Hazardous Substances and Eutrophication Committee 2020
Spain had kindly offered to host OSPAR’s Hazardous Substances and Eutrophication Committee spring 2020 meeting, but then as with so many other aspects of our lives, Covid-19 intervened. A hastily redrafted and reduced agenda was prepared for a shorter online meeting via videoconference from 23 - 27 March 2020.
The Committee focused on developing and finalising deliverables for the OSPAR Ministerial meeting, the most important of which is OSPAR’s new North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy 2020-2030. HASEC finalised its proposals for operational objectives towards the Clean Seas theme and the Seas Resilient to Climate Change and Ocean Acidification theme of the Strategy.
HASEC decided to recommend OSPAR becomes a member of the High Ambition Alliance on chemicals and waste in support of an ambitious new global framework under the United Nations Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management beyond 2020. It will be an opportunity to influence the development of an ambitious global framework aiming to reduce the levels of hazardous substances in the ocean.
HASEC’s scientific expert groups have already made great progress in developing the assessments that will contribute to OSPAR Quality Status Report (QSR) 2023. There will be a suite of individual indicator assessments and over-arching thematic assessments on hazardous substances, eutrophication assessments and ocean acidification. In parallel the Secretariat has been carrying out technical work to prepare OSPAR’s Assessment Portal to host the QSR 2023.
The Chair of HASEC, Philip Axe (Sweden) has done an admirable job of leading HASEC since 2018 and Contracting Parties’ support for his continuation as Chair until 2022 was unanimous. We are all very happy for Philip’s ongoing guidance, support and leadership.
Finally, it was Richard Moxon’s (UK) final HASEC meeting, after many decades working in OSPAR in a variety of roles, including as the UK’s Head of Delegation. We are sorry to lose Richard’s wealth of experience and his good humoured and positive contributions, and all Contracting Parties wish him well in his retirement.
HASEC will hold a second Committee meeting in autumn 2020 to address the outstanding actions.