Sustainable Dev’t – Good Governance & EP Solutions

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Emissions from shipping are another issue that needs to be addressed globally to address the significant increase in emissions expected from this sector. In order to act effectively, it is necessary to better understand the impact of maritime transport on climate change.

Marine litter is also a serious threat affecting all oceans. Every year, millions of tons of waste end up in the oceans around the world, which represents an environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problem. Marine litter is a heavy burden on the economy and is costing the coastal communities, as well as the tourism, transportation and fishing sectors, money. Studies report a potential cost of 630 million euros per year to clean the coasts and beaches of the European Union, while the losses to the fishing industry could be as high as 60 million, representing 1% of the total revenue of the EU fishing fleet (in 2010).

Because of their accumulation and dispersion, marine litter is one of the greatest threats to the health of the oceans. In this respect, we need to implement an ambitious package of measures on the Union’s circular economy, with targets for the reduction of marine litter of 30% and 50% respectively for the year 2025 and the year 2030, and a reinforcement of recycling targets for plastic packaging;

In order to address all these issues, we need to improve international governance and sustain regional and global efforts. Partnerships with key stakeholders in the field should also be expanded to strengthen international ocean governance.

With the same purpose, the European Parliament calls on the Commission to establish ocean partnerships with the main players. A clear ocean governance framework would allow for data sharing and coordination of actions. In this spirit, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea plays a fundamental role and there is a strong need to support the development of a legally binding instrument on the maintenance and sustainable use of the marine biodiversity of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction under this Convention.

Oceans and marine and coastal resources are essential to people’s well-being and to economic and social development around the world. They are even critically important to coastal communities that live on or derive income from tourism. In fact, coastal and marine resources contribute about $ 28 billion each year to the global economy through the benefits humans derive from ecosystems. These resources are, however, particularly vulnerable to overfishing, environmental degradation, climate change and pollution.

To what extent can good management of blue spaces help to impact the future of sustainable land and maritime development?

1- Sustainable development: between social responsibility and governance

The concept of governance is at the same time in common use, remained very misunderstood, and carrying multiple connotations that make it loses its meaning. However, at a time when the instrumentalization of international governance is discussed (Rio 2012 Declaration), it seems interesting to question the term governance and question its relevance to the principles of sustainable development and its application on the territories.

According to the United Nations Development Program (1997), “good” governance must be “participatory, transparent and accountable (…). Good governance ensures that political, social and economic priorities are based on a broad consensus in society and that the voices of the poorest and most vulnerable are at the heart of the decision-making process on the allocation of resources for development “(UNDP, 1997: page 6).

Defined as such, governance makes use of ethical principles underpinned by the concept of sustainable development (SD), such as equity, respect, justice, solidarity, participation and cooperation. It is part of this ongoing search for better management systems for people and resources (Moreau Defarges, P., 2011,p 7). It does not belong to a government, nor to a group or an individual, it results from “a permanent negotiation between social actors” (p.8) and makes participatory democracy a tool for conflict regulation, smoothing debate with the aim of a compromise based on the public interest.

A- Sustainable development is an economic and social development that respects the environment:

It is an economic development because it controls growth and globalization while maintaining economic efficiency. It is also social because it fights against poverty, exclusion and inequalities and meets basic human needs such as food, employment, health, housing and education.

It is also respectful of the environment because it aims to preserve natural resources and ensures responsible management of the environment and territories. > For a long time, men have managed the planet without paying attention to its balance. We have polluted the air, the water, the soil …, overexploited our resources (forests, raw materials, fossil fuels …), makes disappear many species of plants and animals. Now, we know that this behavior is dangerous for the survival of man on the planet.

It was as a result of this realization that the notion of sustainable development was born in 1980. It was then necessary to create a mode of economic and social development respectful of the environment. In 1987, a definition of sustainable development was proposed by the World Commission on Environment and Development: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The goal of sustainable development is therefore to define a mode of development that enables every human being to meet his needs while preserving his environment. As a global issue, sustainable development calls for a change of behavior for every citizen but also for states, associations, companies and researchers.

The company’s social responsibility imposes a new definition of performance criteria: the “Triple Bottom Line” of profit, social performance and impact on the environment. These demanding new performances are protected by some segments of the socially responsible shareholder, but also the demanding of the external stakeholders to the company who by the capacity of mobilization and communication, try to influence the decisions of the company.

The integration of sustainable development concerns into the definition of business objectives and strategy recalls some similarities with concerns of international business development in the seventies and eighties.

The majority of companies have had to move from a stage of domestic development, to an international development with all the steps: how to adapt products and services markets and bases of competition different from those mastered on the national market, how to set up adequate structures (does it require a specialized international management to integrate new international subsidiaries into the Product divisions, and then develop a balance between a global structure that integrates all the markets for the same product line designed for all markets and a logic of geographic market specificity requiring specific characteristics. (Particular products or services, differentiated pricing and appropriate modes of distribution, and particularized communications).

Gradually, companies have integrated this know-how and competence so that today all the functions of the company are adapted to a global vision of the markets of the company and its competition whereas all the subsidiaries have a set of tool that fits into a global coordination.

Sustainable development is a growing demand of civil society vis-à-vis economic activity. We can think that the company must go through a phase of change in the definition is the steering of its performance to integrate its dimension of impact on the environment and social responsibility, but that in a few years all these themes will be part of organizational know-how and will normally be integrated into all management acts. For the moment, it still requires a proactive act of management.

B- Contribution of Corporate Governance to the Sustainable Development Strategy

Governance is, first and foremost, indispensable for the reflection and proper application of the challenges of sustainable development, since it is a new form of participatory democracy.

It requires consultation, cooperation and partnership among all actors of sustainable development.

Corporate governance enables the involvement of stakeholders in the definition of the sustainable development strategy, and in decision-making related to the administration, management and control of the company.

It is true that governance is a process of consultation and decision-making, which involves the responsible actors or populations concerned by sustainable development policies and their action plans.

The goal of governance is to reach decisions that are acceptable to the majority, to the extent possible, and that support the common good.

Governance applies to all organizations. We are talking about participatory democracy when it comes to territories.

For local authorities, it involves citizens, elected officials, actors in the socio-economic sphere and those in the politico-administrative sphere.

It takes place in four phases:

  • Information, which must be understandable and accessible to the greatest number
  • Consultation, which consists of collecting opinions
  • Consultation, which improves and enriches the project
  • Participatory democracy is complementary to representative democracy. It promotes citizen’s contribution to the life of the city.

For companies, it involves the participation of all stakeholders of the company:

  • Shareholders
  • Customers / consumers
  • Suppliers
  • Competitors
  • Partners
  • Authorities
  • Investors
  • Associations, NGOs
  • Citizens…

2- The real impacts of the European parliament about the blue oceans’ environmental cases

In France, to fight the problem of maritime pollution, It is necessary to reach “zero leak in the nature” and “to promote the reusable, in particular for the containers”, indicates Isabelle Autissier, president of WWF France. Regarding the promise of Emmanuel Macron to achieve 100% recycled plastics in 2025, “there is a bit of announcement effects,” she judges. “Everyone is talking about recycling, but we are not familiar with the conditions of recyclability,” she says. A better goal, according to her, would be “to say that France will reduce its consumption of plastic” by a certain percentage.

Having regard to the joint communication of 10 November 2016 from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on International Ocean Governance: a program for the future of our oceans in the context of the objectives for Sustainable Development by 2030 (JOIN (2016) 0049),

  • having regard to the draft Council conclusions of 24 March 2017 entitled ‘International governance of the oceans: a program for the future of our oceans’,
  • having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 29 March 2017 on the joint communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on International Ocean Governance: a program for the future of our oceans (JOIN (2016) 0049).

Action for improving the oceans management

Improving the international governance framework for the oceans

  • Recalls that oceans and seas are essential for life, sustainable development, employment and innovation, as well as recreational and recreational uses; shares the growing concern over the need for more effective and integrated ocean governance and protection;
  • Welcomes the joint communication on the international governance of the oceans and the measures proposed therein, which underline the European Union’s commitment to the conservation and sustainability of the use of oceans and seas and marine resources, Objective 14 of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Program; recognizes the cross-cutting nature of the issue and the need for a coordinated and integrated approach to better ocean governance; Calls on the EU to play a leading global role in strengthening the international governance of the oceans and filling the gaps through the expertise it has gained in developing a sustainable approach to oceans management;
  • Recalls the integrated and indivisible nature of all the Sustainable Development Goals and the interconnections and synergies between them and reiterates that it is essential that all actions of the European Union are guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including including the principles reaffirmed therein;
  • Calls on the Commission to set clear deadlines, to present, as appropriate, legislative proposals, and to work with the Member States to improve cooperation in areas such as ocean research, capacity building and the transfer of technology, and invites it to put in place permanent mechanisms for coordination and monitoring and evaluation at Union level, with a view to the proper implementation of the actions listed in the joint communication ; underlines the Treaty provisions on the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle and stresses the importance of the ecosystem approach in all EU actions on ocean governance;
  • Reaffirms that the Sustainable Development Goals have a strong maritime dimension, including Objective 14 (“Conserve and sustainably exploit oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”);

Regarding the shipping sector

Managing the increase in emissions from the shipping sector

  • Notes that even the third IMO study on greenhouse gases (2014) indicates that, depending on the evolution of the economic and energy situation, CO2 emissions could increase by 50% to 250% by 2050; notes from the Parliament’s 2015 study ‘Emission reduction targets for international aviation and shipping’ that, if the IMO’s climate change plan was again postponed, the proportion of CO2 emissions from shipping in global greenhouse gas emissions could increase significantly (up to 17%) by 2050; stresses, therefore, that maritime transport alone consumes a large part of the residual budget devoted to the fight against greenhouse gases, with a view to limiting the rise in temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius;
  • Stresses the urgent need to act globally to mitigate the adverse effects of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide on ecosystems and the health of the oceans, particularly in the framework of the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; notes that these adverse effects include increased ocean temperature, ocean and ocean acidification, rising sea levels, changes in ocean circulation and coastal erosion, and extreme weather events , melting polar ice, changes in salinity, nutrient availability and deoxygenation, and may be cumulative; Stresses the importance of the proper functioning of ecosystems for enhancing the resilience of the oceans; Reaffirms the urgent need to combat these adverse effects, which prevent the ocean from playing its fundamental role as a climate regulator, carbon sinks, a source of biodiversity, and an essential source of nutrients, income, energy and ecosystem services;
  • Recalls that, in accordance with the Paris Agreement, all sectors of the economy are required to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions; urges the IMO to adopt a clear emissions target and immediate short-term reduction measures by 2018 in order to reduce international maritime CO2 emissions globally under the objectives set by the Lisbon Agreement; Paris; notes further that, in the absence of a comparable IMO system, CO2 emissions from Union ports and during travel to and from ports of call of the Union should be taken into account by means of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme or a similar robust pricing mechanism, which should be operational as soon as possible and no later than 2023 ;
  • Recalls that the use of Bio-LNG should be promoted for the decarbonisation of the maritime transport sector and that the use of biogas in transport should be reserved for the maritime transport sector, in which bio-LNG constitutes an existing advanced renewable fuel; Believes that the development of infrastructure as foreseen by Directive 2014/94 / EU should allow the use of bio-LNG in the maritime sector, where few other renewable solutions exist;
  • Stresses the role that natural gas, in particular liquefied natural gas (LNG), could play in the transition to decarbonization of the transport sector, in particular in the maritime transport sector, by contributing to the reduction of emissions; CO2 and atmospheric pollutants;


The seas and oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surface and represent 97% of the total water volume of the planet. The seas provide us with food and energy, allow us to travel and make medicines and are a source of recreation. They are also a factor of climate regulation, produce half of our oxygen, and capture a large part of the carbon dioxide we emit. The oceans are indeed our best allies in the fight against climate change, which has been taken into account in the Paris agreement with the IPCC special report on the oceans.

Oceans and marine and coastal resources are essential to people’s well-being and to economic and social development around the world. They are even critically important to coastal communities that live on or derive income from tourism. In fact, coastal and marine resources contribute about $ 28 billion each year to the global economy through the benefits humans derive from ecosystems. These resources are, however, particularly vulnerable to overfishing, environmental degradation, climate change and pollution.[1]


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[1] The views expressed in this article are entirely those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of EIPSS.

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