Ref. Ares(2019)3939283 - 20/06/2019
Commissioner Karmenu VELLA
Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
Meeting with Archbishop Alain Paul Charles Lebeaupin
Member of Cabinet responsible: Andras Inotai
Member accompanying: Andras Inotai
(incl. contact numbers)
You are meeting Archbishop Alain Paul Charles Lebeaupin. You will have an opportunity to
inform the Archbishop of the latest actions the EU has been taking to protect the oceans; as
well as to convey an invitation to His Holiness to Our Ocean Conference 2017 [invitation
letter co-signed by HRVP and yourself to be handed over at the meeting]
Pope Francis, in his encyclical on the environment and human ecology, Laudato Si,
highlights the importance of the oceans, including as a source of food. He stresses the
challenges the oceans are facing, in particular climate change impacts, ocean acidification,
loss of biodiversity, the bleaching of coral reefs, as well as marine litter. He goes on to state
the fragmentation of the current governance system and the lack of strict mechanisms
of regulation, control and penalisation
. He believes that the “open seas” need “an
agreement on systems of governance for the whole range of so-called “global commons”
He also recalls the importance of strengthening ocean research.
Archbishop Lebeaupin may also inform you of the issue of forced labour and trafficking in the
fisheries sector. The Vatican is committed to take action on this global challenge. On 21st
November 2016, FAO and the Vatican organised a joint event, in which they called for an
intensified international push to stamp out human rights' abuses in the world's fishing
industry — including trafficking of people and forced labour — as wel as an end to IUU
fishing. Ambassador Tombinski of the EU Delegation in Rome participated in this event. You
can welcome this initiative and refer to our ongoing IUU dialogues, in particular with
To present our agenda for the oceans and highlight its alignment with the Vatican’s views
on the need to protect the marine environment.
To convey an invitation to His Holiness to Our Ocean Conference 2017.
• The oceans have increasingly been a central part of the
international debate on achieving sustainable development.
With the support of the EU, a specific target on the
conversation and sustainable use of the oceans was agreed
in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We now
need to deliver on these commitments.
• I fully share His Holiness' words in his Laudato Si encyclical
that "fragmentation of the current governance system and the
lack of strict mechanisms of regulation, control and
• That is also why, in the EU, we have recently proposed an
agenda for the future of our oceans and seas. Improving
international ocean governance, including at regional level, is
a priority for us. The agenda for our oceans proposes EU
action at international level to ensure that oceans are secure,
safe, clean and sustainably managed.
• Our proposals cover three priority areas:
improving the international ocean governance
framework – promoting a clear, comprehensive set of rules
for everyone to follow.
• Second, reducing pressures on the oceans and creating the
conditions for a sustainable blue economy. In this context, we
are proposing action to address marine litter; mitigate climate
change impacts on the oceans; strengthen the fight against
illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; promote
maritime spatial planning; and expand marine protected
• And, third, strengthening international ocean research and
• We also believe in the importance of the social dimension of
ocean governance, including for fisheries, and support your
push to encourage further ratifications of the ILO Work in
Fishing Convention and the Port State Measures Agreement.
We would like to see a level playing field established with
regard to working conditions in this sector.
OUR OCEAN CONFERENCE
• We are very happy to see that the interest in ocean affairs
has increased tremendously. The series of Our Ocean
Conferences have helped to channel major ocean
commitments made by governments, industry, NGOs and
foundations, providing an important platform.
• We are glad to inform you that the EU will also host the 4th
edition of the Our Ocean Conference on 5-6 October 2017 in
• As in previous years, the conference will be a high-level,
invitation-only event. The focus will be on the announcement
and follow-up of initiatives and new and measurable
commitments, mainly in four areas: marine protected areas,
sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate-related
impacts on the ocean.
• The presence and the words of His Holiness at this event
would no doubt act as a major catalyst for such commitments
by participants. Therefore, together with HRVP Mogherini, we
have the honour to invite His Holiness to the Our Ocean
Conference in Malta on 5-6 October 2017
What is the link between Our Ocean 2017 and the SDG14 implementation Conference
in NYC organised by Sweden and Fiji?
The SDG14 conference in June, and the Our Ocean conference hosted by the EU in
October, are the most important events for oceans this year, demonstrating the
importance accorded by the global community to oceans issues from the perspective of
Both conferences should be seen as mutually reinforcing and complementary, and wil
help to maintain continuous focus on oceans. We will need all the commitments
possible to contribute to safe and sustainable oceans.
To complement the commitments made at the SDG Conference, the annual Our Ocean
Conferences aims to inspire and empower a new generation of political leaders,
entrepreneurs, scientists and civil society to identify solutions and commit to concrete
actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans. The Our Ocean 2017
conference will have a dynamic, nimble two-day programme featuring a number of
high-level speakers that will focus on four main themes: marine protected areas,
sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts on the ocean.
The joint communication on international ocean governance: an agenda for the future of our
oceans (JOIN(2016)49 final) was adopted on 10th November 2016. This initiative follows the
mandate given to the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr. Vella, by the
President of the European Commission and the political priorities of the Commission, such
as "Jobs and Growth" and "A stronger Global Actor". The joint communication proposes 14
sets of actions to be delivered in the next years, starting in 2017.
The objective of the joint communication is to secure an effective and coherent contribution
of the EU and its Member States to increasing global efforts towards healthy, clean, secure,
safe and sustainable managed oceans. This is essential to allow the use of ocean resources,
and Europe's very competitive maritime economy, to continue to yield economic benefits in
terms of jobs and growth whilst maximising the health of the world's oceans. This requires
action at global, regional and bilateral levels, by all EU actors. It will also require coherent
action in all relevant policy areas with an external "oceans" dimension, such as environment,
security, development, research, trade, and foreign affairs.
The three priority areas identified in the communication are: first, improving the international
ocean governance framework; second, reducing pressures on the oceans and creating the
conditions for a sustainable blue economy; and third strengthening international ocean
research and data.
Our Ocean 2017 Conference
Commissioner Vella announced to host the 2017 edition of the 'Our Ocean Conference' in
Malta in autumn 2017. This conference aims at increasing awareness on the need for better
ocean governance to secure its resources and services for the future, including the need to
mitigate climate change. The first Our Ocean Conference was hosted by the US on the
initiative of Secretary of State J. Kerry in 2014. In 2015 it was hosted by Chile. These
conferences are a forum for tangible commitments by policy makers and stakeholders
around the world.
The 2017 edition will in principle follow this formula but possibly with a different geographical
focus in view of our geo-political priorities, in particular in Africa, and possibly wil have a
wider scope in substance beyond pollution, marine protection and fisheries, also in view of
our comprehensive strategy for blue growth.
The conference is set to:
Inspire a new generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists and civil society to identify
solutions and commit to actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans;
Seek commitment not only from government representatives, but also from broader
Address additional challenges such as maritime, economic or environmental security,
migration and capacity building;
Track progress of previous commitments and celebrate their completion; and
Continue to complement and drive other international efforts, such as delivery on the
Sustainable Development Goals under Agenda 2030.
In February 2017, the official website2 and a video3 have been successfully launched, which
generated interest around the conference using social media tools.
The past three editions have generated commitments worth more than € 8.6 billion.
1 business leaders in ocean energy, blue biotechnology, aquaculture and fisheries, technologists, plastics
producers, waste management companies, retailers and producers, financing institutions, the research community
and civil society, including philanthropies and NGOs
CV OF ARCHBISHOP ALAIN PAUL CHARLES LEBEAUPIN
Born: 1945.03.02 (France)
Ordained priest: 1975.06.28
Consecrated Bishop: 1999.01.06 Titular Archbishop
of Vico Equense
to European Union
for European Communities
(1996 – 1998.12.07) Apostolic Nuncio
(1998.12.07 – 2005.01.14) Titular Archbishop
of Vico Equense
(1998.12.07 – ...) Apostolic Nuncio
(2005.01.14 – 2012.06.23) Permanent Observer
to United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
(2005.01.14 – 2012.06.23)
to European Union
(2012.06.23 – ...)