On 7 November, the Ocean Governance project presented the Global Network of MPAs initiative at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was co-hosted by two Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) that are part of the European Parliament Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development: Stéphane Bijoux, Co-Chair of the Islands and Overseas Entities Working Group, and Catherine Chabaud, Co-Chair of the Ocean Governance Working Group.

The hybrid event was entitled ‘Global network of MPAs to support ocean governance’, and gave the Ocean Governance project the opportunity to present its insights and achievements, as well as its hopes to continue the work after December in a new format, supported by the relevant European institutions.

During his opening speech, MEP Stéphane Bijoux stated: “While the ocean produces half of the oxygen on our planet and hosts over 2 million species, it is also deeply affected by climate change. Against this challenge, the only one way to success lies in one word: cooperation. It is the key to achieve sustainable ocean governance.” Ambassador Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, Special Envoy of the President of the French Republic for the UN Ocean Conference France 2025, delivered a keynote speech. He noted that “by sharing experiences and best practices, by pooling knowledge and scientific information, MPA managers will improve the effectiveness and the sustainability of MPAs”, and thereby contribute to international agreements such as the Kunming-Montreal Protocol, the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) treaty, Sustainable Development Goal 14, and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. A second keynote was delivered by Luis Molledo, Deputy Head of Unit for regional fisheries at the European Commission (DG MARE). He also mentioned the Kunming-Montreal and BBNJ agreements as major milestones in international ocean governance. “In this international context, networks of MPAs are key. They are key to help reach our objectives, because we need increased cooperation,” he emphasised.

The achievements and insights of the Ocean Governance project were presented by Eva Raute, Managing Director of GOPA Worldwide Consultants, Team Leader and President of MedPAN Puri Canals, MedPAN Policy Manager Carole Martinez and Regional Coordinator of the Patagonian Forum, Andrea Michelson. They all stressed the need for a global ‘Blue Belt’ connecting MPA manager networks worldwide. The event was also honoured by the attendance of Jihyun Lee from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, who underlined the importance of sustaining the ‘Blue Belt’ initiative and its value for the implementation of the international agreements.

After an engaging Q&A session, the event concluded with MEP Catherine Chabaud’s closing remarks, emphasising the significance of continued collaboration for effective ocean governance. The Ocean Governance project extends its thanks to the European Parliament, especially MEPs Catherine Chabaud and Stéphane Bijoux for their initiative and support.