After more than three years of advocacy work and expertise within different United Nations commissions and conferences, Tara has officially obtained the Special Observer Status at the United Nations, with a permanent place at the Economic Social Council (ECOSOC).
For Etienne Bourgois, President of Tara Expeditions, the “UN Special Observer Status” awarded to Tara is “an honor and an important recognition of advocacy work and environmental commitment made in recent years, particularly since the UN Rio+20 Conference in 2012 on Sustainable Development.”
For the Tara team, by working within the UN framework we address the need for more involvement of civil society in today’s environmental and climate challenges. Given the weight of economic lobbies, we believe that research institutions and non-governmental organizations should take responsibility in policy making, and not give in to pessimism of the type “it won’t make any difference,” which ultimately serves only those who defend the status quo and refuse changes. With all its bureaucracy and limitations, the UN remains the only recognized global governing space, with a Secretary General who is deeply involved in ocean management and the fight against climate change.
In addition to the work in research, education and public awareness performed for over ten years, Tara has engaged in the field of advocacy and has chosen to actively participate in various UN committees and conferences. Our role will be to provide scientific expertise and citizen mobilization on such essential matters as the management of the High Seas, climate change and control of plastic pollution of the oceans.
For 2015, Tara continues to monitor the agenda for management of the High Seas, after the historic agreement last January that launched the negotiations for an international treaty for biodiversity in the High Seas. After the end of the Tara Mediterranean expedition in 2014, Tara continues its research and advocacy efforts for concrete initiatives to reduce plastic pollution in the Mediterranean. But given the importance of the ongoing climate negotiations this year, Tara’s advocacy work is mainly devoted to the climate, with monitoring of international negotiations which should lead to a new agreement in December on the occasion of the Paris Climate Conference 2015.
André Abreu, responsible for environment and climate, Tara Expeditions