the action plan.

Germany commits EUR 30 million in 2017 to the implementation of development projects under the "Ten-point Plan of Action for Marine Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries". This includes inter alia funding for projects which serve the implementation of the G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter. Also in this context, Germany commits to further advance the implementation of the "Blue Action Fund" for marine conservation together with the Swedish Government that is joining the Blue Action Fund in 2017.

Ghana announced its commitment to eliminate pollution along the country's coast and significantly reduce pollution in the marine ecosystem by 2025, by tackling the current challenges posed by the use of plastics and indiscriminate disposal of waste.

Indonesia announced it will launch a National Action Plan on Marine Plastic Debris to achieve a reduction of 70% of its plastic debris by the end of 2025, therefore contributing to its national ambition to become trash-free. Indonesia also announced it will invest up to EUR 0.85 billion to develop a national programme to address the management of waste from land-based sources over the next four years. In addition, Indonesia announced the inclusion of the issue of Marine Plastic Debris in its national education programme

Ireland reaffirmed that by end 2018 it will introduce national legislation to prohibit the sale or manufacture of certain products containing microbeads including not just cosmetics but also body care and cleansing products as well as detergents and abrasive surface cleaning products.

Ireland announced EUR 320,000 in funding to the Clean Coasts Programme for 2017 and commits to funding on an on-going basis in future years. This programme, operated by An Taisce, Ireland's National Trust, engages communities to work actively with local authorities to protect Ireland's beaches, seas and marine life. This Programme comprises Clean Coasts Volunteering (with over 550 Clean Coasts volunteer groups established to date) and the highly sought after Green Coast Award (62 beaches awarded the Green Coast award in Ireland in 2017).

Ireland announced the expansion of its 2015 "Fishing for Litter" programme to a further 2 ports/piers and 15 vessels which has encouraged fishermen to retain marine litter brought up in their nets for onshore disposal, with 46 trawlers in 7 different ports around the Irish coast now participating in that programme.

Japan reaffirmed EUR 13.6 million (USD 15 million) support to the Japanese Technical Cooperation Project of Regional Initiative on Solid Waste Management (J-PRISM) in Pacific Island Countries Phase II (February 2017 to February 2022), which is based on the outcomes of J-PRISM Phase I (February 2011 to February 2016). This Project aims to strengthen both human and institutional capacity.

Japan announced allocation of approximately EUR 3.6 million (USD 4 million) for the period between March 2017 and February 2022 to the Technical Cooperation Project for Comprehensive Assessment and Conservation of Blue Carbon Ecosystems and Their Services in the Coral Triangle (Blue CARES), which consists in carrying out a comprehensive evaluation of Blue Carbon policies in Indonesia and the Philippines with the aim to propose a blue carbon conservation strategy in order to mitigate biodiversity loss and realize environmental improvements. This joint academic research project (Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines) will include the deployment of experts on Coastal and Marine Resources Management in February 2018.

Japan announced EUR 40,000 (USD 44,000) to the trust fund to assist the participation of the Japan announced EUR 40,000 (USD 44,000) to the (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation Of Sustainable Development Goal 14. For this Conference, Japan registered 11 voluntary commitments focusing on marine debris, ocean acidification, sustainable fisheries and assistance to SIDS. Japan announced technical assistance to train 5,000 people of SIDs over 3 years from 2015, out of which more than 4,000 people were already trained by the end of 2016.

Korea reaffirmed its commitment to invest EUR 28 million (USD 33 million) annually to manage the marine environment around the Korean Peninsula. This includes monitoring the inflow of pollutants into the sea and restoring coastal ecosystems. Korea will also conduct research on marine litter and collect marine waste from the seabed.

Malta announced it will commit to introduce a beverage container refund scheme by the end of 2019 to ensure that at least 70% of the plastic bottles generated in its islands are recovered and mitigate the impact of marine litter on the ocean.

Mauritius announced to increase research on the possible link of contaminated seafood consumption with the rise in diseases such as cancer by studying the accumulation of microplastics in the marine food chain and its potential impact on human health in the period 2017 to 2022.

Norway announced a multi-annual programme to assist developing countries in improving waste management to prevent land-based litter from ending up in the ocean, including plastics and microplastics. Beach and coastal clean-ups may also be part of the initiative. The programme will be launched in 2018 with NOK 150 million - approximately EUR 16.2 million - set aside for the first year.

New Zealand announced it will ban all 'wash-off' products that contain plastic microbeads for exfoliating, cleansing or abrasive cleaning purposes. As well as personal care products, this includes household, car or other cleaning products. The ban will come into effect by May 2018.

Panama announced that by 2018 it will contribute more than EUR 850,256,000 (USD 1 billion) to the panama city and bay sanitation project to ensure the marine contamination is reduced and the health of Panama bay and marine ecosystems are restored.

Panama announced the ratification of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments ships 2004 (BWM) in Law 41 of September, 2016,

The Republic of Palau announced that it has introduced a legislation to ban the importation of plastic bags, phasing out by 2025.

The Philippines announced that it committed to address further marine pollution in its waters originating in land sources. To this end, the Philippines will adopt by 2017 the Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Management Program (CMEMP) employing an Integrated Coastal Management approach. Both actions are expected to reduce spot pollution sources by 50% as compared to 2017 and increase by 20% the number of households adopting eco-waste management by 2028.

By 2020, Portugal reaffirmed its commitment to develop technological platforms and tools that reduce marine pollution and promote the circular economy of the sea.

Portugal announced the expansion of the project "Fisheries for a Sea Without Litter" by 2030 to all fishing ports in the Portuguese mainland.

Portugal reaffirmed the intention to work at the regional level, within the OSPAR Convention, for the reduction of marine litter in the Atlantic.

Sri Lanka announced its commitment to make the country polythene-free and to find a sustainable solution to ocean pollution and solid waste management. To this end, it will take measures including the ban on the import, manufacture and sale of harmful polythene products and the ban on the use of polythene for decorations.

Sri Lanka also announced that, in 2017, it commenced projects aimed at encouraging the separation of waste with the aim of recycling and is also exploring sewage energy generation projects.

Sweden announced the allocation of EUR 3.7 million (SEK 36 million) over the next three four years for a set of initiatives by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to support governments, industry and society in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Asia Pacific regions in promoting, enacting and enforcing legislation and other measures to contain and reduce marine plastic pollution.

Sweden announced the allocation of EUR 53 million (SEK 528 million) in 2017 to address marine pollution in three main areas: removal of hazardous substances particularly in wrecks, treatment of the accumulated fiber banks from industrial process water and reduction of the amount of pharmaceuticals to the marine environment; combat eutrophication through for example the application of measures to reduce the internal load of phosphorus in lakes and coastal bays, the restoration and construction of wetlands, the development of blue catch-crops and the reduction of nutrients' outflow; management of plastic in a responsible way through actions including beach cleaning, development of new materials, cleaning of storm water and global support for biodiversity.

Thailand announced the establishment of the Pollution Management Plan 2017-2021 to maintain the quality of the marine environment and tackle marine pollution from land-based activities. Thailand also announced the adoption of the National Master Plan on Waste Management 2016-2021 and will launch the National "3R" (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) strategy and a Plastic Debris Management Plan to reduce plastic waste by 2021. The plan consists of 3 key measures, namely 1) raising awareness of plastics usage and its effect on marine environment, 2) reducing plastics usage, and 3) enhancing research capacity in field of plastic material/plastic substitute and marine debris assessment. The first campaign will be launched in order to end the use of drinking water bottle cap-seal which will help reduce 520 tons of plastic waste annually.

Turkey announced that it will develop Marine Litter Action Plans for all coastal cities by the end of 2018. Clean-up activities, pollution reduction studies will be reported annually and minimization of marine litter will be conducted with relevant sectors such as plastics, cosmetics and textile within the framework of above mentioned Action Plans. Starting from 1 January 2019 pricing of plastic bags will be on the agenda.

The United Kingdom announced EUR 566,700 (GBP 500,000) to launch a new 'litter innovation fund' to trial small scale projects that could be replicated more widely, including those aimed at reducing litter entering the marine environment.

The United Kingdom announced the adoption of a Litter Strategy for England. The strategy aims to apply best practice in education, enforcement and infrastructure to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering behaviour on land, which in turn will lead to a reduction in the amount of litter reaching the marine environment. The Government will work with industry and community partners to implement this strategy. This is in addition to existing Litter Strategies in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom also announced it joined the UN Clean Seas Campaign, the Global Partnership on Marine Litter and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative.

The United Kingdom announced its commitment to banning plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products to protect the marine environment from avoidable microplastic pollution. It anticipates having bans on both manufacture and sale of such products in place across the whole of the UK by the end of June 2018.

The United States announced a contribution of up to EUR 418,000 (USD 500,000) to the New Plastics Economy Initiative's Circular Design Challenge. A partnership among USAID, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and a coalition of private companies and foundations, the Challenge will identify solutions to advance the development of new packaging formats and alternative delivery models for plastics.

The United States announced up to EUR 7.6 million (USD 9.1 million) over four years for the establishment of a small grants portfolio on waste recycling that will focus on municipal waste management and recycling efforts in Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. The objective is to improve waste management practices and reduce the amount of marine-bound plastics. The program will also evaluate the effectiveness of promising grants and provide recommendations on how USAID may scale these efforts.

The United States announced a public-private partnership that has deployed a joint U.S.-EU public diplomacy and education exhibit on marine debris and plastics. A partnership with the EU, several U.S. Embassies, civil society, and multiple private sector organizations, the exhibit highlighted U.S. and EU leadership on ocean issues, including the Trash Free Seas Alliance. The exhibit traveled across the EU, from Copenhagen to Tallinn, Lisbon, and Valletta, and later Genoa, reaching hundreds of thousands of visitors as a flagship joint U.S.-EU diplomacy effort on marine debris. For more detail, see https://ourocean2017.org/campaigns/tackling-plastic-pollution-ocean.

The forty-three Union for the Mediterranean countries announced their agreement to set up by February 2018 a Task Force on Environment in order to facilitate the implementation, among others, of the H2020 Initiative for a Cleaner Mediterranean, which is joining efforts of all committed stakeholders in addressing the 80 per cent of the sources of pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by the year 2020. They agreed as well to define priorities, operational modalities and a work programme for depollution and pollution prevention of the Mediterranean Sea for the post-2020 period.

The Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP), an initiative designed to increase the collective impact of aquariums on shared ocean and freshwater conservation goals, announced the elimination of plastic straws and single-use take-away plastic bags in its 19 member aquariums as of 10 July 2017, and the significant reduction or elimination of single-use plastic beverage bottles in member aquariums by 1 December 2020. Founded by Monterey Bay Aquarium, Shedd Aquarium, and National Aquarium, the ACP also committed to showcasing innovative alternatives to single-use plastic for its millions of visitors. The members of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership are committed to allocate annually EUR 210,000.

Borealis AG announced an investment of EUR 15 million to advance mechanical recycling of Polyolefins, further to the acquisition of Germany's polyolefin recycling company mtm plastics GmbH.

Borealis AG announced a EUR 4 million initiative to accelerate waste management improvements in South-East Asia to be rolled out in 2018-2019, driven and to be co-funded with local and global partners.

Borealis AG announced its commitment to zero pellet loss from its operations and to substantially invest in best available technology to prevent pellet loss.

The 50,000 companies (FMCG companies and retailers) selling packaged products in France announced that they will contribute to the national target of 75% of household packaging recycling, notably through their commitment to invest on top of their EPR obligation, an additional EUR 113,000,000 from 2016 to 2017 and a further EUR 150 million from 2018 to 2022 in view of boosting selective waste collection, thereby saving natural resources and reducing litter.

The companies selling beverages in France announced a EUR 15,000,000 commitment by 2019 to implement the "Chaque Bouteille Compte (Each bottle counts) programme". This programme will improve the recycling rate of PET bottles, starting with two pilot projects in Paris and Marseille. This will contribute to saving natural resources and reducing litter.

The Camp for Future Generations Foundation announced a commitment of EUR 250,000 over the next two years to create a Plastic and Ocean Platform, coalition of scientists and NGOs to produce a common scientific position and enhance action on marine litter.

Clean Oceans International announced their commitment to deploy One hundred PTF500 units (Plastic To Fuel, 500 pounds/day) globally by 2022. Besides placing them on ships and on beaches, this commitment includes community education and monitoring the local environment to assess the impact of these units. 100 units, operating 300 days per year eliminate EUR 16 million (15 million pounds) of waste plastic that could otherwise harm the ocean environment. PPTF (Portable Plastic to Fuel) units go where the plastics are, in particular small communities and islands, and produce readily usable fuel without further refining.

The Coca-Cola Company announced that it will make all its consumer packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. While the great majority of the bottles and cans used to distribute its products are already 100% recyclable, the Company will expand 100% recyclability to its entire consumer packaging range (including pouches, cartons and others). This is one of many steps Coca-Cola will take to ensure its packaging gets recycled and does not end up in the wrong place, in particular our oceans. The Coca-Cola Company is building a more holistic packaging plan to move forward these efforts and will share details in the coming months.

The Dow Chemical Company announced EUR 128,100 (USD 151,000) funding for three new research project to help solve the issue of plastics marine litter. Two projects, one each in Japan and Indonesia, will set up systems to measure the flow of trash into the ocean, and will then propose solutions, based on that information, to prevent the characterized waste from reaching the ocean. The third project will test the use of non-recycled plastic in roadways in Indonesia, to help create a new end-use market for collected materials that might otherwise end up in the environment. This will help drive collection of low value plastics, keeping these materials out of the ocean.

ECOALF, by means of its Foundation supported by HAP FOUNDATION, in partnership with ECOEMBES and with the collaboration of the Spanish Fishing Confederation, announced that it will be extending the "Upcycling the Oceans" project to the whole Spanish Mediterranean coast and test it also in the Atlantic Ocean. By 2018, the number of ports involved will be expanded from 32 to 60 and from 440 trawlers to 770, removing 200 tonnes of marine debris. The Project is helping rid the oceans of rubbish through partnership with the fishing sector and is giving a new life to the collected trash turning it into polyester garments, through a circular economy project.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced and awarded the winners of its Circular Design Challenge with EUR 850,000 (USD 1 million) prize money. The challenge was launched together with the Prince of Wales's International Sustainability Unit and is funded by Wendy Schmidt. Together with a 12-month accelerator programme, the prize money will help scale design solutions that keep plastics in the economy, and out of the ocean. The challenge is part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's three-year New Plastics Economy initiative, applying the principles of the circular economy to build a plastics system that works.

Environmental Law Institute announced its continued effort under the ELI Gulf of Mexico Restoration and Recovery Initiative, through which ELI attorneys analyze the variety of restoration funding processes in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and translate them in accessible ways for local stakeholders. This project has been made possible thanks to a generous EUR 468,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation.

Environmental Law Institute announced as the secretariat of the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) EUR 85,000 for the INECE Seaports Training campaign, to provide training on illegal shipments of hazardous and other waste, as well as Ozone Depleting Substances in Kenya, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, in addition to a West African regional training for officials from Senegal, Togo, Benin, and Ghana. In total, over 100 port officials have received training during the last twelve months.

Fourth Element announced its commitment to develop new products from recycled materials and to replace existing materials with recycled polyester from post-consumer plastics such as plastic bottles as well as increasing the range of its products utilising yarn from recycling fishing nets and ropes. It has already developed the Ocean Positive swimwear range, which is made using recycled nylon from "ghost" fishing nets, abandoned or lost by fishing vessels. Fourth Element also announced it will eradicate all forms of plastic in its packaging for all products by 2020.

The GEF announced a EUR 35.9 million (USD 42.3 million) commitment to the MedProgramme to address nutrient pollution in the Mediterranean, enhance region wide environmental monitoring and protect key coastal freshwater resources. The Mediterranean Sea Programme (the MedProgramme): builds on several successful GEF projects in the Mediterranean and on the legal framework provided by the Barcelona Convention and its protocols. The Programme is implemented by the United Nations Environment and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and will increase capacity across the region and result in a reduction of nutrients and chemicals reaching the Mediterranean Sea, which is currently causing coastal ecosystem degradation and potentially affecting the health and quality of life of millions of people in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean. This program consists of several subprojects, including those managed by EIB under the Mediterranean Hotspots Investment Programme (MeHSIP). The MeHSIP aims at assisting promoters with the preparation of projects in the environmental sector that address the main sources of pollution entering the Mediterranean Sea. A USD 7 million GEF contribution will allow MeHSIP to prepare subprojects leveraging an expected implementation value of USD 500 million.

Gestes Propres (founding member of the CLEAN EUROPE NETWORK), in partnership with a number of companies (Ball Packaging, Citeo, Coca-Cola European Partners, Danone Eaux, ELIPSO (plastic packaging industry organisation), Gecina Foundation, Haribo, Heineken, InterEmballage, Nestlé Waters, P&G, Total), France and the French Mayors Association, announced to further develop their two awareness campaigns on the impacts litter of marine litter. They committed to reach 1.5 billion views by 2020 with the "You could leave a better footprint on the planet" campaign and involve 400,000 sailboats and 100 ports by 2020 with the "I sail, I sort waste" campaign.

Under the framework of the Intergovernmental Joint Programming Initiative JPI Oceans; Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, have an ongoing commitment of over 7.5 million EUR on transnational research projects, investigating microplastics in the marine environment. The research will, by 2018, promote the validation and harmonisation of methodologies and protocols for microplastics research, a key concern raised in the respective G7 and G20 Action Plans to Combat Marine Litter.

Kaneka announced that within the coming 3 years they will support the development of PHBH based marine biodegradable applications to reduce the environmental impact of plastic leakage in the ocean. Kaneka will further work-out the industrial scale production of the biodegradable polymer PHBH, a polyhydroxyalkanoate, which is a natural polymer produced by the metabolism of micro-organisms. It will also further study the biodegradation and eco toxicity of PHBH related applications which will be used not only in the marine field but also in other industrial and consumer product.

The Italian National Research Council reaffirmed its commitment to find innovative solutions to prevent microplastic pollution from laundry wastewater at source. It is working to reduce the microplastic release from the washing of synthetic fabrics by fifty per cent by 2020. It will build on the outcome of the Life Mermaids project.

Legambiente ONLUS announced its commitment to promote a ban in the Mediterranean countries on plastic carrier bags below 100 microns (except bags for primary transport) biodegradable and compostable certified EN 13432 or ISO 14855 through at least 30 events, within the campaigns Clean up the Med/spiagge e Fondali Puliti, involving other Mediterranean organizations.

The Lonely Whale Foundation announced its commitment to permanently eliminating 15 billion single use plastic straws by 2020.

Marine Construction Technologies announced the reduction of underwater noise, resulting from impact-driving upon fish, marine mammals, and other sensitive wildlife, by 70-90 per cent per pile. It announced as well the reduction of construction-related noise pollution associated with steel marine foundations worldwide by 15 per cent by 2022.

Marks & Spencer announced that all its plastic packaging in the UK will be 100% recyclable and widely recycled by 2022. It will work to eliminate packaging that strays into the environment (particularly oceans) and actively design out packaging parts that can't be reused or recycled. It will introduce products with reclaimed social plastics as a component, providing positive social benefit to the communities from which the materials are sourced. In addition, M&S will assess the feasibility for all its plastic packaging to be made from one polymer group by 2022 to reduce consumer confusion and to improve recycling.

Mars announced to reach 100% recyclability of its packaging by 2025, with the aim of reducing its carbon footprint over the lifetime.

The National Aquarium announced its commitment to divert at least one million single-use plastic bottles from the waste stream and ultimately the ocean by 2020, while also continuing not to offer single-use plastic bags or plastic straws or any plastic cutlery, and decrease by 50 per cent plastic throughout its operations by 2020.

Ocean Conservancy, the Trash Free Seas Alliance, and Closed Loop Partners, with the support of world leading brands, including Procter & Gamble, 3M, PepsiCo, and plastic makers from the American Chemistry Council and the World Plastics Council, announced the formation of a new initiative to reduce marine debris through improving waste collection, recycling and reuse. The initiative, which will be led by Closed Loop Partners, aims to create a new funding mechanism to raise over EUR 128 million (USD 150 million) over five years to improve waste collection, sorting, and recycling markets in Southeast Asia. The funding mechanism will: catalyse new investments from the private sector, governments and development finance institutions; demonstrate solutions; build a pipeline of bankable waste management infrastructure projects to demonstrate investment viability; and maximize recycling profitability.

OLSPS announced it will develop a global, interactive and educational citizen science tool by 2018 which will enable sea goers, of various skills, to collect and send observational data to a central database. These data will contribute to the mapping of the oceans in terms of wildlife, pollution, vessels and maritime activities, as well as encourage citizens to interact with the oceans and engage with various conservation efforts.

PepsiCo announced its ambition to design 100% of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable, increase recycled materials in its plastic packaging, reduce packaging's carbon impact, and in partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation, work to increase recycling rates by 2025.

Plastic Maker Hubs announced the creation of 25 Plastic Maker Hubs by 2020 where waste pickers convert plastic waste into new products, creating a brand of 'ethical plastics'. The initiative aims to: train 250 women waste pickers by 2020 to become recycling micro-entrepreneurs (foreseen budget of EUR 70,000); build a premium brand or an Open Design Platform around ethical plastic by 2018; develop a recognizable product mark providing assurance of social, environmental and quality standards at global level by 2025.

Plastic Change announced the launch of the new Expedition Plastic from Hawaii to Jakarta by the end of 2017. In partnership with UN Environment, the Blue Planet aquarium, several American embassies and the shipping company NORDEN, the expedition will last until 2020 with an overall budget of EUR 600,000. The expedition will conduct samples of ocean plastic pollution, will create awareness of the issue by reaching out to media and strategic partners and will produce European learning material based on the expedition's results.

The Plastic Solutions Fund announced its intention to raise EUR 12.6 million (USD 15 million) over the next three years to combat the problem of single use and other disposable plastic packaging, with EUR 9 million already committed. The Plastic Solutions Fund has been established to support non-profit organizations, particularly in Asia, the European Union and the United States, that want to transform plastics packaging supply chains, reducing not only the amount of this plastic that enters the environment, but the amount that is manufactured in the first place. The Plastic Solutions Fund announced it has given EUR 2.1 million (USD 2.5million) in grants to fifteen organizations since January, ranging in size from EUR 21,000 (USD 25,000) to EUR 421,000 (USD 500,000) per annum.

The Plastic Soup Foundation, Smäll, Shaping Environmental Action and Plastic Disclosure Project announced the launch of the app "My Little Plastic Footprint". The app will provide individuals from all over the world a better insight into the question of how to reduce their own plastic footprint and take action on marine litter. The app is supported by and part of the Clean Seas Campaign of UNE.

P&G Dish Care announced that will introduce a limited-edition Beach Plastic bottle, with 10 per cent of the resin bottle coming from recovered beach plastic and 90 per cent standard PCR. In partnership with recycling experts at TerraCycle, this innovation will come to the UK in 2018 available at one world's leading retailer. This action is the result of a strategic alliance between Terracycle and will serve to find innovative uses for beach plastic while raising consumer awareness of the ocean plastic issue. This initiative complements P&G's support of the Trash Free Seas Alliance efforts to dramatically reduce the flow of plastic into the world's oceans.

In an effort to send a strong demand signal for recycled resin, P&G Dish brands - the world's #1 selling handwashing liquid - announced it will continue to use 8,000 metric tonnes of recycled plastic per year in its transparent plastic bottles, using an average of 40% Post-Consumer Recycled plastic content across 481 million of our transparent dish care bottles globally. Given the size and scale of P&G Dish Care brands, these efforts will create a demand signal that will help support greater recovery of plastics, while enabling consumers to access recyclable and recycled products every day, without any compromises.

The Port of Civitavecchia announced the continuation of the partnership with the start-up Emersum to collect 100 tons of plastic wastes from the traditional treatment line by 2019, to produce clothes for crew members, passengers of ships as well as port workers and passengers of ships. So far, a first swimwear collection has been sold and other 27,000 meters of green textile are ready to be used by the public and private sector for Green Procurement. For this initiative, EUR 2.5 million will be invested to produce a digital platform to manage and trace the recycling process, compute the environmental footprint and develop new supply chain for eco-products.

Searious Business, a company that helps businesses to tackle plastic pollution, announced its commitment to design a fully-recyclable sofa by 2017 (in collaboration with Gispen). The sofa is to be made from more than 95% recycled plastics from left-over materials from the furniture industry and is to be designed and engineered to have the lowest possible impact on the environment. Each sofa will include at least 50 kilos of recycled plastics, and will be fully recyclable. Production of the first 200 sofas starts in October 2017.

Sky, a major European media company, announced the launch of the Sky Ocean Rescue campaign in January 2017, aiming at raising awareness of how plastics and other pollution are affecting the oceans. Through their news reports, documentaries, social media and a UK tour by the giant whale "Plasticus", Sky has engaged over 6 million people.

Sky announced the removal of all single-use plastics from its operations, products and supply chain by 2020.

Sky announced EUR 30 million over 5 years to create an Ocean Rescue Innovation Fund to develop ideas and technology to stop plastics entering the ocean.

The Surfrider Foundation Europe announced the launch of the #ResetyourHabit campaign. The initiative aims at creating awareness on the impact of single-use water plastic bottles and inspiring people to change their habits by using reusable gourds and canteens; industries to change the design of beverage bottles by preferring high-capacity and refillable containers; private companies and public institutions to use and promote tap water and water fountains.

The Surfrider Foundation Europe, with the support of the Territorial Council of Guipúzcoa, AZTI Tecnalia and Rivages Pro Tech Research Centers, the Syndicat mixte Kosta Garbia, and the municipality of Biarritz, announced the launch of the LIFE LEMA project. The initiative will provide methodological guidance and intelligent tools to local authorities for the effective management of floating marine litter with a cross-border approach whilst promoting the diversification of fishing vessels' economic activities. LIFE LEMA will run until 2019. It entails a total investment of EUR 2.1 million co-financed by the European Union.

Think Beyond Plastic announced the launch, in partnership with UN Environment, of the world's first student competition for solutions to the global problem of marine plastics (the 2017 Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge) which invites all university students to submit ideas in the fields of engineering, communications, economics and data modelling. Competition is accepting applications until November 20, 2017. Winners, which will be announced at Sixth International Marine Debris Conference, will gain entry into the Think Beyond Plastic annual acceleration program, which will provide mentoring and bridge to commercialization for winning ideas.

Think Beyond Plastic announced a partnership with California State University at Monterey Bay to develop an Innovation Center with a budget EUR 4.25 million (USD 5 million) to accelerate commercialisation of research and innovation with a focus on plastic pollution. This hub will bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, businesses, investors and consumer advocates to facilitate a multidisciplinary approach to solving this complex problem. This center will offer growing access to material innovation space for development, characterisation and scalability testing by 2020.

Unilever announced its commitment to help transform global plastic packaging material flows by: ensuring all of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025; increasing its use of recycled plastic content in its packaging to at least 25% by 2025 (against a 2015 baseline); publishing the full "palette" of plastics materials used in its packaging by 2020 to help create a plastics protocol for the industry; and helping tackle the industry-wide sachet waste issue, by investing in proving, and then sharing with industry, a technical solution to recycle multi-layered sachets - CreaSolv®.

Volvo Ocean Race announced that in its 2017-2018 edition single-use plastic consumption in Race Villages will be reduced by at least 80%, with the objective to ban it entirely from 2019-2020 edition. In addition, Volvo Ocean Race will raise awareness on ocean plastic pollution by advocating "Turn the Tide" message to 3 million visitors to its Host Cities globally; by promoting UN Environment's "Turn the Tide on Plastic" campaign to its digital audience, including 1.2 million Facebook fans; by launching a dedicated "Turn the Tide on Plastic" sailing team with a powerful call to action via the Clean Seas programme; by using compelling storytelling and the race's significant media power to amplify the campaign - with a minimum goal of 30% of external media articles mentioning its sustainability programme; and by developing an Education Programme for kids and teachers, with an initial delivery target of 25,000 students at Host Cities globally and online. Volvo Ocean Race will host 7 "Ocean Summits" by the June 2018, gathering more than 2,000 decision makers and influencers from business, government and science to make commitments to ocean health. Finally, Volvo Ocean race will contribute in 2017-2018 to ocean science by gathering data and monitoring micro plastic pollution on-board race boats.

The Werner & Mertz Group, whose packaging is already hundred per cent recyclable, announced its commitment to use hundred per cent recycled plastic in at least 70 million bottles each year as of 2017, corresponding to sixty-five per cent of its entire annual bottle volume, aiming to go up to one hundred per cent for all its consumer goods packaging by 2025.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), along with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Southall Environmental Associates and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), reaffirmed their commitment to develop noise reduction targets for individual noise sources. A Working Group will kick-off in 2018 to conduct a Situation Analysis on ocean noise, generating an inventory of primary sources, key industry actors, and best practices. Commitments will be finalised and submitted to the IUCN World Conservation Congress for endorsement as an IUCN Resolution in September 2020.

Zero Waste Europe, a European network of NGOs working with 397 zero waste municipalities, announced the allocation of EUR 300,000 over the next three years to include other 20 cities into the network, thus reducing waste generation by 20% and increasing recycling by 40%.

Zero Waste Europe, in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives in the Philippines and 9 other partners in South-East Asia, announced the allocation of EUR 300,000 to involve 16 cities in South East Asia to implement a zero waste strategy by 2020, preventing more than 868,000 tons of annual waste from entering the environment and including more than 173,000 tons annually from being released into the environment.

On 24 March 2017, the European Union committed, in cooperation with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), to work on accelerating Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide. Maritime spatial planning (MSP) works across borders and sectors to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way. Building on the Joint Roadmap, the EU will provide a grant of EUR 1.4 million to IOC-UNESCO to develop international guidelines for MSP. As part of this venture, two MSP pilot projects will be launched in early 2018: one in the Mediterranean and another in the South Pacific. Furthermore, an International Forum for MSP will be created to facilitate discussions on how MSP, including cross-sectoral actions, should be applied globally. The first workshop is to take place in spring 2018.

The European Union announced the launch of the Pacific - European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme, worth EUR 45 million. Sweden announced that it will contribute EUR 10 million to the programme. The purpose of the programme is to support sustainable management and development of fisheries for food security and economic growth, while addressing climate change resilience and conservation of marine biodiversity.

The European Union announced that it will invest EUR 23 million in the marine environment monitoring service of its satellite monitoring programme (Copernicus) in 2017 and 2018. The service focuses on climate change, fisheries and marine protection. It was also announced that Copernicus will, for the first time, create Ocean Monitoring Indicators, including on biochemistry. These indicators, important for measuring ocean health, will be published in the Ocean State Report that will be available online by the end of 2018.

The European Union announced that it commits to further progressing Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements with coastal states. These agreements already assist countries in the development of sustainable fisheries, the effective management of monitoring and control systems and the fight against IUU fishing. The new generation of agreements are to have a more integrated approach, including promoting a sustainable blue economy as well as advancing investment in the fisheries sector. This new approach should allow partner countries to gain more value from the ocean economy in a sustainable manner.

The European Union commits EUR 8.5 million to the preservation of marine and coastal biodiversity in the Caribbean Sea Basin for the benefit of communities that depend on these ecosystems. This action targets in particular natural areas that are threatened by misuse, overexploitation, pollution and climate change effects.

The European Union announced that it will contribute at least EUR 1 million to support the World Bank's Global Fisheries Programme (PROFISH). The aim of the programme is to improve environmental sustainability, human wellbeing and economic performance in the world's fisheries and aquaculture, with a focus on the welfare of the poor in fisheries and fish farming communities in the developing world.

The European Union announced that it will provide nearly EUR 6 million to support projects in EU countries to set up cross-border cooperation on maritime spatial planning. Maritime spatial planning works across borders and sectors to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way.

The European Union announced that it will finance the testing of the first wave and tidal array deployments in Europe in 2017 by contributing EUR 1.5 million to support administrations and project developers involved in environmental monitoring.

The European Union announced its intention to develop the Pilot Blue Science Cloud, which is to modernise the process of accessing, managing and using marine data, with the goal of improving the handling of large quantities of different marine and maritime data using cloud technologies. Furthermore, the Blue Cloud is intended to further foster work between EU scientists and their international partners. Cloud technologies can improve global and regional ocean observations and forecasting, as promoted in the framework of the G7 Future of the Sea and Oceans initiative and as part of the worldwide effort to build an improved Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

The European Union announced that it will launch a EUR 14.5 million investment initiative in 2017 to promote a sustainable blue economy in the European Union. Around EUR 8 million of the fund is to provide start-up grants for high-potential projects in emerging blue economy sectors across the EU. In order to better monitor and combat marine litter, a further EUR 2 million will go towards providing support for innovative technologies to monitor and/or combat marine litter in waters around the European Union. Furthermore, EUR 3 million will go towards facilitating twinning projects in the Mediterranean Sea Basin, such as between maritime training and education institutes, businesses operating in the blue economy and local fishing communities. Finally, EUR 1.5 million is to be allocated to restoring marine and coastal ecosystems in the Mediterranean.

The European Union announced that it will provide more than EUR 250 million to fund marine and maritime research in 2017. This includes EUR 40 million to support low-emission and advanced waterborne transport and over EUR 30 million for marine energy. Furthermore, the EU announced that it will provide EUR 12 million to support two new innovation projects on cleaning actions to combat marine litter and other pollutants. Finally, the European Union announced to support the BlueMED Initiative for cooperation on a healthy, productive and resilient Mediterranean Sea through science and research with over EUR 50 million.

The European Union announced that it is to further strengthen its work on the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance by fostering enhanced cooperation frameworks with Atlantic partners such as Brazil and South Africa on marine science, research and innovation under the Belém Statement, and will allocate over EUR 60 million in the period 2018-2019 to fulfilling this objective. The EU will also continue to implement the ground-breaking Galway Statement on Ocean Research Cooperation with the USA and Canada. The European Union reported that the number of research teams working in international consortia on the challenges facing the Atlantic Ocean will exceed 500 by 2019.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced a EUR 92 million (USD 110 million) agreement with the Caribbean Development Bank to support many climate projects across the Caribbean. This loan follows a USD 65 million deal signed in 2011 to help nine projects in seven Caribbean countries. Over the past decade, the EIB has been helping the Caribbean fight problems related to climate change while also improving coastal ecosystems and reducing pollution. This assistance makes economic growth more sustainable in the region and supports the blue economy. These investments are known as Climate Action Framework Loans, meaning they support a wide range of projects. The loans not only help climate change mitigation, but they also support adaptation and resilience projects in energy efficiency, water infrastructure and physical and social infrastructures at community levels.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced to invest up to EUR 16.7 million (USD 20 million) in the Sustainable Ocean Fund to help fisheries, aquaculture, the seafood supply chain and coastal development, mainly in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The EIB is using its Climate Action and Environmental Facility for this financing. This facility is dedicated to projects that address climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as biodiversity and environment protection.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced a EUR 30 million loan agreement to the Amadéite Group, a French mid-cap company Amadéite - a pioneer in the field of marine biotechnology. The company develops algae-based health and nutrition solutions for animals, plants and humans, which help to limit the proliferation of algae and reduce the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics. Growth in algae hurts coastal environments as well as tourism. The loan is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments. This fund was started by the EIB and the European Commission to increase investment in areas such as digital technology, transport, renewable energy and innovation.

Australia announced EUR 10 million for the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), launched in 2006 as a national collaborative research infrastructure. IMOS routinely operates a wide range of observing equipment throughout Australia's coastal and open oceans, making all of its data accessible to the users.

Australia announced EUR 2 million (AUD 3 million) for the Blue Economy Challenge and "Aquacelerator" accelerator program to support the aquaculture industry, develop local economies across the Indian Ocean region and connect inspiring innovators with the networks capable of turning their ideas into reality.

Belgium announced the revision of its national marine spatial plan for the Belgian part of the North Sea. This revision is undertaken in order for the plan to be as up-to-date as possible and to ensure the coordination of decisions having a spatial impact on the Belgian marine waters with all stakeholders.

The Cook Islands announced to become 100% reliant on renewable energy by 2020. They have already achieved their target of 50% since 2015.

Denmark announced they will develop its first maritime spatial plan through collaboration in the public sector and with involvement of the private sector and other relevant stakeholder groups. With the release of the first draft plan in 2019, expected benefits will include promotion of blue growth through greater clarity on future sustainable development and distribution of marine space and resources among existing and emerging markets and activities.

France announced its commitment to double the current volume of blue economy activities to EUR 104 billion and bring the number of jobs up to 600,000 over the next ten years. To support this objective, France has developed a method, based on a public-private partnership involving public authorities and the private sector.

France reaffirmed its commitment to develop a national strategy combining the implementation of the EU marine framework directive and the EU maritime spatial planning directive, reflecting and reconciling both environmental and economic development strategies along each of their four maritime facades.

France announced that it will ratify the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F) by 2019. This is part of France's commitment to improve working conditions and training in the shipping and fisheries sectors.

Indonesia announced EUR 85 million in support of the establishment of an Archipelagic and Island States Forum to strengthen cooperation among Archipelagic and Island States on the issue of blue economy, and climate adaptation.

Indonesia announced a commitment of EUR 85,000 to develop several Special Integrated Blue Economic Development Zones. These projects will promote sustainable development through different initiatives based on blue economy principles. This will be related to its EcoPort project. Indonesia also announced that it will develop 200 fisher's villages and 416 fisheries port.

Ireland announced its commitment to invest EUR 1 million over the period 2018-2021 into R&D to help ensure future food and nutrition security and the sustainable supply for other high-added-value chains and products such as bioenergy, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics from algae.

Ireland announced EUR 1 million funding towards research vessel ship time per annum from 2018-2021 to activities agreed under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) - Galway Statement implementation, notably seabed mapping & ocean observation. Data from these activities will be open access.

Ireland announced that it will invest EUR 4 million per annum to a world class programme of seabed mapping (INFOMAR). Ireland has to date committed some EUR 50 million to this programme. This data feeds directly into the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODNnet) and helps support AORA.

Malta announced the establishment of a new government body, with the remit of studying, protecting, preserving, managing and educating on the country's rich underwater cultural heritage with a budget of EUR 1.6 million over 3 years.

Malta announced the launch of the Small States Centre of Excellence that will provide practical support to government administrations of small states to attain the Sustainable Development Goals under Agenda 2030. The Centre will provide relevant knowledge based tools, practical solutions and share best practices to leverage a collective synergy, catalysing the development of small states in the context of their individual limited resources. This will be done primarily through the use of the Internet and online based services. The website will be designed around the universally-accepted UN SDG Knowledge Platforms, particularly SDG goal 14.1 and 14.2 (marine pollution and marine protected areas).

Mauritius reaffirmed its commitment to elaborate by 2021 a Marine Spatial Plan for the maritime zones of Mauritius to sustainably and effectively manage the conflict of uses in its waters.

Mauritius announced it will launch in 2018 an ocean data management project to improve data accessibility and provide a temporal and spatial perspective for the sustainable development of the ocean and its resources. The project is expected to complete in 2022 and is part of a substantial effort to harmonise and standardise ocean data so as to allow dissemination to the largest community possible.

Portugal announced it will increase by 2020 funding of deep-sea scientific research, including on seabed mining, with the creation of the Atlantic Observatory (based on the Azores) and the participation on the JPI Oceans Initiative.

Portugal reaffirmed its commitment to develop Maritime Spatial Plans (MSP) by 2020, covering the entire area under Portuguese jurisdiction and using ecosystem-based approaches.

Portugal reaffirmed its commitment to raise international awareness regarding "Oceans and Human Health" (already implemented and achieved through the organization of the International Ministerial Meeting of the Oceans Meeting 2017, in Lisbon, 7-8 September).

Spain announced its commitment to develop and boost the sustainability of the blue economy by (1) financing at least 20 projects per year on this issue, (2) engaging 10,000 volunteers in coastal areas for clean-ups, (3) creating a national citizen science marine program, (4) supporting 1,000 entrepreneurs and (5) fostering the creation of 100 new enterprises and business lines linked to the blue economy framework. Lastly, different awareness raising actions on the marine protected areas' value will be carried out to reach 7 million Spanish (15% of Spanish population) by 2024.

The United Kingdom announced EUR 9.1 million (GBP 8 million) between 2017 and 2018 to support Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to preserve their marine environments and tap into maritime resources to catalyse economic development in a sustainable way across Commonwealth countries. This is an addition to a package of EUR 6.3 million (GBP 5.6 million) announced in November 2015.

The United States announced that it has provided a 50% loan portfolio guarantee to Althelia's Sustainable Ocean Fund through USAID's Development Credit Authority for up to EUR 42 million (USD 50 million) in private debt investments in sustainable fisheries, supply chain improvement, and marine conservation. The Fund plans to invest in 10-20 sustainable businesses and organizations throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The capital provided will help businesses create operational and behavioral change for sustainable fisheries activities, which will generate long-term revenue streams for those involved in the fishing industry and help improve coastal ecosystems.

The United States announced a partnership with the Walton Family Foundation to jointly support long-term conservation work in the biologically-rich Bird's Head Seascape area of the West Papua and Papua provinces of Indonesia through an anticipated EUR 4.2 million (USD 5 million), three-year grant to the Blue Abadi Fund. This fund will link various donors with the government of Indonesia.

The region of West Sweden (Region Västra Götaland) announced that it has joined forces with local maritime business and research in a maritime cluster to strengthen the region's blue economy. The purpose of the cluster is to increase innovation and business development in the maritime sector through increased contact and collaboration. The cluster is to support marine governance, maritime operations and technology, marine biotechnology, marine energy, seafood and maritime tourism and recreation and is part of the regional action plan for a sustainable maritime sector. The action plan runs until 2019 and has an indicative budget of EUR 5.3 million (SEK 54 million).

FAO announced to invest more than EUR 422,000 (USD 500,000) through at inter-regional TCP called the Blue Hope Project that will initially involve 3 coastal countries along the Mediterranean (Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey) under its Blue Growth Initiative. The project will focus on building coastal community resilience through improved technical capacity among government agencies and communities to sustainably manage their coastal resources, especially inshore fisheries, thus improving their food security and their livelihood opportunities as well as their capacity to respond to drivers of change such as climate and migration.

The ILO announced that it will expand upon its activities for the promotion of the ratification and implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006), including the widespread acceptance of the amendments of 2014 and 2016 as well as the ongoing work on the protection of seafarers' wages in case of piracy and armed robbery against ships at sea. In the next five years, the ILO supervisory bodies will examine the conformity with the Convention of laws and regulations of member States representing around 90 per cent of the world fleet and employing almost 1 million seafarers.

IOC-UNESCO reaffirmed its commitment to dedicate EUR 3,815,564 (USD 4.5 million) for implementing two key initiatives for strengthening Coastal and Marine Ecosystem-based management through knowledge and information tools by March 2021: (i) With the support of the GEF the project "Strengthening Global Governance of Large Marine Ecosystems and Their Coasts through Enhanced Sharing and Application of LME/ICM/MPA Knowledge and Information Tools" or LME:Learn at a global scale; (ii) With the support of the Government of Flanders, Kingdom of Belgium the project "Implementation of an integrated approach to coastal and marine ecosystems for sustainable blue growth in the Southeast Pacific" or SPINCAM3 at regional scale. The objective of these two initiatives is to develop a harmonized coastal and marine environmental management framework for the beneficiary countries and large marine ecosystems, thereby providing the right tools to apply the ecosystem approach in their national waters, while also providing a foundation for planning sustainable economic development (blue growth) through inter-institutional capacity-building, which will translate into concrete recommendations and strategies at the regional level.

The United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and International Seabed Authority (ISA) reaffirmed that during the period 2017-2018 they will hold a series of capacity building meetings/summits/workshops on Blue Economy in the Pacific which will further explore and highlight the potential contribution of the deep-sea mining industry to support national and regional development priorities. This is part of the on-going partnership between ISA, UN DESA and Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) to promote capacity building initiative for PSIDS.

The forty-three Union for the Mediterranean countries announced the launching of the Virtual Knowledge Centre (VKC) on Blue Economy, as a regional networking platform on marine and maritime affairs, with a view to consolidating the Mediterranean Blue Economy community by the end of 2018.

The World Bank announced a total of EUR 296 million (USD 352.5 million) over the next six years to advance the sustainable oceans and Blue Economy agenda in developing countries. This includes EUR 102 million (USD 121.4 million) to improve the management of fisheries in the South West Indian Ocean region (Madagascar, Seychelles, Maldives and the Indian Ocean Commission), with co-financing from the Global Environment Facility and Japan; EUR 34 million (USD 40 million) to innovate fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Peru; EUR 126 million (USD 150 million) for Vietnam to enhance coastal resilience; EUR 20 million (USD 23.6 million) for the Marshall Islands to strengthen early warning systems, support climate resilient investments in shoreline protection, and assist with crisis and emergency responses; EUR 15 million (USD 17.5 million) to improve solid waste management in the Maldives; and technical assistance (with financial support from Denmark) to help Indonesia develop an action plan to reduce marine plastic pollution.

Althelia Ecosphere, Aviva Investors, the BPCE Group, the European Investment Bank, Seventure Partners, Willis Towers Watson and the World Bank announced their participation in a partnership to support the development of a sustainable blue economy. Contributing towards this goal, they agreed to develop a set of sustainability principles that will guide investment and financing decisions in the 'blue economy', with a view to announcing these principles in 2018. They are also willing to engage with other financial institutions and economic players to promote this partnership. This partnership is supported by the European Commission, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Prince of Wales's International Sustainability Unit.

Calysta is an innovator in sustainable products for the aquaculture industry. FeedKind® protein is a safe, natural, sustainable and traceable ingredient that provides a healthy alternative to wild catch-derived fishmeal. Calysta reaffirmed that annual production of FeedKind® protein will reach 20,000 tons by 2019 and 200,000 tons by 2024 without negatively impacting agricultural or water resources on land. Increased use of this type of feed in aquaculture can reduce fishing pressure on wild fish, leaving them to support the oceans natural ecosystems.

Conservation International announced that they are developing a Blue Accelerator Fund, an investment vehicle designed to support enterprises operating within the marine fisheries, aquaculture, marine tourism, and other ocean-related industries. Impact finance has the potential to accelerate and scale conservation outcomes, but is limited by the 'investment readiness' of enterprises which often lack key technical capacities, operational maturity, or sufficient commercial track record. The Accelerator Fund will address this gap by providing critical bridge financing and linking enterprises with investors, technical expertise, and markets for sustainable products and services. The Accelerator Fund aims to unlock larger-scale private capital investment by working with partners from initiation to exit, and will support protection of natural capital stocks and sustainable livelihoods in these critical sectors.

The Natural Capital Coalition and Conservation International announced they are building a coalition of organisations to produce an Oceans Supplement to the Natural Capital Protocol - an established framework for businesses to evaluate their impacts and dependencies on nature - by 2018. The Supplement will help a diverse set of companies to assess how their businesses depend on healthy oceans, identifying cost savings, new business lines, and improved access to financing; anticipating regulatory changes; and aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This process will receive inputs from corporate, finance, civil society and government partners, as well as leaders from ocean-based initiatives. The Coalition, which evolved from the TEEB for Business Coalition, is a diverse partnership of almost 250 organizations including businesses such as Dow Chemicals, Skanska, and Walmart. Total resources of EUR 800,000 (USD 960,000) are needed to successfully deliver this project. In-kind resources of EUR 250,000 (USD 300,000) have already been committed.

DNV GL announced, in line with its vision of "Global impact for a Safe and Sustainable future", to address global aquaculture challenges related to competition for space, fish health and welfare, feed efficiency and environmental concerns by funding a dedicated research program of EUR 1 million for sustainable aquaculture, in co-operation with the industry. Their research will focus on how a digital transformation can make aquaculture more sustainable by providing advanced insight into both technical and biological performance. DNV GL also announced to make the main results of this research program publicly available by the end of 2018.

DONG Energy Wind Power U.S. announced that by 2020 it aims to have doubled its installed capacity compared with 2016 from 3.0 GW to 6.5 GW. DONG Energy, through its transformation from a coal-intensive utility to a global leader in renewable energy, is currently pursuing the development of two utility-scale projects in the U.S as well as a 12 MW project with Dominion Energy in VA.

Environmental Law Institute announced a research project on assessing legal options for the use of next generation sequencing and environmental DNA for conducting environmental impact assessments of open water aquaculture facilities and deep seabed mining operations, in cooperation with the University of Geneva. The project is developed with a EUR 50,000 grant from the Swiss Network for International Studies.

Federazione Imprese and CONFALIS, representing more than 30,000 companies with 200 Italian branches and 300,000 operators, announced the launch of the Foundation CSMARE in July 2017, as a specifically purpose-designed tool of private origin and public partnership for the promotion and support of strategic actions aiming at reducing pollution and preserving maritime ecosystem. Federazione Imprese and CONFALIS allocated EUR 15 million by 2022 to the Foundation for activities related to alternative fuels for the maritime transport, namely LNG and bio-LNG, the latter in particular produced from urban wastes and waste products of fish supply chain and agriculture.

HAROPA, the alliance of ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris announced the commitment to improve its waste management and circular economy strategy by 2020, by ensuring the removal of all floating wastes from its ports and by establishing in the new fluvial Platform of the Port of Paris in Achères a sustainable logistic chain through waterway (instead of road). Being part of the Great Paris project, the chain aims to carry between 15 and 20 million cubic meter of building materials and building wastes.

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) community and the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre announced that by 2017 9 leading oil and gas companies (IOGP members) are voluntarily participating in the Proteus Partnership initiated by 5 companies in 2003. The partnership supports biodiversity information development that becomes accessible to the wider conservation and scientific community. The Oil & Gas sector contribution supports the accuracy and completeness of information in the World Database on Protected Areas, supports the identification and assessment of marine biodiversity features and improves the availability of information on coastal and marine biodiversity to the benefit of the conservation and scientific community.

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) announced that version 2 of its Seabed Survey Data Model (SSDM) was launched in June 2017. Designed in 2011 and built on decades of oil & gas industry surveys, the data model is now freely and widely available as a global standard for marine survey data, benefitting companies and organisations beyond the oil & gas sector. Available in open standard "geodatabase" format, the model includes provision for data such as bathymetric, seabed morphology, natural and man-made hazards, soil & environmental samples, and also shallow sub-seabed geological information.

Under the framework of the Intergovernmental Joint Programming Initiative JPI Oceans; Germany, Norway, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands, announced to commit to a second phase of research funds of approximately EUR 7 million in 2018 and to provide ship time to study the impacts of marine mineral mining. This research will advance the scientific knowledge on deep-sea ecosystems, providing a scientific basis for assessing of the environmental impacts and risks of future seabed mineral extraction and continue to inform the establishment of a framework of best environmental practices for the management of potential seabed mining operations under the auspices of the International Seabed Authority.

Under the framework of the Intergovernmental Joint Programming Initiative JPI Oceans; Germany, Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, South Africa in partnership with the European Commission (via its Research and Innovation Programme H2020), announced to commit research funding of up to EUR 30 million to marine and maritime technology development in a first call. In 2018 the partnership, "MarTERA", will fund the development of environmentally friendly maritime technologies, novel materials and structures, sensors, automation, monitoring and observations, advanced manufacturing and production, safety and security.

Under the framework of the Intergovernmental Joint Programming Initiative JPI Oceans 17 European countries announced, to have the ambition to commit at least EUR 30 million in partnership with the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme by 2019 to fund research and innovation that will support the development of a sustainable and climate-friendly blue bioeconomy, targeting zero waste, production, harvest and exploitation of aquatic biomass for use in food and other bio-based value chains.

LAGOSTA, an aquaculture and seafood company, announced its commitment to become 100 percent independent from fossil fuels by the end of 2020. In this regard, it will implement an operational ocean thermal energy system by the end of 2017. Other renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, will be considered and discussed with local authorities early 2018.

LAGOSTA announced its commitment to use new feed formulations containing algae and insects for its spiny lobster cultivation by mid-2018 in order to reduce wild marine protein source for growing its spiny lobsters.

LAGOSTA announced it will develop by 2019 a program to extract chitin and chitosan from the spiny lobsters raised in aquaculture. These bioactive ingredients present exceptional chemical and biological qualities that can be used in many industrial and medical applications, including cartilage tissue engineering, orthopaedic applications, antibacterial agent, adjuvant for vaccines, skin regenerative properties, bio surgery and ophthalmology, drug delivery and cell therapy.

Oceans X Labs, a joint initiative of WWF and Conservation X Labs, announced the commitment to identify, incubate, and accelerate 50 new innovative products over the next year starting in the areas of aquaculture, fisheries, and engineering resilience to climatic changes. These products would transform ocean conservation, with an improvement in performance, cost, scalability and sustainability of ten times compared to the past. The initiative aims that at least five innovations (10% of the total) receive follow-up investment, become profitable or get acquired in the first three years.

The Maritime Alliance announced a commitment of EUR 84,000 (USD 100,000) over the next 12 months to develop workforce development materials, produce job profile videos, and launch a Blue Jobs website to inform youth and their parents about jobs in the growing Blue Economy. The Maritime Alliance also announced that in partnership with the BlueTech Cluster Alliance, 9 leading BlueTech clusters in 7 countries, it has embarked on a capacity building effort that will work with at least two developing countries to organize clusters in 2018.

The Nature Conservancy announced that it will continue its work on innovative finance for the oceans. Following its successful model in the Seychelles, the Nature Conservancy is developing debt conversion programs including in the Caribbean, with an expectation to close new transactions in 2018. Financed by a Blue Bond with impact capital raised from private investors, and supported by credit guarantees, these efforts would target more than 200,000 square kilometres of new MPAs and upwards of USD 200 million in funding for their management and adaptation to climate change. Furthermore, The Nature Conservancy will actively explore new opportunities in regions such as the Indian and Pacific Oceans to leverage these financing solutions at a global scale.

The Nature Conservancy announced an investment of EUR 16.8 million (USD 20 million) until 2022 to map the value of the oceans. Measuring value is crucial for stakeholders to understand how much they depend on ocean health, and thus to encourage appropriate management strategies.

The Nature Conservancy announced the development of an insurance product to protect a 30 KM long coral reef along the Mexican coast. The reef plays a key role in ensuring sustainability in the Mexican tourism sector. According to the Nature Conservancy, at least 102 nations and territories depend on coral reefs for income e.g. tourism and/or for protection e.g. from floods and tidal waves.

Naval Energies announced that the world's first tidal turbine plant in Cherbourg will be operational in 2018 and will create 40 direct jobs, embodying the start of the industrial phase of ocean energies. With a maximum production capacity of 25 turbines per year, the future plant will ensure the assembly and maintenance of pre-commercial and future commercial arrays in France. It will also operate as an industrial base for other pre-commercial projects around the world.

Naval Energies announced that it is committed to deploy up to 35 tidal turbines by 2020, in Canada, Japan, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom, representing 70MW. These first arrays will be a clear milestone in the development of the tidal energy technology and launch the commercial roll-out of the marine renewable energies sector. That will contribute to reach EU targets for renewable energy production.

Naval Energies announced that it will also continue to develop sustainable ocean energy solutions for Islands energy security, investing in ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) to produce non intermittent marine renewable energy for tropical regions and offshore floating wind for extreme sea conditions. Naval Energies is committed to carry out OTEC projects in French overseas territories (Martinique, la Réunion, Tahiti, Mayotte), Caribbean Islands and South East Asia.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced a new partnership on ocean conservation, grounded in ambitious and measurable sustainability targets. As a result of this partnership, RCL will by 2020 reduce by 35 percent its greenhouse gas emissions from a 2005 baseline; increase the procurement of sustainable seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (to 65% by 2020) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (to 75% by 2020); offer education to its 60,000 crew members and 5 million guests on ocean conservation; and offer 1,000 tours certified to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council standard to consumers visiting RCL's 500 worldwide ports of call. This partnership will also support the development and implementation of sustainable tourism guidelines for shark and ray tour operators as well as community-based whale shark ecotourism in Donsol, a Philippines coastal village.

SeaEurope, the European maritime technology industry sector, announced the launch of a 4 years campaign from June 2018 to deploy, demonstrate and promote on-board and on-shore ballast water treatment solutions. With EUR 500 million of investment, the campaign aims to promote the implementation of the IMO Ballast Water Convention earlier than in 2024, by showcasing industry's early movers and virtuous conduct. Although the campaign has a worldwide reach, in 2018-2019 it will focus on the EU sea basins. The development of the campaign will be monitored through Key Performance Indicators such as number of systems retrofitted and volumes of untreated ballast water discharged averted from existing ships.

The Sustainable Oceans Alliance (SOA) announced EUR 4.27 million (USD 5 million) for the launch of the SOA Ocean Solutions Accelerator, a global program created to help young entrepreneurs build and scale ocean-focused start-up companies. The program will give young entrepreneurs access to skill-building workshops, funding opportunities, introductions to field experts, partners, mentors, and investors, as well as a platform to showcase their ventures on a global scale.

Technopole Brest-Iroise announced that it will organise the second annual Ocean Hackathon. This weekend coding contest will be held on 13-15 October 2017. It includes several challenges encouraging the development of tools for all ocean users (not only professionals). Ocean Hackathon teams are made up of people with diverse professional backgrounds including experts in ocean, in law, in ICT and business development. More information is available online at www.ocean-hackathon.fr

Wind Europe announced that by the end of 2017 the wind industry will install and grid-connect 3.1 GW of capacity, worth EUR 5.9 billion. In the following two years the wind industry will add another 7.2 GW worth EUR 18.7 billion in investments. In 2020 the cumulative capacity will reach almost 23 GW, enough to power nearly 22 million households with renewable electricity and to avoid 53 Mt of CO2 in a normal wind year.

The World Ocean Council announced that it will develop a cross-sectoral marine industry leadership alliance for the Mediterranean - the Blue Economy Leadership Alliance for the Mediterranean Sea. The WOC will provide as of 2019 the secretariat EUR 84,500 (USD 100,000).

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) announced the launch of One Ocean under the high patronage of Princess Zahra Aga Khan. One Ocean Forum aims at becoming a driving force for local and international initiatives related to ocean sustainability engaging stakeholders from different backgrounds. One Ocean Forum will become a regular yearly event, with one concrete outcome Charta Smeralda which will commit signatories to identify actions to minimise impacts on the marine environment, and propose solutions to ocean issues.

The European Union announced that will continue supporting maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, including through the Gulf of Guinea Inter-Regional Network and the launch of two new programmes: the SWAIMS programme (Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security), worth EUR 29 million, and the programme to improving port security in West and Central Africa, worth EUR 8.5 million.

The European Union announced that it will provide EUR 1 million in 2017 to support the upgrading of the ICT systems of EU maritime authorities and facilitate cooperation between them. Furthermore, the European Union announced that it will contribute EUR 80,000 to facilitate cooperation between coastguard authorities in Europe.

The European Union announced to commit EUR 37.5 million to ensure maritime security and countering piracy along the south-eastern African coastline and in the Indian Ocean. The funds are to be implemented by four regional organisations (IGAD, COMESA, EAC and IOC) in cooperation with UNODC, INTERPOL and FAO. The programme supports alternative livelihood initiatives in the coastal pirate areas of Somalia, investigation capacities at national and regional level, prison reforms, prosecution and judicial capacity, disruption of illegal financial flows, combating money laundering and various other maritime tasks, in addition to a regional mechanism for the coordination and exchange of maritime information.

The European Union announced the launch of a prototype surveillance tool in September 2017 which detects ships to reveal the extent of human activities at sea. The 'Search for Unidentified Maritime Objects' tool, or 'SUMO' for short, is a piece of software that automatically analyses data from radar imaging satellites to find vessels as small as 1 metre long, even in cloudy conditions or at night. The SUMO tool is open source, to promote uptake by users and developers and facilitate international cooperation on mapping of ship routes, monitoring shipping intensity, identifying polluting ships, monitoring fishing activities, countering piracy and smuggling, and controlling maritime borders.

The European Union announced that it will invest EUR 4 million in its satellite monitoring programme (Copernicus) in 2017 to support EU agencies and EU Member States in monitoring oil pollution and large-scale commercial fisheries (including the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing) in the Northwest Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the North Sea, the Black Sea, the Pacific Ocean and around the Canary Islands. Copernicus will also introduce new services to support law enforcement and navigation safety in ice-infested areas.

Australia announced EUR 1.3 million (USD 1.6 million) for the Pacific Maritime Boundaries Project which aims to assist Pacific island countries (PICs) to secure maritime jurisdictional rights consistent with international law. Running from 2017 to 2020, the project will focus on two main areas: technical and legal support to the Pacific Community (SPC) and PICs to finalise outstanding Pacific maritime boundaries and limits; and establishing an administrative infrastructure and capability required for boundary dissemination and which also supports the efficient use of marine space and the resolution of conflicts between users.

France announced it will implement a maritime Passenger Name Record (PNR) by summer 2019 to strengthen the monitoring and control of flows which have security implications.

France announced EUR 1,600,000 for its Environmental Security Preventive Measures program in order to address the critical ecological vulnerabilities in the Asia-Pacific Region. Four major projects will be part of this program - a geopolitical observatory of climate change impacts- a lecture series on environmental security- the implementation of a scientific method to establish the current status of the marine ecosystems in the Asia-Pacific region- a scientific initiative to improve the anticipation related to tropical cyclones in this zone.

Indonesia announced the Regional Cooperation Agreement's initiative to address crimes linked to the fisheries sector in the South East Asian Region such as money laundering, tax crime, corruption, human rights abuses, arms trafficking and illicit drugs trafficking

Italy announced the national maritime surveillance operation, Operazione Mare Sicuro, involving in the central Mediterranean Sea up to four Naval Units, airborne patrollers and 700 military personnel, for an overall economic effort of about EUR 84 million to be extended in 2018. The operation will carry out activities of protection and security of the maritime environment, ensuring freedom of navigation and protecting vessels involved in migrant rescue operations.

Italy announced that it will provide Operation EUNAVFORMED Sophia, currently under its command, until December 2018, one Navy unit, up to 200 military personnel and training for Libyan Coast Guard personnel, for an overall economic effort of EUR 43 million. The operation carries out activities countering human trafficking networks in the central Mediterranean Sea.

Italy announced that its Coast Guard will conduct within 2018 the EU-funded feasibility study for the full design of an Interagency National Coordination Centre under the control of the Ministry of Interior and a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre under the control of the Ministry of Defense. Italy will also provide assistance to the Libyan authorities in providing the Libyan Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre with adequate Standard Operation Procedures.

Italy announced a training program to be carried out within 2018 for up to 140 Libyan Ministry of Interior Coastal Police officers, and will provide up to six patrol boats to the Libyan Coastal Police.

Italy announced a EUR 200 million fund for the implementation in 2017 of extraordinary short-term measures to increase bilateral cooperation with a number of African countries involved in illegal migration flows, at sea as well as on land to address the root causes of cross-sea migrations, including assistance to Tunisian authorities on maritime border control training and maintenance of naval assets.

Italy announced that it will support, in the 2017-2018 timeframe, Operation Sea Guardian, a NATO Maritime security operation focused on the Mediterranean Sea, with one Naval Unit, one maritime patrol helicopter and a submarine, for an overall economic effort of EUR 17.5 million.

Italy announced that it will support, until December 2018, Operation Atalanta, a EU counterpiracy operation focused on the Horn of Africa, providing the flagship and about 200 military personnel, for an overall economic effort of EUR 26.8 million.

Italy announced that would invest around EUR 1 billion in over the next five years within its development program of satellite systems and applications in Earth Observation and Communication, with particular reference to its COSMO-SkyMed flagship program. The program includes the provision of an enhanced maritime situational awareness platform to improve reaction capabilities in combating cross-border crime, tackling irregular migration and preventing loss of migrant lives at sea, focusing in particular on non-cooperative vessels.

Japan reaffirmed its commitment to disaster risk reduction (DRR) cooperation totalling EUR 3.6 billion (USD 4 billion) and to training of 40,000 personnel by the end of 2018, which includes projects for strengthening disaster risk management, enhancing capacity on weather observation and monitoring for earthquake, tsunami and flood, and earthquake early warming.

Japan announced allocation of EUR 11.8 million (USD 13 million) in 2017 to fund the activities to enhance awareness of Tsunami in collaboration with the international organizations such as UNISDR, UNDP and UNITAR as well as with JICA. The activities from April 2017 to March 2018 are related to "World Tsunami Awareness Day," established by the UN General Assembly resolution.

Japan announced its commitment to fight piracy and armed robbery against ships through cooperation with UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). In 2017 Japan contributed almost EUR 20.8 million (USD 23 million) to UNODC, a 42.5% increase compared to 2016 (footnote: This contribution is not limited to ocean-related activities).

The Japan Coast Guard announced allocation of approximately EUR 633,000 (USD 700,000) for the period between April 2017 and March 2018 for the cooperation with and the assistance to its counterparts in Asia. One important example of this cooperation is "Coast Guard Global Summit" that took place on September 14, 2017. The Heads of Coastguards from 38 countries, region, and international organizations, from Asia, Oceania, the Americas, Europe, Africa and other regions in the world gathered in Tokyo. This is the first Summit of this kind.

Norway announced an initiative of NOK 39.6 million - approximately EUR 4.3 million - to combat transnational organised fisheries crime in cooperation with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. As part of this effort, Norway also supports the Interpol Fisheries Crime Working group. The project will run from 2017 to 2020.

The Seychelles announced to develop a National Maritime Security Strategy by 2018.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime announced that they will provide support through the Global Maritime Crime Programme to five member states covering West and East Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean in 2018 in conducting sea operations with the use of satellite imageries to ensure more efficient and specific targeting of unlawful behaviour and crime occurring at sea. These sea operations will increase the maritime law enforcement capacity of those countries by EUR 425,600 and allow for more cost efficient and targeted responses to such activities at sea.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime announced FishNET, a four-year EUR 4 million programme launched in January 2017 to address associated crimes in the fisheries value chain. This will be achieved through legislative reviews, the development of resource guides and capacity building activities to strengthen the developing countries' criminal justice response and law enforcement capacity.

Airbus announced that it is designing, building and will operate an entirely funded new constellation of four Very High-Resolution optical satellites to be launched from mid-2020. This new constellation will enable the growth of its maritime surveillance capacities worldwide in order to become the Primary Commercial Maritime Domain Awareness services operator and system provider. Combining its proprietary-data with all other available maritime sources such AIS, VMS or MetOcean models, Airbus is building on its expertise on big data, machine learning and predictive analysis, in order to support the maritime industry to increase knowledge, anticipate threats, trigger alerts and suspicious behaviour and improve efficiency at sea. Airbus is therefore supporting governments to protect their Exclusive Economic Zone and private companies to secure their fleets against potential threats or source of illegal activities such as illegal fishing, smuggling or piracy.

Iridium Satellite announced its commitment to operate a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) from 2020. This two-way safety communications system will aid in the coordination of urgent response to ships in distress. It also enables provision of information to ships about the safety of navigation, enabling cleaner and more efficient voyages.

Iridium Satellite announced its commitment to help to protect the marine environment by providing Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) services that can be used for identifying cases of pollution and unlicensed fishing, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications for real-time monitoring of oceanographic data, and related satellite-based services used in tracking marine hazards. In addition, Fisheries Vessel Monitoring Services (VMS) and Electronic Reporting Systems (ERS) will support catch reporting, which plays an important role in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) announced the establishment of a facility of up to EUR 830,000 (USD 1 million) to provide satellite services related to vessel detection. This will enable KSAT to assist agencies working on IUU fishing and threats to maritime security around the world. By combining data from a variety of satellite sensors and delivering the extracted information in near real time, KSAT is able to provide accurate and timely overview reports showing vessel activity across a large area of ocean, particularly highlighting those vessels which may be seeking to evade detection. Interested parties shall take the initiative to request this service.

Oceans Beyond Piracy, along with partner organizations OEF Research and Secure Fisheries have committed EUR 1.6 million (USD 2 million) over the next four years to produce a collaborative annual report an website on maritime security and governance entitled "Stable Seas" (stableseas.org). This annual report is intended to support coastal states in their efforts to counter illicit maritime activity in their waters, reduce violence at sea, and protect ocean resources.

Satlink announced that by 2020 its electronic monitoring software will be extensively enhanced for better fisheries control with image processing and the development of more filters in its video analysis for land-based observers. This will facilitate footage review, including potential discarding situations. It will further develop species' recognition in its satellite echo-sounder buoys to avoid bycatch.

Stop Illegal Fishing, on behalf of the FISH-i Africa Task Force, announced the launch of a programme of VIGILANCE in the Western Indian Ocean. This will be a robust assessment of all industrial fishing vessels licensed to fish by FISH-i members to assess the legality of their identity, history, ownership and management. This is in response to the systematic illegalities and criminal offences identified by FISH-i Africa investigations. This commitment will cover around 500 fishing vessels and will be completed by 2022, and is supported by the FISH-i Africa operational Task Force drawn from the eight member countries of Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Thales Alenia Space and its partners with the support of France announced that they will be investing EUR 26 million over 4 years to support the development of Stratobus - an autonomous stratospheric airship. The first flight of Stratobus is foreseen for early 2021. Stratobus will perform a wide range of missions ranging from (1) the detection of illegal activities such as illegal fishing and illegal ballast water discharge to (2) environmental monitoring such as marine pollution and the detection of harmful algae blooms and (3) maritime security such as search and rescue detection, anti-piracy, smuggling and migration. Various techniques and systems will be used: hyperspectral sensors and a radar/optical/AIS/VDES mission package.

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