BSPC President Jorodd Asphjell stressed at the 53rd plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation the close cooperation between the BSPC and the PABSEC – marked by the common memorandum of understanding and the recent meeting of both Standing Committees in Istanbul to increase the efforts for safeguarding our oceans and Marine Life.
He stressed the collective interest to jointly develop more far-reaching measures and proposals for the United Nations Ocean Conference and to try to establish them together at the UN level and to reach more decisive action at the international level. He underlined it as essential that we make all efforts in both macro-regions to move towards healthy and clean seas.
Pyry Niemi invited the Standing Committee of the PABSEC for another common meeting to Stockholm in 2020 on issues of the shores of the marine environments as well as refugees, migration and integration.
In particular, Jorodd Asphjell emphasised:
‘In my capacity as President of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, let me thank you for the opportunity to address the Plenary Session of the PABSEC General Assembly for the second time in this capacity and to be here in the very impressive city of Kabul.
May I most sincerely congratulate your Secretary General Asaf Hajiyev on his re-election, and I look forward to further deepening our close and successful cooperation.
I bring you the best regards from the BSPC and once again the heartfelt thanks of all members of our Standing Committee for the joint and very fruitful meeting we held together in Istanbul at the beginning of April.
This marks the eighth consecutive time that the BSPC is attending your plenary session. We have also deepened our cooperation through your participation in our annual conferences as well as bilateral visits and in the margins of a series of international parliamentary assemblies.
We have additionally pointed out our common goals and visions in our Memorandum of Understanding, where we underlined the benefits of parliamentary cooperation based on the principles of respect of human rights and freedoms, social justice, the promotion of democracy, and the supremacy of law with regards to the interests of all states and peoples in our regions.
Moreover, we have expanded our cooperation in a new dimension with the joint meeting of our Standing Committees in Istanbul and our intensive discussions on “Safeguarding our Oceans and Marine Life”.
We have learnt a lot about the situation in the Black Sea and your countries regarding marine protection. I assume that the institutions responsible in our countries have thereby received further impetus for more in-depth cooperation. These are real steps for successful work on the development of peaceful and prosperous common regions.
That is of particular interest for the development of maritime transport and the reduction of the emissions it causes, to achieving the 2030 development goals of the United Nations. The exchange of best practice examples in this area is of mutual interest.
Such discussions also fulfil one of our fundamental concerns: achieving and safeguarding peace through dialogue to ensure peaceful and close neighbourliness and close cooperation based on democratic values, the rule of law, human rights and equal opportunities for all.
For my home country, Norway, and my home city of Trondheim, the sea is a central lifeline and living space. For us, it is fundamental that the oceans are healthy and clean.
That is why Norway wants to develop a roadmap for the transition to a sustainable ocean economy.
We must stop destroying the world’s marine ecosystems. We must improve the environmental status of the oceans.
It is in our collective interest to jointly develop more far-reaching measures and proposals for the UN Ocean Conference 2020 and to try to establish them together at the UN level and to reach more decisive action at the international level.
The current situation shows us that appeals alone are not enough. We must act more widely and make more significant efforts.
Therefore, we call for stricter action at the national level necessary to reinstate the health of the seas.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is important that we both address the increasing pollution and burden on the seas, in particular from plastic waste, calling for urgent global action in this area to achieve the UN’s 2030 development goals as quickly as possible.
It is essential that we make all efforts in both macro-regions to move towards healthy and clean seas. The issue of plastic litter on a global scale, moreover, is a question of a progressive foreign and trade policy.
Therefore, it is crucial that all our countries consistently implement the amendment (to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal), signed by 187 states in Geneva on 10 May 2019, as an essential step in the development of a legally-binding, globally-reaching mechanism for managing plastic waste.
We must also think about how we will develop tourism under the aspect of sustainability.
It is for the sake of our future if we promote, through appropriate measures, the accelerated digitalisation of vessel traffic and green shipping to achieve the 2030 objectives as soon as possible.
It is for the sake of our future if we organize concerted action for appropriate regulation at the global level to strengthen e-navigation and pave the way for autonomous shipping.
It is essential to develop or enhance joint and additional national and regional sustainability strategies to meet the United Nation’s Agenda 2030 goals: to achieve delivering the oceans we need for the future we want.
We also discussed in our conference the main topic of this afternoon, the issue of sustainable energy. We enhance and want to efficiently use cross-border transmission connections by building and expanding fluent electricity networks to enable new energy markets and new forms of energy services and products to better integrate renewable energies, as well as use undersea electricity connection to integrate grids.
Let us deepen our successful and close cooperation and go on working on the development of peaceful and prosperous common regions.
Together, we are stronger!’
Pyry Niemi pointed out that ‘the Standing Committee of the BSPC has highly appreciated the joint meeting of both Standing Committees in Istanbul and the very fruitful discussions on “Safeguarding our Oceans and Marine Life”.
The BSPC SC unanimously agreed to continue such common meetings. The Swedish parliament will take over the BSPC Presidency in September 2020.
Therefore, we wholeheartedly invite you to a further meeting of both our Standing Committees to Stockholm.
There are 2 topics which we would like to offer for our next deliberations: on the one hand, the topic of refugees, migration and integration and on the other hand, the topic of the marine environment.
We think that both topics could be of mutual interest because these are special challenges for our macro-regions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I think a discussion of both issues can strengthen our successful cooperation.’
In the margins of the session, possibilities for joint consultations and further activities were discussed.