Our Ocean Conference: new leadership for protecting the ocean

© Tara Expeditions Foundation

On October 5th and 6th the Our Ocean Conference (4th edition) took place in Malta. This Conference was initiated and led by the United States between 2014 and 2016 under the leadership of Secretary of State John Kerry. The Tara Expeditions Foundation actively participated in the discussions and followed the commitments of other countries.

The overall objective of Our Ocean is to broadly mobilize participants — UN agencies, researchers, businesses, NGOs — to inspire new solutions and make concrete commitments to limit our impacts on the ocean and manage it more sustainably.


New leadership for protecting the ocean: Europe

This year, for the first time, the Conference was chaired by the European Union which has shown its motivation to become a leader on these issues. For the Tara Expeditions Foundation, European mobilization is to be welcomed, but will need to be confirmed by concrete actions in the years to come.


© Maeva Bardy


What did the countries discuss?

After 2 days of events and discussions, the results of the Conference were quite positive: more than 80 delegations in attendance made various commitments on 6 defined themes:

• marine protected areas
• climate change
• sustainable fisheries
• marine pollution
• sustainable blue economy
• maritime safety


What progress?

A long series of announcements was made with increasing commitments from stakeholders (437 this year) in the field of conservation, education, sustainable production, research and technology.
It remains to be seen if these commitments will be tangible and measurable, and then evaluate their implementation. We must constantly challenge those players who “put a foot” in the ocean to be sure they keep their financial promises, eg, contributing an additional 7.2 billion euros.


Tara’s plea for the ocean

• A technological feat and brand-new images: Tara presented coral to the world as we’ve never seen it before. At the opening of the Conference, the Tara Foundation set the tone and described issues related to coral reefs by presenting a striking video about the bleaching of corals, made and distributed in partnership with Bioquest Studios.


• New declaration on the preservation of corals reefs, and helping the populations that depend on them: Tara allies with the nation states

The Tara Foundation participated in launching the joint declaration of Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Prince of Wales, signed by 12 countries (Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, France, Grenada, Indonesia, Mexico, Monaco, Niue, Palau, Polynesia French, Seychelles) who plan to:

– Promoting ambitious climate measures needed to prevent further degradation of coral reefs

– Encourage the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to highlight the role and fate of coral ecosystems and to explore and promote solutions

– Promote high-level, multi-disciplinary research, support adaptation, develop sustainable business models, and demonstrate the financial benefits of investing in coral reefs

Read the full declaration
On October 5th and 6th the Our Ocean Conference (4th edition) took place in Malta
The Tara Foundation supports this declaration, considering it to be an important step towards raising awareness about the crucial role of coral reefs for humanity.

• Tara Scientific Research: The Foundation demonstrates its determination to act

The Tara Foundation presented its 2 commitments concerning research programs: Tara Oceans on plankton and Tara Pacific on coral.


And tomorrow ?

The annual Our Ocean Conference is one of the only international meetings for the Ocean community and must therefore be reinforced again and again. The Tara Foundation will attend the next meetings in Indonesia (2018), Norway (2019) and Palau (2020). Each time we will campaign for greater consideration of scientific research, not sufficiently represented at this 2017 edition, although crucial to the efforts for ocean conservation.

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