Leaders commit to ocean conservation | WWF

Leaders commit to ocean conservation

Posted on
06 October 2017

Malta, 6 October 2017Our Ocean, a conference of global leaders on ocean conservation, hosted by the European Union in Malta, concluded with a series of major commitments from governments, business and civil society in response to the steep deterioration of ocean ecosystems.
Demetres Karavellas, head of delegation for WWF and CEO of WWF-Greece said: “In the face of stark reports of the decline in ocean ecosystems, we are beginning to see leaders in government, civil society and the private sector standing up to be counted to make tangible commitments to conservation, which is most encouraging. We must now turn these commitments into real change, and recognize at the same time that much more needs to be done.”
The conference heard repeatedly that the world is coming close to the point of no return for coral reefs, mangroves, important fish stocks and other ocean natural assets, and that leaders must ramp up efforts to rescue the ocean from destructive fishing, poorly managed coastal development, climate change and pollution. It was reiterated that the ocean is the world’s seventh largest economy but will only be productive in future if humanity takes much greater care of it.
WWF made a series of commitments at the conference including a concerted, regional effort in the Mediterranean to improve small-scale fisheries, to be delivered in partnership with the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and other NGOs.
Commitments from governments, companies and organisations included major increases in the extent of marine protected areas, fisheries reforms, carbon reduction and pollution controls. For example, the European Union, widely acknowledged for showing leadership in hosting the conference, made a series of commitments including to develop the sustainable blue economy approach; the Chilean government committed to increase protection to cover nearly half the country’s ocean area; Sky committed to support new marine protected areas in Europe, working with WWF; and many other commitments were made.*
John Tanzer, Leader, Oceans at WWF International said, “We have never seen so much focus on the need to protect the oceans and this is largely because leaders are recognising that only by securing the ocean’s natural assets will it have any chance of sustaining the food, livelihoods, jobs and wellbeing for a large part of the world’s population.”
“One of the key themes of the conference, and a priority for WWF, is to help create a new way of doing business for the ocean and coasts that is genuinely sustainable. No one should think that the challenges in delivering a truly sustainable blue economy approach will be easily overcome but I’m very pleased to see the interest in tackling it coming from the conference. It’s clearly an idea whose time has come.”

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Notes to Editors:
WWF has produced a series of analyses showing the economic value of the ‘ocean economy’. The latest in this series of reports, Reviving the Economy of the Mediterranean Sea, was launched at an event at Our Ocean.  This and previous ocean economy reports, and guidelines for investment in a sustainable blue economy, can be accessed at: ocean.panda.org
*The full list of commitments will be available at: https://ourocean2017.org/our-ocean-commitments
For more information, please contact:
Stefania Campogianni, Communications Manager, WWF European Policy Office scampogianni@wwf.eu | Mob: +32 499 539736
About WWF
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media.