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The Marine Environment Department of the Federal Public Service for Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment is organising a meeting of the Blue Leaders at the Residence Palace in Brussels. The Blue Leaders are an ambitious group of countries advocating for urgent action to save the ocean in the face of the climate crisis, overfishing, pollution, and other threats. The urgency of a swift ratification of the BBNJ Treaty (Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction) will be the central focus of the event.

In 2023, the new UN treaty for the protection of biodiversity in the high seas (BBNJ) was adopted. It is crucial to promptly secure the sixty ratifications required to bring the BBNJ Treaty into effect. Only in this way can progress be made towards the ambitious goal of protecting thirty percent of the global ocean by 2030.

Participants in the event will have the opportunity to express their commitment to the ocean in a visual and creative way. The agenda includes panel discussions with representatives from countries, representatives of international organisations (EU, UNESCO-IOC,…), NGOs, science, and youth, addressing the BBNJ treaty and the connection between the ocean and climate. About 150 participants are expected to attend the event.

Provisional programme

  • 9:00: Welcome 
  • 9:30: Introduction by Mr. Paul Van Tigchelt, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and the North Sea
  • 9:40: Keynote speech by marine biologist and photographer Inka Cresswell
  • 10:10: Coffee Break
  • 10:35: Panel 1: BBNJ
  • 11:40: Ocean Commitment Ceremony with high-level interventions
  • 12:20: Network standing lunch
  • 14:00: Panel 2: 30x30 and Climate
  • 15:15: Coffee Break
  • 15:40: UN Decade of Ocean Science
  • 16:00: Closing Speeches
  • 17:00: End of the event

This event is part of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union. The main language during the event is English.

When? Thursday 7 March 2024, 9am-5pm
Where? Résidence Palace, Rue de la Loi 155, 1040 Brussels, Belgium