This summit was the first high level event in 2022 to raise the collective level of ambition of the international community in the run-up to the COP15 CBD to be held in China later this year.
Organized by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, it was an opportunity for the EU to reassert its key role as a balancing power in the international governance of the ocean, the improvement of knowledge about the ocean and the development of a sustainable blue economy. It called for for the adoption of an international treaty to conserve marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
“It is time for an alliance between us and the ocean. Today, the European Union and the French Presidency of the European Union Council are launching the High Ambition Coalition on the Highest Seas.” Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Commission
The ocean as the source of every ecosystem that makes the Earth habitable for humanity covers more than 70 % of the surface of our planet. Yet too often it remains on the sidelines of international events, including those dedicated to climate and biodiversity. The ocean is a regulator of major environmental balances, a provider of resources, an important enabler of trade, and an essential link between countries and human communities. However, it is now being seriously threatened by the effects of climate change, pollution and the overexploitation of marine resources. The time is now to do our utmost to avoid reaching a point of no return in the degradation of oceans.
“The transformative action to which all of us are called is that of moving to a net zero economy by 2050. We have much work to do and we will not be satisfied until their well-being has been secured, until we have reached a net zero carbon economy and restored our relationship with the Ocean, and Nature as a whole, to one of respect and balance.” Peter Thompson, UN Special Envoy for Ocean
At the PreCOP of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Colombia in August 2021, the signatories of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (CHA), the Global Ocean Alliance (GOA) and the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature (LPN) came together and presented a joint statement to join forces for nature and call for an ambitious framework for biodiversity at the next COP15 in 2022 (Kunming, China).
“2022 will be decisive to enter into commitments and pledges to protect marine ecosystems, fight pollution and plastic litter (…) In Kunming at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15, we must write in stone committments to protect marine areas.” declared Emmanuel Macron, President of France.
He was later completed by John Kerry, United States Special Envoy for Climate : “It is the ocean that makes life on Earth possible. This HAS to be the year in which we connect dots between climate and ocean protection.“
As the CBD parties negotiate the terms of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, it is crucial to integrate the links between nature and people and the services that ocean ecosystems provide, for a society in harmony with nature. The Chinese Presidency of the CBD COP15 was participating to the event.
“We need to protect marine biodiversity, support international efforts against illegal fishing and to ensure a balance between the development and protection of the ocean.” stated Wang Qishan, Vice-president of Republic of China.
The high-level segment of the One Ocean Summit brought together many Heads of State and Government, leaders of multilateral institutions, business leaders, and civil society policymakers making ambitious commitments. Several important initiatives were launched, including a High Ambition Coalition on the Highest Seas. Traction was also given for the preparation and adoption of a Global treaty to regulate plastic pollution, in line with the draft global biodiversity framework target 7, which refers to eliminating the discharge of plastic waste.
The Global Ocean Alliance has already been signed by 71 countries – including France, Costa Rica, Colombia – all of which support the 30by30 initiative to protect at least 30% of the world’s ocean in marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) by 2030.
Egypt, which has actively worked as President of CBD COP 14 to create new targets to nurture nature and biodiversity in marine areas, and now presides UNFCCC COP27, announced joigning both the Global Ocean Alliance and the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People on the occasion. “We will build a constructive dialogue to protect our seas and oceans.” Abdelfattah Elsisi, President of Egypt
The One Ocean Summit gave a strong impetus to the international agenda on maritime challenges, in particular to finalize the multilateral negotiations that impact the ocean and provide material for the UN Ocean conference that will take place in Lisbon in late June 2022. Its most salient topics were:
- To support and expand international action for the Ocean
- To mobilize the international maritime community
- To take action against the threats to the Ocean
The following forums and workshops organized were particularly relevant our Project including on what kind of Sea to feed us in 2030, on investing in blue public private partnerships for the ocean, on what and whom are we protecting, as well as a Forum on Resilience of Cities and territories.