The return of the great ministry of the Sea - The Point

"The Twenty-first century will be the maritime" announced Emmanuel Macron last December to the Foundation of the sea. And to add, the 14 June, that the econom

The return of the great ministry of the Sea - The Point

"The Twenty-first century will be the maritime" announced Emmanuel Macron last December to the Foundation of the sea. And to add, the 14 June, that the economic reconstruction of the country, including " the acceleration of our maritime strategy ". Because, with its 11 million square kilometers of maritime space, France is the second maritime power in the world. However, the ministry of the Sea, created for the first time in 1981, is often transformed into a secretariat of State or has been attached to other departments, such as Ecology or Transport. Last minister of full exercise : Jacques Mellick in 1991. Since 2017, the portfolio had even disappeared. But on Monday, the Elysée palace has announced its revival, with Annick Girardin to his head.

For Julia Cup, a specialist in marine environments in the Energy, climate and security of the Iris (Institute of international and strategic relations), this comeback is far from a coincidence. Since the beginning of the quinquennium of Emmanuel Macron, the general secretariat for the Sea, attached to the Prime minister, expressed his "desire to renew the French strategy" and the actors in the sector have called for a stronger presence of the France. A logical decision for Sylviane Llinares, professor of maritime history and a researcher for the CNRS, since the oceans are a strategic place. "It is necessary to take into consideration maritime issues for the years to come, and so it is a strong sign sent by the government. "

The maritime territories French house, in fact, 10 % of the world's biodiversity

The name "ministry of the Sea," is broad enough to encompass both economic issues as military, environmental, or diplomatic. Both a good and a bad news, since the administration will have to make choices. Paul Durand, a lecturer in the department of Geography of Paris-I, want to see a " willingness to take into account the ecological issues ". Because this specialist, coastal and risk management considers that the most important mission of this ministry must be, above all, that of sustainable development. "We must succeed in reconciling economic activity and the preservation of the environment. "The maritime territories French house, in fact, 10 % of the world's biodiversity. "This is not the main subject, but it is fashion," says Olivier Aranda, phd student in maritime history at Paris I. More than the ecological aspect, the ministry of the Sea should also highlight the economic aspect of the territories seamen, according to Julia Cup.

On the field, the lack of dialogue and too many decisions are taken without consultation of actors are the problem. While there is already an integrated coastal zone management, it commits too often, the projects without any real consultation. "It is necessary to make sure that they speak," says Paul Durand about actors of the littoral. He gives the example of a project for the construction of a yachting harbour in Vendée, on a natural site classified. Between the conflicting decisions of the commissions of inquiry, the environmental authorities and the RAIN, the city of Bretignolles-sur-Mer is facing its inhabitants through associations intermediaries. And this is not an isolated case. In the Aude, Port-la-Nouvelle, the region of Occitania wants to enlarge and transform the port. A project that unleashes the passions, and have seen to mobilise new actors, including associations, as. The usefulness of a ministry of the Sea will be, therefore, especially to give impetus and bring the different actors around the table, for these projects, as well as other. Thanks to the systematic implementation of steering committees, for example, which would promote the dialogue around a project. Julia Cup goes further than that : it is necessary to not only consult but also to educate. "The interest of the ministry of the Sea lies in a dynamic force that will enable players to become aware of their cumulative impacts. "Without consultation, difficult to be aware of the overall impact of all activities on the natural environment. On the coasts, for example, where professionals from different sectors of the economy are too seldom in contact : tourism, fishing, commercial transportation..., Sylviane Llinares also emphasises the role of the Navy, who is on a very broad field, ranging from the monitoring of maritime traffic, protection of the environment.

A ministry to not insult the future

To Olivier Aranda " it is a ministry to not insult the future ". Because the seabed are home to what might be the resources of the future : ores, rare metals, but also renewable energy (offshore wind, tidal turbines). "It is so much possibilities that come to nuance the finiteness of our resources," he added. The sea could therefore become the new "pioneer front" of France. An investment for the future, which could prove to be profitable, since France is the only country in the world that has territories on five continents and eleven time zones.

But it is also a symbolic decision, since this ministry emphasizes the global power of France. Strategic, at the time of the claims of Madagascar on certain islands of the Indian ocean or of illegal fishing in French Guiana. "It is a signal sent to the actors as a tool of France's image," says Julia Cup. To the extent that the powers may not be innovative, she says. The department should recover of the responsibilities until then assigned to others. But it will still have to wait to be informed on the scope and the allocated budget, two elements essential to understanding the scope of work of the ministry. Paul Durand is also the fear that this is only one weight in more of an administrative point of view. He would have rather seen a special delegation to the marine areas within the department of Ecology. He wonders, moreover, on the relations between the two departments. "Will they work together ? "

Updated Date: 09 July 2020, 14:33

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