The fourth, Our Ocean conference recently held in Malta produced some amazing results, in particular, over $8 billion pledged from international leaders to fight climate change, plastic pollution and other threats to our ocean’s vital marine ecosystems.
Top executives from multinational corporations like Pepsi, Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble made the trip to the small Mediterranean island of Malta to join with scientists and heads of state in a commitment to improve the health of our ocean as reported in Oceans Deeply.
Biodiversity of the High Seas Protected by International Treaty!
The discussions focused on the desire to build toward an international treaty to protect the biodiversity of the high seas, which lies beyond national jurisdictions and makes up nearly two-thirds of the world’s oceans.
“We need a global cooperative effort, a new strategy to promote new international law fit for the purpose, of securing the ocean we want,” said, Kristina Gjerde, adviser to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, adding “As the ocean has been reminding us for many years, it’s one interconnected whole.”
After years of groundwork laid by scientists and diplomats the U.N. is to vote on beginning negotiations on such a treaty by the end of 2017. The mood at this year’s Our Ocean conference seemed optimistic that the many serious issues affecting the ocean were being treated with the importance they required.
“Our ocean is bigger than any continent, yet it is not too big to fail.”
As Federica Mogherini, the E.U. high representative, told delegates “If the ocean was a country it would be one of the world’s biggest economies and would have a seat at the G7—- Our ocean is bigger than any continent, yet it is not too big to fail.”
Although with the election of Donald Trump, the United States has stepped back from leadership on ocean issues, John Kerry, Secretary of State under President Obama appeared at the conference as a private citizen. Quoting Rachel Carson he said “It is a curious situation that the sea from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. The sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist. The threat is rather to life itself.’
“That was written 70 years ago and it was prophetic,” said Kerry. “And it should instill all of us here in Malta with a special mission to understand that we have to do more faster, we have to meet this challenge.”
The Supreme Wake-Up Call”
The Prince of Wales who was in attendance said, “If the unprecedented ferocity of recent catastrophic hurricanes is not the supreme wake-up call that it needs to be, to address the vast and accumulating threat of climate change and ocean warming, then we – let alone the global insurance and financial sectors – can surely no longer consider ourselves part of a rational, sensible civilization.”
All Plastic Packaging Reusable, Recyclable or Compostable by 2025
On the corporate front Unilever, pledged that by 2025 all of its plastic packaging would be reusable, recyclable or compostable. While British retailing multinational Marks & Spencer said all its plastic packaging would be recyclable by 2022 and they committed to applying new science to make the recycling of packaging easier. Procter & Gamble unveiled a liquid soap bottle made from recycled plastic, 10 percent of which was collected from oceans and beaches.
Let’s hope that the $8 billion pledged is delivered upon and that all of these commitments both corporate and national, truly mark a turning point in the world’s response to the issues facing our ocean.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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