September 18, 2020
On Thursday, 3 September 2020, the 3rd webinar, “The blue recovery and the delayed ocean ‘super’ year” was organized as a part of the World Ocean Summit Insight Hour webinar series, jointly organized by the Ocean Policy Research Institute of The Sasakawa Peace Foundation, The Nippon Foundation, and The Economist Group.
Mr. Charles Goddard, Asia Pacific Editor, The Economist, recapitulated the past two webinars and outlined a series of important international conferences originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed to later this year or next. He termed 2020–2021 “the delayed ocean super year” and referred to a series of international conferences on the ocean as well as the negotiations on the removal of harmful fishery subsidies at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the proposed agreement regarding marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation / President, Ocean Policy Research Institute of SPF, welcomed the participants at this 3rd webinar and recalled the key points of discussions at the previous webinars. He stated that The Economist’s World Ocean Summit was supposed to take place in Tokyo last March and OPRI was supposed to host the related meetings, but they were all cancelled. He said that he was expecting vibrant discussions at this webinar that would help in setting the trajectories of policies towards achieving a sustainable ocean and promoting a blue recovery.
Mr. Seichi Etoh, Minister for Ocean Policy, Japan, presented the key elements of Japan’s ocean policy, stating that Japan’s territorial waters and EEZ combined are 12 times larger than its land area and its EEZ alone is the sixth largest in the world. He referred to a wide range of ocean policy issues including maritime security, fishery resources, and the marine environment including marine plastic waste.
Mr. Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Portugal, mentioned that in Portugal the blue economy generates more than 3.3 billion euros, which represents 3.5% of Portugal’s Gross National Product and supports 3.1% of total jobs in the country. He mentioned that Portugal is supposed to assume the presidency of the European Union for the first half of 2021 and plans to advance work for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. He underlined that the Portuguese government is facilitating preparations for the 2nd UN Ocean Conference in close cooperation with Mr. Peter Thomson, other governments, and stakeholder groups.
Mr. Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, pointed out ocean crises such as dwindling biodiversity, declining ocean health, and the ever-growing climate crisis. He mentioned the finding by the High-Level Panel of a Sustainable Ocean Economy that ocean-based investment yield benefits at least five times greater than the cost, which is very encouraging and promises to advance economic recovery and secure jobs.
H.E. Ngedikes Olai Uludong, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau to the UN in New York, mentioned that the Our Ocean Conference can be conducted with a mixture of physical and virtual platforms. She urged us to collaborate to really build back the blue and fix a broken nature.
H.E. Ms. Rena Lee, President, Intergovernmental Conference on marine biodiversity in the areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) and Ambassador for Oceans and Law of the Sea Issues and Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, that we need a mechanism that can mobilize and absorb new knowledge and information, which will allow us to come to optimal decisions. She emphasized that we need the agreement to be effective, with universal participation to the extent possible.
Professor Naoko Ishii, Director of the Center for Global Commons, University of Tokyo and former CEO of the Global Environment Facility, mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of the need to address the relation between nature and humans based on science. She said that we need a multi-stakeholder platform with broader participation for long-term strategies, by placing the focus on 2050, not 2030, while noting that the next ten years will be more important for 2050.
Mr. Tiago Pitta e Cunha, CEO, the Oceano Azul Foundation, stated that we are still in the process of exploring science-based solutions to the ocean environmental crisis. He said that the diversion of government attention from sustainability policies would induce environmental degradation. He said that in Davos in January this year people were more vocal on climate change and the ocean and advocated for more forceful agreements at the 2nd UN Ocean Conference and more conservation efforts for the next ten years.
Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President of The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) and President of the Ocean Policy Research Institute of SPF, stated that the delayed process would be used in favor of multilateral processes and not for undermining them. He said that the delay gave us more time to prepare for the BBNJ negotiation, the Our Ocean Conference, and the 2nd UN Ocean Conference. He expects that such efforts should be continued even under the new prime minister’s leadership.
You can find the detailed report here.
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