Blue Belt Charter

7th December 2017

Blue Belt Charter

With the fifth largest marine estate in the world, the UK and its Overseas Territories are custodian to the largest coral atoll on earth, globally significant populations of albatross, whales and turtles, and as many as a quarter of the penguins on the planet.

Through the actions of successive governments, the UK has demonstrated global leadership in ocean conservation. We the undersigned call on the UK to reaffirm this leadership by working with the governments of the Overseas Territories to deliver on Blue Belt pledges to:

Establish a 500,000 km² fully protected Marine Protected Area around the South Sandwich Islands in 2018

• Deliver on the commitment to establish a fully protected Marine Protected Area in at least 50% of Ascension Island’s waters in 2019

• Support the establishment of a locally-led marine protection regime throughout the waters of Tristan da Cunha by 2020

• Strengthen the development of the locally-led marine protection regime throughout the waters of St Helena

We also call on the UK to remain a leading force within those international bodies concerned with greater protection of the Polar Regions, the UN process for establishing Marine Protected Areas on the High Seas, and within the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.


What is the Blue Belt Charter?

As the challenges facing our oceans increase, public interest in marine conservation is at an all-time high. More than 12 million people in the UK viewed the first episode of Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, with an estimated 500 million globally expected eventually to see the series.

The UK’s Blue Belt policy to increase marine protection throughout the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) can drive greater international cooperation on ocean conservation and is a fantastic example of British leadership in world conservation. While the Blue Belt enjoys cross-party support, upcoming decisions risk suffering from a lack of ambition without an injection of greater political urgency.

The Great British Oceans coalition of RSPB, Greenpeace UK, Zoological Society of London, Pew Trusts, Blue Marine Foundation and the Marine Conservation Society is calling on parliamentarians to sign the Blue Belt Charter to show their support for the UK’s global leadership in protecting the ocean.

What is the “Blue Belt”?

The “Blue Belt” is the UK Government’s policy to establish globally significant marine reserves in a number of the UK Overseas Territories. The policy was supported in the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos in both the 2015 and 2017 elections.

The Blue Belt Charter seeks parliamentary support for strong implementation by 2020 of four massive Blue Belt opportunities around the South Sandwich Islands2, Ascension Island3 and Tristan da Cunha4 and St Helena5. Collectively these sites would place two million sq km of ocean under protection, an area more than six times the size of the United Kingdom. Ambitious implementation of the Blue Belt will also enhance the UK’s capacity to lead on ocean conservation within a range of international institutions.

Blue Belt Charter Blue Belt Charter

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