While Tara’s sailors and scientists are at sea, the land team attended the 3rd “Our Ocean Conference” in Washington, D.C. on September 15th and 16th , chaired by John Kerry, US Secretary of State. Here’s a report on the advances made in Washington and the battles still to fight, with just two months to go before the COP22.
The Ocean gained important allies on the eve of the UN General Assembly — US President Barack Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio. This 3rd Our Ocean Conference (usually reserved for insiders) exceeded expectations: President Obama himself highlighted the environmental challenges confronting the ocean. With announcements of new Marine Protected Areas by the United States, Chile and the UK, and the launching of France’s Mediterranean Plan, the conference presented several concrete measures and was commended by the NGO community gathered in the US capital.
© F.Aurat/ Tara Expeditions Foundation
This major event in Washington brought together hundreds of policy makers, experts and personalities concerned with the preservation of the Ocean. The commitment of Leonardo DiCaprio was a unique moment, with the presentation of a project supported by his foundation « Global Fishing Watch» http://globalfishingwatch.org which aims to monitor illegal fishing using state-of-the-art satellite tools.
At the Paris COP21 in December 2015, the Ocean was finally taken into account in the final Agreement text. Today the high level of political participation in the Our Ocean Conference indicates that effective measures are being taken for the preservation of the Ocean. The links between Ocean and Climate, poorly understood two years ago, were highlighted by several politicians including President Obama, the Foreign Minister of Chile Heraldo Munoz and the French Minister of the Environment Ségolène Royal.
The Tara Expeditions Foundation participated in the conference alongside the French delegation, a consequence of the mobilization conducted in Paris during the COP21. Two months before the upcoming COP22 in Marrakech, the watchword is “implementation” of the Paris Agreement, which for now is still in the process of ratification by many nations.
The rally in Washington was also an opportunity for the Tara Foundation and partners to continue working for the “Because the Ocean” initiative, launched at the Tara Pavilion in Paris during the COP21. As a reminder, “Because The Ocean” encourages countries to take concrete actions to preserve the Ocean in the face of climate change. With less than two months before the COP22, partners in the initiative are currently working on an active plan that would urge nation states to give the Ocean greater consideration in their climate targets. After the working session, Peru signed the declaration and thus became the 23rd member country bringing “Ocean and Climate” issues to the United Nations.
“We have to jeep the momentum going so that we can come together and protect our ocean. Why? Because our ocean is absolutely essential for life itself-not just the food but the oxygen and wheather cycles of the planet all depend on the ocean.”
Secretary of State John Kerry «Our Ocean 2016» in Washington