Ospar Commission
Friday Ocean Findings Issue 48: Merry Christmas
As another busy year for the OSPAR and Bonn Agreement Secretariat draws to a close, we’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

This year saw the publication of OSPAR's Quality Status Report 2023, the most authoritative assessment of the whole North-East Atlantic, reflecting the collective work of the 16 Contracting Parties to the OSPAR Convention, scientists, experts and their institutions, and the OSPAR Secretariat. Work also continued within OSPAR on implementing our North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy (NEAES) 2030, our roadmap to achieving our vision of a clean, healthy and biologically diverse North-East Atlantic Ocean, which is productive, used sustainably and resilient to climate change and ocean acidification.

The Bonn Agreement, the mechanism by which ten Governments, together with the EU, cooperate in dealing with pollution of the North Sea by oil and other harmful substances, was similarly busy. BONN continues to implement the Bonn Agreement Strategic Action Plan 2019-2025 to achieve a clean Greater North Sea without accidental and illegal pollution from shipping and other maritime activities.
NEAES 2030 progress report

OSPAR has published its first report to Ministers on progress in the implementation of the North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy (NEAES) 2030. Substantial progress has been made in turning the Strategy’s strategic and operational objectives into specific actions and in adapting our ways of working to meet new challenges. The necessary management tools have been put into place to enable the OSPAR Commission to track the implementation of the NEAES and report back to Ministers and to all our stakeholders.

This short report summarises the progress we have made in the first two years of the NEAES 2030 and sets out our priorities up until 2025.

Regional priorities

The Bonn Agreement continues updating and sharing its regional priorities, some of which are published on the website for the scientific community to develop their own initiatives.

The Bonn Agreement continues making progress on its new scope of work regarding the cooperation on surveillance in respect of the requirements of Annex VI to the MARPOL Convention with two groups working on a project proposal on developing a compliance monitoring strategy for MARPOL Annex VI on the Bonn Agreement area.

The Oil Spill Identification Network (OSINet) in providing mutual assistance and promoting quality assurance has resumed work under the leadership of Germany and the Netherlands.

OSPAR's Coordination Group (CoG)

CoG met this week in London and online. CoG's role is to guide the work of OSPAR by making sure that all elements for delivering the ecosystem approach are taken into account, including integrated management of human activities, weighting of priorities and resource implications. CoG discussed the update of OSPAR's Joint assessment and monitoring programme (JAMP), the work of our committees, and intersessional work on cumulative effects assessment, climate change and ocean acidification.

OSPAR Heads of Delegation (HoD)

OSPAR's HoD met this week. In what was a very busy meeting, our HoDs discussed how OSPAR could respond to a series of new and growing pressures on the marine environment including offshore renewables, aquaculture, rocket launches, geoengineering and deep seabed mining. The meeting also discussed issues related to OSPAR’s policy on the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas infrastructures and confirmed that the cell contents of concrete gravity-based structures should be removed. Preparations for the next Collective Arrangement meeting and OSPAR’s role in supporting the implementation of the BBNJ Agreement were also considered. Finally, HODs agreed on how to progress on OSPAR’s Arctic Outcomes work and in particular on how to identify potential action to support protection of the Arctic.

OSPAR's Quality Status Report 2023

A significant milestone has been reached this year with the publication of the Quality Status Report (QSR) 2023 – this is our most authoritative assessment yet of the state of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. While there are some positive indications, many of the findings of the QSR, most notably on the status of marine species and habitats are very concerning. This only reinforces the importance of implementing the present Strategy and of being prepared to adjust and agree new actions in the light of the QSR.

OSPAR's annual report

OSPAR has published its annual report detailing activities from July 2022 - September 2023.

As you will see, it has been another busy year for OSPAR. The report covers the key issues that the OSPAR Committees have considered and highlights the important achievements by OSPAR’s Contracting Parties over the last year.

OSPAR Commission
https://www.ospar.org/ | [email protected]
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