12 March 2019
Jersey is this month hosting a multinational environmental conference which will see up to 50 delegates from across the North Atlantic coming together to shape the future of global marine environment policy.
The news comes as the Minquiers and Écréhous have been registered by inter-governmental organisation OSPAR as Marine Protected Areas, raising the international status of these reefs.
Since 1972 the OSPAR Convention has identified threats to the marine environment and has organised national programmes and measures to fight them. The OSPAR Commission, which implements international regulation to protect the environment, holds many conferences around the world, and has chosen to come to Jersey for its Biodiversity Committee meeting from Monday 25 March to Friday 29 March.
It is the first time Jersey is hosting OSPAR’s Biodiversity Committee meeting, which will set the commission’s targets for the next five to 10 years. Delegates from 10 countries, including representatives from Defra, Iceland and Spain, will join Jersey’s marine environment officials to set goals and agree commitments for governments across the North Atlantic. The agenda includes topics such as protection and conservation of species and habitats, the North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy 2010-2020, and marine protected areas.
The Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, said that the meeting would be an opportunity for delegates to find out about the many ways in which Jersey is having a positive impact on the marine environment.
“This event comes shortly after I was in Scotland for the British-Irish Council Marine Litter Symposium, at which I was able to talk about the pioneering research and field work at sea around Jersey, as well as the excellent environmental initiatives we run,” he said. “This will be another chance for us to play our part in identifying and tackling threats to the marine environment, as well as strengthening our links with OSPAR.”
Paul Chambers, Marine and Coastal Manager at the Growth, Housing and Environment Department, said that the conference would be an opportunity for OSPAR members to understand the lengths to which Jersey goes to protect and preserve the marine environment.
“We are very fortunate to be hosting this prestigious event,” he said. “It gives Jersey the opportunity to highlight recent advances in the management of our marine environment, in particular the creation of Marine Protected Areas covering parts of our coast and offshore reefs.
“As well as being a signatory to the OSPAR Convention, Jersey has ratified the convention’s annex on the conservation and protection of key marine habitats. This, as well as having the Minquiers and Écréhous accepted as part of OSPAR’s Marine Protected Areas network, strengthens our links with the multinational organisation.”
The OSPAR Biodiversity Committee meeting takes place at Grand Jersey from Monday 25 March to Friday 29 March.