In worldwide terms, Reunion is the only Outermost Region [1] in the Indian Ocean, where it represents Europe over a zone of 590,000 km2 containing the marine resources that are the most highly-coveted by those exploiting the sea today. Moreover, the zone’s islands and their coastlines are “hotspots” of world biodiversity as well as being a refuge for numerous endangered species.

In regional terms, Reunion Island is located at the core of the European Union’s Regional Programme of Support and Cooperation for the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. The island can and must become Europe’s advanced platform in the region, a technological, scientific, initial and life-long training platform. Actors in Reunion such as the IRD and the IFREMER are already highly experienced in cooperating in development programmes.

It is Europe’s responsibility to defend these vast marine territories, world heritages of biodiversity, in the face of international pressure to overexploit them.