More than 30 countries on the Atlantic Ocean are forming a partnership to cooperate on issues such as technology, a sustainable ocean economy and climate change, the White House said Tuesday.
The Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation involves nations from four continents and was forged on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York City.
The partnership is designed to spur cooperation on issues like commercial fishing while acknowledging warming waters and rising sea levels that could pose serious challenges.
“This is the first multilateral entity of this scope open to all Atlantic nations, bridging four continents,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told participants at a ministerial meeting in New York late Monday. “And at a moment when there’s some doubt about our ability to come together in common cause, we’re showing with this initiative that it is indeed possible.”
He said the first order of business will be promoting scientific data on the ocean and ways to combat plastic pollution while training the next generation of Atlantic researchers.
“The Atlantic connects and sustains us like never before. More commercial and shipping traffic across the Atlantic than any other ocean. More data travels along its underwater cables than any other ocean. It’s home to more than half of the world’s fisheries. In sum, the Atlantic is an ocean of opportunity and an ocean that connects us in a multiplicity of ways,” Mr. Blinken said.
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“I think it’s also fair to say that we’re linked by common challenges,” he said. “It’s the heating and cooling of the Atlantic that is driving global climate and weather patterns. And as the ocean warms and sea levels rise, that in turn is disrupting marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them, threatening livelihoods, exacerbating food insecurity.”
The White House said the partnership built on last year’s Joint Statement on Atlantic Cooperation, which laid the groundwork for a formal partnership.
Beyond technology and climate issues, the partnership will reaffirm the territorial integrity of each nation and uphold its commitment to international law so that member states “are free from interference, coercion, or aggressive action.”
The partnership includes Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Spain, Togo, the U.K., the U.S. and Uruguay.