The Comité France Océan, for a permanent dialogue between governmental and non-governmental organisations
14 February 2023
In response to the request of environmental associations, the French government installed in December 2018, alongside the Minister of Ecological Transition, the Comité France Océan (CFO - France Ocean Committee), which The SeaCleaners has been proud to be a part of since the beginning.
As a forum for dialogue and consultation, the CFO has been fully exercising its mission for the past 4 years to build a regular and sustained exchange between the State, its public establishments in charge of the sea and marine environment protection organizations.
Four priority areas of reflection occupy its agenda:
- the protection of marine biodiversity ;
- the fight against marine litter (an essential subject for The SeaCleaners);
- the artificialization of seas and coastlines;
- the removal of brakes and obstacles to action.
Informing public policy on the sea
Thanks to its multidisciplinary expertise, the CFO represents an important forum for exchange and production of recommendations that feed into public policies relating to the marine environment.
During the year 2020-2021, the CFO has worked on European news, legislation concerning the artificialization of coasts and coastlines, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the implementation of the post-COVID recovery plan in its “blue economy” component. He also contributed to the elaboration of the Mission “Regenerating our Ocean and Waters” of the European Commission within the framework of the Horizon Europe Program, to the elaboration of the National Strategy for Protected Areas and to the third National Strategy for Biodiversity.
Towards a more environmentally ambitious NMLS2
In 2023, the CFO’s recommendations will focus on developing the 2nd National Sea and Coastal Strategy (SNML2) to strengthen its environmental ambition and encourage better consideration of climate and biodiversity issues.
To do so, the CFO brought together, in an ad hoc working group, some thirty NGOs (associations, foundations, aquariums, etc.), including The SeaCleaners, who worked on the protection of marine environments and the reduction of pollution, the management of the evolution of the coastline, energy issues, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, the deep seabed and France’s international maritime ambition.
The stakes are high: the SNML is the State’s multi-year plan for 2023-2029, which establishes the general framework for public policies relating to the sea and the coasts. It is a national reference framework for all public policies dealing with the protection of the environment, the achievement or maintenance of good ecological status, the sustainable use of marine resources and the integrated and concerted management of activities related to the sea and the coast. It sets the principles and general orientations of these policies in metropolitan and overseas France for six years.
The first SNML, covering the period 2017-2022, was based on 4 strategic objectives: the ecological transition for the sea and the coastline; the development of a sustainable blue economy; the good ecological status of the marine environment and the preservation of an attractive coastline; and the influence of France. However, this SNML lacked a real vision to guide these objectives and indicators to assess their implementation.
It is this pitfall that the CFO’s NGO working group has set itself the goal of overcoming through its recommendations for the NMLS2, under the coordination of the Ocean & Climate Platform.
Making France a pioneer nation in the protection of the marine environment
The working group seized the opportunity of this consultation to display its vision: to make France a pioneer maritime nation, thanks to a national reference framework offering an integrated vision of activities for the protection of the marine environment and socio-economic development to achieve good environmental status.
In concrete terms, the recommendations of the NGOs take into consideration the essential and vital role that the ocean and its ecosystems play in the functioning of the climate and biodiversity; the pressures and threats that weigh on the ocean and alter its functioning; and the global responsibility that the extent of its maritime domain confers on France. To quote the report: “It is a question of envisioning the maritime and coastal France of tomorrow in a context of climate change, erosion of biodiversity and in the prism of sobriety, in order to respect the objective of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 1.5°C and achieve carbon neutrality in France by 2050.”
The report of the CFO’s SNML2 working group, compiling the recommendations of the NGOs, has been sent to the relevant ministers, government departments, and the National Council for the Sea and Coastal Areas (CNML), and will be the subject of a major advocacy effort by the member NGOs, in which The SeaCleaners will participate.
We will have the opportunity to present these recommendations in more detail in this newsletter in the coming months.