“Wouldst thou”—so the helmsman answered--
“Learn the secret of the sea?
Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I’ll participate in the Our Ocean Leadership Summit hosted by Georgetown University. Each participant, as well as members of the public, have submitted pledges for the <1000 Our Ocean Actions Campaign> that we’ll share with Secretary Kerry and other global leaders. Pledges include big commitments from NGOs, governments, and the private sector; but the organizing committee also will highlight “the equally important commitments to action that individuals and community groups can make to protect our ocean.” I've three:
My pledge is to develop and implement technologies that help us better explore, understand, and manage our oceans. I believe the best means of implementing this pledge is to create a CERN-like research organization that is multinational and funded jointly by the public and private sectors. A CERN for the oceans could also serve as an incubator for more effective global ocean management policies. More on that in my <my 2015 TIME op-ed>.
My pledge is to complete my current PhD research combining marine biology with engineering to determine the most effective means to restore and degraded coral reefs.
My pledge is to become more engaged in public policy development, specifically related to international cooperation and better unilateral management of the oceans that will rationalize and focus public and private research funds on the most pressing ocean-related issues.
The event piggybacks off a few other important ocean meetings, including the 2nd of four preparatory meetings to negotiate a new High Seas Treaty at the United Nations in New York. From the Ocean Unite’s newsletter:
“Governments and NGOs will be pulling up their sleeves again to carry on the important task of plugging the governance gaps for 2/3 of the world’s Ocean. Round one of meetings in March got off to a successful start. At this session, things are likely to get more charged as the meeting starts to focus on the substance, with regards to the different elements that need to be included in the agreement. At this stage there is always the risk that important issues might get stranded on the rocks or thrown overboard altogether.
Gearing up for the meeting the NGO coalition the High Seas Alliance (HSA) organised a webinar and released a newsletter, and various organisations prepared handy briefings such as Greenpeace’s 10 steps to high seas marine protection – a must-read for governments. The Huffington Post is also running a series of articles about the negotiations on its ‘What’s Working Oceans’ page, written by negotiators and observers to this process. Plus, check out our blog on why the next two weeks are critical for the future of high seas marine life, the Ocean and all of us.
The IUCN World Conservation Congress will shortly start its 24th Session in Hawaii (1–10 September), now home to the world’s largest marine reserve! As we reported last month, this meeting is a big deal in the conservation world, with more than a thousand events bringing together thousands of scientists, politicians, NGOs, academics, indigenous peoples and business folks to talk all things conservation.
A number of important motions for the Ocean will be up for discussion including marine protected areas (MPAs), sharks and rays and coral reefs, and NGOs are currently working hard to drum up enough votes for their successful adoption at the Member’s Assembly. Check out all the marine-related events in this very handy IUCN guide.
In particular, Motion 49 urges members to work together constructively within the high seas treaty negotiation process to ensure a strong agreement that really does address all the gaps in high seas governance (see above). If this motion goes forward it will give a welcome boost to treaty negotiations, ensuring ambition levels stay high.
Motion 53 builds on the 2014 IUCN Promise of Sydney “to create a fully sustainable ocean, at least 30% of which has no-extractive activities”, by including a 2030 deadline to reflect scientific recommendations that say we need to up our game in Ocean protection. Let’s hope for a Blue Hawaii conference (feel a song coming on?) with the successful adoption of these motions.”
Finally, in November Fabien Cousteau is opening his Ocean Learning Center in Bonaire. If any readers want an invitation, please message me. I won’t be there, but it’s sure to be a blast!