Ciaran Cannon, Minister of State for International Development, addressed representatives from more than 200 countries at the EU conference, stressing the importance of promoting and protecting the world's marine resources for present and future generations.
Aside from the new funding for mapping and research, Minister Cannon also announced the roll-out of a 'groundbreaking' Global Citizenship marine environment education module for school children from September 2017 onwards.
“This programme will increase ocean literacy by fostering understanding of the important role our oceans play in our lives, how individual actions can affect them and how we can act together to protect them,” he said.
Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan explained that the new module supports the aims of the institute’s own Explorers Education Programme “to build on Ireland's marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity.”
Meanwhile, Minister Cannon committed to €320,000 in funding to the 2017 Clean Coasts programme and its more than 550 volunteer groups established in Ireland to date.
Also noted was an expansion of the 2015 Fishing for Litter programme, and continued contributions to support developing countries engagement at the UN on issues relating to marine governance.
In addition, Minister Cannon reaffirmed Ireland's commitment to prohibit the sale or manufacture of certain products containing microbeads, announced at the UN in June of this year.