State of the oceans "critical": Germany appoints first ocean officer

Overexploitation and littering are increasingly affecting the oceans around the world.

State of the oceans "critical": Germany appoints first ocean officer

Overexploitation and littering are increasingly affecting the oceans around the world. In order to protect the fragile ecosystems, Germany is now getting a commissioner for the protection of the seas for the first time. This is an internationally recognized expert.

For the first time in Germany, a commissioner for the protection of the seas takes up work. At its meeting, the federal cabinet appointed the former head of department in the Ministry of the Environment, Sebastian Unger, as the federal government's new commissioner for the sea. As the Ministry of the Environment announced, the new office is part of the portfolio of Environment Minister Steffi Lemke. The new marine commissioner is to represent the federal government in national and international negotiations on marine protection.

"We want to further strengthen our international commitment to ambitious and legally binding agreements to protect biological diversity on the high seas, in the international deep sea and in the fight against plastic pollution in the oceans," said Unger. The state of the seas is "critical" worldwide. The overexploitation and littering of the seas is increasing, so the marine ecosystems must now be better protected. "Only healthy seas are resilient, can make a substantial contribution to climate protection and can be used in an environmentally friendly and nature-friendly manner," he emphasized.

In the coalition agreement, the traffic light government made up of SPD, Greens and FDP agreed, among other things, to strengthen the ability of the seas to store climate-damaging carbon dioxide by rebuilding natural ecosystems. In addition, it was stipulated that an immediate program for salvaging ammunition in the North Sea and Baltic Sea would be launched and that the quality of marine protection areas in the German North Sea and Baltic Sea would be improved.

Sebastian Unger has been sub-department head for marine protection at the Federal Environment Ministry since September 1 of this year and is an internationally recognized expert in marine governance, marine protection and sustainable marine use. Previously, he was a group leader at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, where he conducted research on oceans. During this time he also acted as a consultant to governments, European institutions and international organizations, according to the Ministry of the Environment.

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