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Global Ocean Conservation

Volume 636: debated on Tuesday 20 February 2018

At the previous Foreign Office questions in January, I explained that the UK is leading by example on ocean conservation. The Government are on track to meet their manifesto blue belt pledge, which will deliver marine protection across nearly 4 million sq km of the waters around our overseas territories by 2020. Through the Commonwealth marine economies programme, we are working to enable small island Commonwealth states to conserve and use their maritime space sustainably.

In common with my constituents, I welcome the microbeads ban and other measures taken by the Government to protect the marine environment, but we need a global approach. What diplomatic steps is my right hon. Friend taking to engage with the United Nations and other countries to push the blue belt charter up the global agenda?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for recognising the steps that we have taken, such as on microbeads. As for her main point, we are closely involved in negotiations to develop a UN treaty on marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdictions. As chair of the Commonwealth for the next two years, we will work with member states to create a Commonwealth blue charter. In the G7, we are working closely with Canada during its presidency to deliver our shared ambition to tackle the threats facing our oceans.