Thank you, Mr President. Colleagues, every year we meet here to reflect on global humanitarian needs. Yet again, we are faced with a sobering picture. 258 million people do not know where their next meal is coming from. One in five children are living in or fleeing from conflict. One in 73 people are displaced, a number which has doubled in the last ten years. We are simultaneously witnessing dire humanitarian situations in Israel and Gaza, Sudan, Syria, and in Ukraine. Alongside many more across the world. The levels of need are overwhelming the humanitarian systems. Colleagues, we all have a role, and a stake, in reversing these worrying trends.
President, on 20 November our Prime Minister launched the UK’s International Development White Paper. This sets out our commitment to getting the Sustainable Development Goals back on track. And it includes a strong commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in the face of ever-growing needs driven by conflict and climate. We will focus on three key areas.
First, we will invest in an effective humanitarian system. We will contribute $1.2 billion to humanitarian assistance from 2024 to 2025.
And we will also establish a UK Humanitarian Crisis Response Fund for specialist technical expertise, search and rescue, and emergency medical teams. We call on all Member States, including new and emerging donors and partners, to step up their support.
Second, we are shaping a system that is accountable to the people it serves.
The UK is proud to have supported the START network from its inception to deliver rapid, early and locally-led humanitarian action around the world. We will invest more in local leadership on humanitarian action and will explore how our engagement, terminology, delivery, and approach can change to support local partnerships.
Third, we will build a system which can anticipate shocks and act early.
This is proven to mitigate the impacts of disasters, save more lives and deliver value for money. We will continue to champion the CERF’s scale up of a system-wide approach to ‘Early Action’, including through our contribution of a further $65 million to the fund this year. Finally, colleagues, we must prevent today’s problems from turning into tomorrow’s crises.
This will need a whole of system response, in partnership with the UN, civil society, the International Financial Institutions, and, increasingly, the private sector. This is why, alongside our humanitarian efforts, we are supporting initiatives that will reduce need and prevent humanitarian caseloads.
We will scope a separate fund alongside our humanitarian funding, to build in climate resilience and adaptation alongside delivery of humanitarian relief. This will reduce the impact of future disasters and help communities to prepare and adapt for crises that we can anticipate.
We will continue to advocate for compliance with international humanitarian law and sustainable and inclusive ends to conflicts, which remain the most outstanding blocker to development and prosperity. We look forward to working with you all to deliver this.
Palm oil, cocoa, beef, leather and soy are to be included in new legislation aimed at helping ensure the products we buy do not harm the world’s forests.
At COP28 Nature Day (9 December), the government will set out how these new laws will ensure that there is no place on our supermarket shelves for products which have been produced on land linked to illegal deforestation.
This move will protect the habitats of some of the world’s most precious and endangered species, including tigers and leopards. It will give British shoppers assurance that the goods they buy are not contributing to deforestation that violates the laws and regulations of the countries where they come from.
The biggest driver of deforestation is agricultural expansion, with an area the size of the UK ploughed up each year to meet UK demand for commodities.
It is a huge threat to rainforests, effectively the “lungs of the earth” because of their ability to absorb harmful gasses and provide a home to thousands of animal and plant species.
The legislation marks a step change from voluntary approaches already in place, protecting the future of the world’s forests that we need to help tackle climate change, and their wildlife-rich canopies.
Introduced through the world leading Environment Act, this legislation will see businesses that have a global annual turnover of over £50 million and use over 500 tonnes of regulated commodities a year banned from using them if sourced from land used illegally.
These businesses will also be required to undertake a due diligence exercise on their supply chains and to report on this exercise annually for transparency.
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said:
I find it heart-rending to see the way illegal deforestation is destroying the habitats of tigers, jaguars, orangutans and many other endangered species, and I know many people across the world feel the same. Globally, we lose forests equivalent to the size of about 30 football pitches every minute.
It’s why we are cleaning up supply chains to make sure that big businesses in the UK aren’t responsible for illegal deforestation. It also means shoppers can be confident that the money they spend is part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Through our work at COP28 on forests, food, and nature we are reversing the loss of biodiversity, increasing food security, and tackling climate change – safeguarding these critically important landscapes for generations to come.
Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:
Halting the decline of the natural world isn’t just about saving rare species, it’s about safeguarding the web of life upon which humanity depends for our food, water and economic security. On the pathway to tackling climate change we must go high nature at the same time as low carbon, creating bigger, better and more joined up places for nature to thrive.
The commitments outlined today are welcome further steps toward UK environmental leadership, both at home and on the world stage. We look forward to supporting the government in delivering results through practical action on the ground”.
Tanya Steele, CEO of the WWF said:
Nearly eight million hectares of primary forest has been lost globally in the last two years alone, so this is an important first step to getting illegal deforestation off UK shopping shelves.
However illegal deforestation is only part of the picture – with wildlife numbers plummeting and wild habitats facing destruction, we must stop felling forests, full stop. Forests absorb 30% of the carbon we emit from burning fossil fuels, so nature is clearly our greatest ally in tackling climate change.
We haven’t a moment to lose to bring our world back to life and these measures must be implemented in Parliament as swiftly as possible.
Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said:
Retailers welcome the announcement on UK Deforestation Due Diligence legislation. This will give confidence to British retailers and their customers alike, helping retailers meet their ambitious targets on deforestation and enable a greater supply of deforestation-free products in the UK.
Tackling deforestation requires global cooperation and we look forward to seeing further detail as to how the legislation will align with European proposals.
At COP28 in Dubai, the Environment Secretary will set out his priorities to restore forests, recover nature and create sustainable food systems, building on the ambitions set out by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier during the conference. It is essential to the government’s determination to leave the environment in a better state for future generations and follows the UK’s leadership on nature at COP26 where the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use was signed by over 140 countries.
The UK government also played a central role in driving forward the global commitment to protect 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030. This takes a step forward today, with a new map published to show what areas could count in the delivery of “30by30”.
This indicative map illustrates that 8.5% of land in England – including Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves – already count toward the target, with a further 26.8% of land having the potential to contribute in the future, including Protected Landscapes.
The map has been published alongside the proposed criteria for contributions toward the target, and information on how this will be delivered through a voluntary, bottom-up approach. Work will now progress to identify further areas to contribute to the target, with additional guidance developed in collaboration with land managers and farmers.
Delivering on the 30by30 commitment for England will ensure our most important places, at the core of nature’s recovery, are protected for our iconic species to thrive.
The move comes as government announces further support for the UK marine environment, while continuing to support the long-term future and sustainability of the UK fisheries and seafood sector. To help support the conservation and restoration of the ocean, the UK is announcing £72.5 million in new programmes from its flagship Blue Planet Fund.
Further support for the marine environment includes:
New funding to restore marine biodiversity: £60 million of investment for Ocean Community Empowerment and Nature (OCEAN), a seven-year competitive grants programme as part of the flagship £500 million Blue Planet Fund. The OCEAN Grant Programme offers a vital path to ocean recovery and for local communities and nature to thrive side by side. A further £12.5 million has been committed towards PROBLUE, the World Bank’s multi-donor trust fund, through the Blue Planet Fund to support the blue economy and sustainable ocean sectors in developing countries, including Small Island Developing States.
Strengthened commitments to deliver Marine Net Gain: Following a consultation in 2022, the government will take forward proposals for Marine Net Gain in England– a policy that will ensure that infrastructure and development does not come at the cost of the marine environment, delivering measures to ensure that it is left in a better state than it was found
Blue carbon habitat restoration: An additional £640,000 will be dedicated to support the vital restoration of iconic saltmarsh and seagrass habitats in England. Led by the Environment Agency, this fund will develop the UK Saltmarsh Code and increase the capacity of the Restoring Meadow, Marsh and Reef initiative.
This package builds on the UK’s commitment to safeguard our marine habitats, complimenting recent support for a moratorium on deep sea mining. This confirmed that the government will not sponsor or support any licenses for deep sea mining by the International Seabed Authority, unless and until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems.
Today’s announcements strengthens the UK’s leadership to address nature loss and tackle climate change.
The government has announced £15 million new funding to accelerate nature recovery across our most cherished Protected Landscapes, and a new Rainforest Strategy backed by £750,000 funding to protect the delicate and globally rare temperate rainforest habitats found across the Southwest and Cumbria.
As we mark one year on from the anniversary of the UN COP15 Summit in Montreal, the government is continuing to put nature recovery at the heart of climate change to further this legacy – protecting the environment for future generations.
The government played a leading role in negotiating and securing the global deal for nature at the UN CO15 summit in Montreal. This leadership was critical in bringing together 196 countries in a joint, global commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, and – through leadership of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature & People and the Global Ocean Alliance – to protect at least 30% of the land and of the ocean globally, with robust action underway to meet this target.
The government has announced an additional £2 million funding for the global, market-led Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) initiative which launched its framework in September. This will support capacity building and boost market adoption of the TNFD recommendations for nature-related risk management and disclosure. The TNFD recommendations enable businesses and financial institutions to report and act on their nature-related risks, impacts, dependencies, and opportunities, with the ultimate aim of supporting the realignment of global financial flows towards nature positive outcomes.
At COP28, the UK will be hosting the 10 Point Plan for Financing Biodiversity Ministerial Stocktake. Here the government will launch the 10 Point Plan (10PP) stocktake dashboard – reviewing positive trends and direction of progress against the 10 points of the plan to ensure that finance flows towards nature recovery.
Today we are launching the pilot of the Projects for Nature platform, a new pioneering partnership with the Council for Sustainable Business, Crowdfunder, and Accenture. This initiative will match corporate donations to nature recovery projects across England which are selected by Defra, Natural England and Environment Agency. It will link up businesses who have shown leadership in addressing their nature impact, such as Lloyd’s Banking Group and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, with nature recovery projects that best align with our domestic and international environmental commitments. To view the platform, visit: www.projectsfornature.com.
We announced today that we will continue to support the work of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People through a new “Ocean Champion” role, whilst continuing our leadership of the Global Ocean Alliance. The two coalitions have also agreed to work in partnership supporting countries to implement 30by30.
The UK has endorsed and joined a number of initiatives at COP28 which elevate the role of nature in global climate action. This includes: the Coral Reef Breakthrough, Mangrove Breakthrough Declaration, the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy Joint Declaration on Ocean and Climate action and joining the Mangrove Alliance for Climate initiative.
Forest Risk Commodities
Between 2016 and 2018, WWF estimate that around 21 million hectares – an area almost the size of the UK – was required each year to meet UK demand for seven forest-risk commodities (FRCs) alone.
The Forest Risk Commodities Scheme will be introduced through provisions in Schedule 17 of the Environment Act 2021. Secondary regulation to operationalise these provisions will be laid when parliamentary time allows. This new due diligence legislation requires regulated businesses to establish and implement a due diligence system for any regulated commodity, and any products derived from them, that they use in their UK commercial activities
The full list of commodities in scope is as follows: Non-dairy Cattle products (beef and leather), cocoa, palm, and soy.
Organisations using these commodities in UK supply chains with a global turnover of over £50m are in scope of the regulations.
Organisations whose use of the regulated commodities does not exceed the annual volume threshold of 500 tonnes may submit an exemption.
Legislation follows a consultation in 2021 on the implementation of the regulations. The consultation outcome informed policy decisions on the commodities in scope, thresholds and exemptions for businesses, enforcement of the regulations, a grace period and variable monetary penalties
Organisations (whether in scope or as suppliers or service providers to organisations in scope) will have a grace period to prepare for regulation before the beginning of the first reporting period.
Unlimited Variable Monetary Penalties will be in place as part of civil sanctions
The government will work with landowners, farmers, land managers and wider partners to further develop our approach to delivering 30by30 in England.
Following publication of the 30by30 map, we will work with these partners to finalise our 30by30 criteria and develop more detailed guidance by summer 2024.
Contributions to the 30by30 target will be voluntary, and do not represent any new management requirements or designation.
Marine Net Gain is an opportunity to leave our environment in a better place and to reverse the biodiversity decline/crisis in our seas. It compliments and builds on other policies but uniquely seeks to deliver a net gain improvement in the marine environment.
We have published the Government Response to the consultation on the principles of Marine Net Gain, held in 2022. This applies in English waters only.
Government has listened to feedback from the consultation and will now take forward the agreed high-level principles in the next phase of policy development. Decisions on the implementation approach for MNG, will be taken during the next phase of policy development following additional evidence collection, impact assessment and stakeholder engagement.
We will seek to ensure that MNG is simple to follow and operates seamlessly with Biodiversity Net Gain which from January 2024 will apply above the low water line and on land. Where a new development straddles this line there will be no requirement to double up on net gain measures.
The additional £640,000 will help drive investment flows from the private sector towards nature through the development of a Saltmarsh Code. This code will allow saltmarsh carbon to be marketed and traded as a carbon offset.
This funding is for Phase 2 of the development of the UK Saltmarsh Code, the first phase (which ended in January 2023) was funded through Defra’s Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund.
This funding will also create a pipeline of restoration projects in key estuarine and coastal habitats by increasing the capacity of the Restoring Meadow, Marsh and Reef initiative (ReMeMaRe).
This funding will also improve the blue carbon evidence base, helping us to fill the gaps identified by the UK Blue Carbon Evidence Partnership’s Evidence Needs Statement (published in June 2023).
She added that talks over how this debt should be repaid will “be difficult and will take time.”
“We’re not expecting that the reparatory damages will be paid in a year, or two, or five because the extraction of wealth and the damages took place over centuries. But we are demanding that we be seen and that we are heard,” the prime minister said.
A day earlier, Mottley met with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron to discuss bilateral relations between the countries, but would not reveal details about Cameron’s position on Britain’s slavery-related debt to the media, saying only that she hopes “the foreign secretary will take his lead from his majesty” on the issue.
King Charles has acknowledged Britain’s role in the slave trade, publicly expressing his regret over the injustice and suffering that slavery inflicted, while making no reference to financial reparations. In a speech in Ghana in 2018, Charles condemned slavery, calling it an “appalling atrocity” and “profound injustice” that can never be forgotten.
In Rwanda last June, Charles said it is important to “acknowledge our past,” including slavery, which he called a “painful period.”
The British Empire traded an estimated 3.1 million Africans, of whom 2.7 million were sent to Britain’s colonies in the Caribbean, North and South America, and other places over a period of 150 years. The slave trade was abolished by Britain’s Parliament in 1807.
Since becoming the leader of the island nation in 2018, Mottley has been an influential voice on the legacy of colonialism and has demanded reparations for the damage done by the empire.
Citing figures from a report by the Brattle Group, which analyzed the cost of the transatlantic slave trade, she said the UK owes $24 trillion in reparations to 14 countries affected by transatlantic slavery, Spain owes $17.1 trillion, France – $9.2 trillion, and the Netherlands – $4.86 trillion.
“These numbers, if taken out of context, can appear to be staggering. But in relation to the total wealth accumulated over a period of time, the numbers are actually minuscule,” Mottley said.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak publicly declined to apologize or offer reparations for the slave trade in April, saying that “trying to unpick our history is not the right way forward and is not something we will focus our energies on.”
We are gravely concerned about the desperate situation in Gaza. The scale of civilian deaths and displacement in Gaza cannot continue. We welcomed the extended humanitarian pause last month and the release of hostages and humanitarian aid deliveries that took place during it. We call for further and longer pauses to get aid to Palestinians and allow space for further hostage releases.
But we cannot vote in favour of a resolution which does not condemn the atrocities Hamas committed against innocent Israeli civilians on the 7th of October. Calling for a ceasefire ignores the fact that Hamas has committed acts of terror and is still holding civilians hostage.
Israel needs to be able to address the threat posed by Hamas and it needs to do so in a manner that abides by international humanitarian law, so that such an attack can never be carried out again. And so that we can work meaningfully towards a two-state solution, which delivers statehood for the Palestinians, security for Israel, and peace for people on both sides.
AceBreakingNews – External waters fishing vessel licences allowing vessels to fish outside of UK waters in 2023 will expire at the end of this year. In the update below you can find the latest information on preparations by the UK Single Issuing Authority (UKSIA) for 2024 and actions you may need to take now or in future.
Existing holders of a UK external waters licence for EU waters will receive a licence for 2024 automatically. The UKSIA will issue the licence by email to the fishing vessel licence nominee by the end of the year. The list of vessels with external waters licences can be checked on the UKSIA website here United Kingdom Single Issuing Authority (UKSIA) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and we advise that you check this list to confirm your vessel is appropriately licensed before undertaking any fishing activity outside of UK waters.
If you do not have a licence and intend to fish in EU waters you must apply using the application form here.
Third Country and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs)
Access to third country waters including Norway and Faroes, and international waters managed by RFMOs are subject to negotiations and annual consultations. These are ongoing and the UKSIA will issue further updates about how you can apply for a licence to access these waters once the discussions have concluded.
If your contact or vessel details have changed, you must notify your vessel’s licensing administration office.
Contact the UKSIA
We will be issuing further updates over the coming weeks but if you have any queries please check the UKSIA website for announcements and further details, or contact the UKSIA at UKSIA@marinemanagement.org.uk or call 02080265062.