Declaration on Atlantic Cooperation
The text of the following declaration was released by the Governments of Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Canada, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Spain, Togo, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay at the Ministerial for Atlantic Cooperation on September 18, 2023.
1. We, as States bordering the Atlantic Ocean, share a commitment to a peaceful, stable, prosperous, open, safe, cooperative Atlantic region and to conserve a healthy, sustainable, and resilient resource for generations to come. Building on the Joint Statement on Atlantic Cooperation issued in New York on September 20, 2022, we welcome the opportunity to establish these guiding principles, which represent our governments commitment to accomplish our shared goals.
2. We recognize that the Atlantic Ocean connects us and is an important resource for our present and future development, health, and well-being and offers untapped economic potential, from natural resources to new technologies. The Atlantic Ocean regulates our climate, is a vital source of food and energy, is essential for trade and livelihoods, and connects us culturally. The Atlantic Ocean also connects us in the face of challenges such as piracy, transnational organized crime, narcotics trafficking, as well as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, climate change, natural disasters, pollution, and environmental degradation, which pose a threat to our well-being, livelihoods, and the sustainable ocean economy. Thus, we share a commitment to cooperate and coordinate our efforts to achieve peace, stability, prosperity, and sustainability.
3. No country alone can solve the cross-boundary challenges in the Atlantic region or fully address the opportunities before us. Atlantic States have a special interest and primary role in the Atlantic. We understand that the manifold interdependencies between Atlantic States and the interconnected nature of many of the challenges we face make clear the need for deeper collaboration and integration and a commitment to multilateralism in our efforts to work together toward common goals.
4. We are committed to international law, and a stronger, inclusive, representative, and effective multilateralism, with the UN Charter at its core as the foundation of our efforts. We acknowledge the importance of existing national and international legal frameworks, and we reaffirm that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea sets out the legal framework that governs all activities in the ocean and the seas.
5. We seek to open a new chapter in advancing regional cooperation to build shared solutions and capacity to address Atlantic challenges, representing the interconnected approach to prosperity, safety, stability, and sustainability. We will advance cooperation to realize an Atlantic Ocean that is sustainable, healthy, safe, productive, and biologically diverse, linking resilient and prosperous coastal communities, and supporting sustainable economic growth and social inclusion for Atlantic States.
6. Similarly, we will advance cooperation to realize the opportunities offered in the sustainable ocean economy – recognizing that sustainable use of ocean resources provides the foundation for fair and equitable economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ensuring the health of marine and coastal ecosystems. We will work to ensure the ocean continues to sustainably support our livelihoods, from food for growing populations to the conduct of global commerce, both now and for future generations. We recognize that there is no sustainable development without a serious commitment to promote development, build capacity, and alleviate poverty in developing countries.
7. We acknowledge the vital importance of the transfer of technology on voluntary and mutually agreed terms as a critically important means to bolster development, create jobs and income, support livelihoods, promote human health, and bridge the technological gap among nations.
8. We will work together to address the challenges of climate change, natural disasters, and environmental degradation, collaborating on science-based, innovative solutions to advance our shared goals, including averting, minimizing, and addressing loss and damage; building climate resilience; promoting the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity and marine ecosystems; mitigating marine pollution, including plastic pollution and underwater noise; and protecting human health.
9. We reaffirm our commitment to uphold international law, including the UN Charter, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, to promote an open Atlantic in which Atlantic States are free from interference, coercion, or aggressive action. We commit to uphold the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence of States, and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means and the purpose to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights, and self-determination of peoples. We seek to promote the Atlantic as a place of peace, stability, prosperity, and cooperation.
10. We emphasize the centrality of coordination, cooperation, and complementarity in our work, embrace solidarity of purpose, support diversity, enable increased capacity, strive for inclusion, equity and mutual benefit, and avoid duplication and fragmentation of effort.
11. We are determined to establish and strengthen collaborative action on specific topics where cooperation from the entire Atlantic evolves at the pace partners deem appropriate, is centered on their needs, and is mutually beneficial. We will prioritize actions that yield concrete benefits for Atlantic States and are better addressed with actions encompassing both the north and south Atlantic States, taking into account the different capabilities, vulnerabilities, and realities of States bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
12. We aim to build on existing initiatives and actively support their work in bringing all Atlantic States together to play an equal part in shaping our common future, including recognizing valuable work of and improving collaboration and coordination with the existing organizations and initiatives focused specifically on strengthening Atlantic cooperation, including the Zone of Peace and Cooperation in the South Atlantic, the Yaoundé Architecture for Maritime Security (YAMS), the Atlantic Centre, the Air Centre, the African Atlantic States Process (AASP), the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance (AAORIA), as well as the additional work underway on a global level, such as the UN SDGs/2030 Agenda, the Global Biodiversity Framework, the agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and others.
13. As a demonstration of these cooperative relationships and our commitment to achieving our common goals in the region, we join together to establish a forum and adopt the annexed Plan of Action. This forum, the Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation, will provide a means to promote cooperation and interaction exclusively on science and technology and sustainable economic development among Atlantic States in a spirit of inclusivity, trust, mutual understanding, and respect. The Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation will not deal with matters related to defense, security, and governance. Participation will be voluntary and open to the States bordering the Atlantic Ocean that endorse the goals and principles as embodied in the September 20, 2022 Joint Statement on Atlantic Cooperation and this Declaration. Decisions will be made by consensus and be based on a commitment to open dialogue and consensus-building, with equal respect for the views of all participants and for the unique characteristics of the South Atlantic, which is a zone of peace and cooperation. We intend to meet as appropriate to promote such cooperation. Participating Atlantic States will determine arrangements for organizing the work of this forum, including implementing the Plan of Action, as needed.
14. This Declaration and the annexed Plan of Action represent the political commitments of the participants and are not an international agreement.
Annex: Plan of Action
1. Through the adoption of a Declaration, the Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation provides a forum to promote cooperation and interaction among States bordering the Atlantic Ocean and to uphold principles for Atlantic cooperation. Its work will proceed at both a high level for strategic policy and at the expert level to advance specific issues, with actions taken by States individually, in smaller groups, or by the entire group.
2. Participating Atlantic States plan to cooperate on activities that would i) yield concrete benefits for Atlantic States; ii) promote the involvement and support of a maximum number of Atlantic States; iii) would be better addressed with resources and actions encompassing northern and southern Atlantic States; and iv) add value to, enhance, or broaden the scope of other initiatives, where they exist, to avoid duplication of effort.
3. Participating Atlantic States identified the following initial topic area for its work:
Promoting greater scientific cooperation by sharing information, building capacity, and increasing access to technology on voluntary and mutually agreed terms.
Within this broad topic area, work could include:
A. Scientific cooperation and shared research and environmental observations and ocean data:
- Promote science and technology cooperation, including data sharing and sharing of best practices, on coastal ecosystems, marine plastic pollution, Sargassum, estuarine invasive weeds, prevention and response to ocean-related environmental disasters, and food security, taking into account the needs of coastal communities.
- Expand and broaden participation in select AAORIA activities.
- Strengthen forecasting and early warning capabilities, particularly regarding severe weather events.
B. Information and maritime awareness
- Identify the most critical gaps in capacity and technology.
- Increase access to maritime domain awareness technology, including the transfer of know-how and technology on voluntary and mutually agreed terms.
C. Cadre of young Atlantic scientists
- Establish a scholarship and exchange program to foster excellence and to build ties among the next generation of scientists.
4. Participation in this initiative is voluntary and will take into account the different capabilities, vulnerabilities, and realities of Atlantic States. Any participating State can propose a topic for a working group. Participation in working groups is voluntary. Those States that wish to participate in a working group will designate focal points. Working groups will be responsible for convening participants, developing a workplan and timeline, and ensuring the activity is developed in close coordination with existing initiatives. Working groups may invite external partners, including academics, civil society, philanthropies, and the private sector, to contribute as observers, subject to consensus of the group. All decisions in and about working groups should be made by consensus. As determined by participants, working groups will regularly report progress and recommendations to Ministers to monitor implementation, ensure coordination, and mobilize the necessary resources.
5. Anticipated next steps will include:
- Inviting participating Atlantic States to identify focal points to participate in topic-focused working groups.
- Convening working groups to scope the issue and determine next steps.
- Convening a Senior Officials Meeting in November 2023.
 Recalling Resolutions A/RES/41/11, A/RES/49/26, and other relevant UN General Assembly resolutions regarding the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic.
Joseph R. Biden, Declaration on Atlantic Cooperation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/365170