Marine Institute welcomes Minister Cannon’s commitments of €6 million in funding for Seabed Mapping and Marine Research announced at the Our Ocean conference in Malta
World leaders make over four hundred commitments towards developing opportunities for cooperation, innovation and entrepreneurship in transforming the challenges facing the seas and ocean at the fourth Our Ocean international conference, which was recently (5th - 6th October) hosted by the European Union, in Malta.
The international Our Ocean conferences have been instrumental in raising the profile of hard actions required in the marine sector involving marine protected areas, climate change, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, marine security as well as developing a sustainable blue economy, at a national and international level.
Speaking to over 200 countries represented at the conference, Minister of State Ciaran Cannon T.D. announced Ireland's commitments stressing the importance of promoting and protecting the world's marine resources, for present and for future generations.
In highlighting Ireland's contribution to this goal, Minister Cannon announced over €6 million in funding in the area of seabed mapping and marine research and development.
The Marine Institute who had hosted the signing of the transatlantic Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation – launching a European Union, Canadian and United States of America Research Alliance in 2013, welcomed Minister Cannon's delivery of Ireland's national commitments at the Our Ocean Conference.
Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute said "as the national agency for marine research, technology development and innovation, the Institute has played a key role in mapping Ireland's seabed territory, which is one of the largest in the EU. Our role therefore in recognising the importance the ocean has on our daily lives, as well as providing the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the ocean is at the forefront of ensuring that Ireland maintains its prominent position in marine research in Europe."
"Today's announcements further highlight the Governments recent endorsement of the National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy that supports the implementation of Innovation 2020 and Ireland's national Research and Innovation Strategy; which identifies the marine sector as one of eight areas of focus for social progress and the economy in Ireland," Dr Peter Heffernan further said.
Minister Cannon also announced the roll out of a ground breaking Global Citizenship, Marine Environment education module for school children from September 2017 onwards which he noted that "this programme will increase ocean literacy by fostering understanding of the important role our oceans play in our lives, how individual actions can affect them and how we can act together to protect them".
"The Global Citizenship marine environment module is further welcomed by the Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme which currently reaches over 15,000 primary school students annually. This programme further supports the Explorers aim to build on Ireland's marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity," Dr Heffernan added.
The Minister committed to €320,000 in funding to the Clean Coasts programme for 2017. This programme comprises Clean Coasts Volunteering with over 550 Clean Coasts volunteer groups established in Ireland to date. The programme is operated by An Taisce and is funded by the Department of the Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government. Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager with An Taisce, presented the initiative at the Conference this week.
Additional commitments include the expansion of the 2015 Fishing for Litter programme and continued contributions to support developing countries engagement at the UN on issues relating to marine governance.
Minister Cannon also reaffirmed Ireland's commitment to prohibit the sale or manufacture of certain products containing microbeads, announced at the UN in June of this year.
For further information see: The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade press release https://www.dfa.ie/news-and-media/press-releases/press-release-archive/2017/october/ireland-announces-commitments-our-ocean-conference/