“Economic Revitalization through Science, Innovation and Ocean Infrastructure"
Webinar co-hosted with The Economist Group and The Nippon Foundation
Second installment of the Blue Recovery series
By Satoko Takahara
January 17, 2023
4 Min. Read
On August 26, 2020, the Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI) of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) hosted a webinar with The Nippon Foundation and The Economist Group on "Economic Revitalization through Science, Innovation and Ocean Infrastructure.” This was the second of three webinars in the "Blue Recovery" series. The first webinar, "Toward a Strong Ocean-Based Economic Recovery in the Asia-Pacific,” was held on July 23, 2020, and focused on science, innovation, and finance, followed by a discussion with experts and specialists from around the world.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Atsushi Sunami, president of SPF and director of OPRI, touched on the July 25 incident (local time) when the cargo ship Wakashio ran aground off the coast of Mauritius, damaging its hull and spilling fuel oil beginning on August 6. "In addition to assisting Mauritius in its recovery from this disaster, OPRI is making plans to provide support and knowledge to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.” (*) Dr. Sunami also expressed his wish that the webinar would stimulate new ideas and strengthen partnerships to promote blue recovery while striving for a sustainable ocean
Next, Japanese Minister of the Environment Shinjiro Koizumi took the podium for the keynote panel. Mr. Koizumi also spoke about the recent oil spill in Mauritius, pointing out that “the spilled oil has drifted ashore over a wide area and that, making it necessary to assess not only the impact on cleanup operations, but on the environment as well.” He also announced that Japan would dispatch experts to advise on the health of oil spill cleanup workers and assess the ecological impact of the spill, as well as provide 10,000 pieces of protective clothing and other items.
He continued by introducing success stories in combatting the problem of ocean plastic litter, including the fact that the "Osaka Blue Ocean Vision," which Japan set forth at the 2019 G20 Osaka Summit and aims to reduce new pollution from ocean plastic litter to zero by 2050, has already been shared by 86 countries and regions. Also, the use of plastic bags in convenience stores has dropped by more than 70% since a fee was introduced in July 2020. At the same time, he pointed out the need for more countries to unite in taking action against ocean plastic litter moving forward, and in particular expressed his intention to support the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries in taking measures in this area.
Finally, he concluded his remarks by saying that the Japanese government will actively participate in discussions to formulate a global framework for biodiversity after 2020, also stating that "the government and the ministry would like to make preparations for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is scheduled to be held in China next year.”
Following the opening remarks, Charles Goddard, Asia Pacific Editorial Director of The Economist Group, acted as moderator for the high-level panel, which featured a variety of experts and leaders from public and private organizations and institutions. The discussion focused on themes such as the importance of accumulating more ocean science data and improving information systems, support for sustainable ocean economies through innovation, and financial mechanisms to make this possible.
High Level Panel Speakers
・Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Director of The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project
・Aryo Hanggono, Director General for Marine Spatial Management of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia
・Nina Jensen, Chief Executive Officer of REV Ocean
・Ingrid van Wees, Vice-President for Finance and Risk Management, Asian Development Bank
・Mitsuru Izumo, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Euglena
・Ram Natarajan, Asia Pacific Chief Executive Officer of Mainstream Renewable Power
To listen to this webinar in Japanese, please click here.
For a message from SPF President Sunami on the oil spill in Mauritius, please click here. (Only available in Japanese)