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WTO ministerial  a make or break for getting rid of harmful fisheries subsidies

Negotiators are doubling down efforts to make sure there’s a deal on time to remove harmful fisheries subsidies at this year’s World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires in December. Working documents have emerged from meetings held from the 13–17th November regarding overfished stocks and IUU fishing, but these are just 2 of a number of issues that need to be considered. China rocked the boat last month with the late submission of a new and watered down proposal on illegal fishing.

Untitled Design (81)Luckily, it was opposed by others. The US also muddied the waters with a suggestion to expand the scopefrom marine fisheries to include inland and recreational fisheries.

There’s still a lot to do before the Ministerial meeting, but according to the Chair of MC11, Argentinian Minister Susana Malcorra, “there is life after Buenos Aires”. She believes a deal can be struck on fisheries subsidies, but if some aspects aren’t resolved this year they can be carried over for decision at the next ministerial meeting in 2019. This issue has been on the international diplomatic table for the past 20 years, so – for the sake of the Ocean (and the negotiators working their socks off) – let's hope there's a strong deal ready to be agreed in December that removes harmful fisheries (and fuel) subsidies once and for all.

For more details, read this comprehensive update by The Low Hanging Fish campaign run by BLOOM and The Varda Group. Check out the next Navigator to find out what was finally agreed in Buenos Aires, and keep up to date by following #FisheriesSubsidiesand #MC11.

Untitled Design (82)United Nations Environment Assembly to address pollution

Pollution is the theme for this year’s UN Environment Assembly(UNEA), the “world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment”, which will meet in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 4–6th December. Governments, UN and inter-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector will meet to try to agree on a number of tangible commitments to end the pollution of our air, land, waterways and Ocean, and to safely manage chemicals and waste.

These include a Political Declaration on Pollution, resolutions and decisions that address specific dimensions of pollution, voluntary commitments and the #BeatPollution Pledge, a collection of individual commitments to clean up the planet. Click here for the UNEA schedule.

There’ll also be lots of discussion on actions taken to beat Ocean plastic pollution by countries, hopefully building on the UN Environment #CleanSeas campaign that has been working to get countries to ban plastic bags. Let’s hope this meeting sets the stage for more leadership on environmental policy to combat plastic pollution.