On 3 December 2020, the Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation co-organized, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, an international webinar “Ocean Panel’s policy recommendations: Promoting sustainable ocean economies and international partnership,” in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Palau and the Embassy of Norway in Japan. The webinar was held for the purpose of disseminating the policy recommendations released by the Ocean Panel a day earlier, Wednesday 2 December 2020. The Ocean Panel, formally called the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, was established by the initiative of the Government of Norway in 2018 in order to discuss measures to address risks faced by the ocean, such as fish stock depletion, sea water warming, and the increase in marine plastic, and to promote sustainable development through the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. 14 heads of states and governments participated in the Ocean Panel together with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe participated in the Ocean Panel and since this autumn, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga participated in the policy dialogues of the Ocean Panel as a Member.
H.E. Mr. Yoshihide Suga, Prime Minister of Japan
At this webinar held on 3 December, the government, Prime Minister Suga of Japan, President Tommy Remengesau Jr. of Palau, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway and other prominent representatives and experts spoke at the webinar and underlined the importance of the Ocean Panel’s policy recommendations and international partnership for facilitating their effective implementation world-wide.
Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), and President, Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF) recalled the Blue Recovery webinar series that was co-organized with The Nippon Foundation and The Economist in the summer of this year and underlined the importance of promoting socio-economic recovery through a sustainable ocean economy. Dr. Sunami expressed his hope that the important policy recommendations from the Ocean Panel would be shared and implemented by a wide range of stakeholders. H.E. Mr. Yoshihide Suga, Prime Minister of Japan underlined that Japan facilitates the implementation of the Ocean Panel’s policy recommendations and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 and realize a carbon-neutral society, and facilitate the implementation of the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” at the G20 Osaka Summit last year to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050.
H.E. Mr. Tommy Remengesau, Jr., President, Republic of Palau emphasized that in order to keep the ocean healthy, it is vital to implement the Paris Agreement to mitigate climate change, promote socio-economic recovery midst the COVID-19 pandemics, and implement policies for a sustainable ocean economy with a build-back-blue and build-back -better approach thereby passing a sustainable ocean to our children and future generations.
H.E. Ms. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway stated that Japan and Norway share the same ocean and she regards the partnership of the two countries as vital in promoting a sustainable ocean economy and facilitating the implementation of the policy recommendations developed by the 14 Ocean Panel leaders and called on other world leaders and partners to join the leaders in making the 100 percent goal of ocean management a reality.
Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President, Sasakawa Peace Foundation, and President, Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF) (left) /
H.E. Mr. Tommy Remengesau, Jr. President, Republic of Palau (center) /
H.E. Ms. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway (right).
H.E. Mr. Francis Matsutaro, Ambassador, Republic of Palau to Japan expressed his gratitude about the partnership between Palau and Japan that have grown over the past years in the areas of achieving a sustainable ocean emphasized his hope that OPRI will continue to support its partnership with Palau for achieving a sustainable ocean and promoting a sustainable blue economy and the recovery to overcome COVID-19 challenges particularly for the benefit of Pacific island countries. H.E. Ms. Inga M. W. Nyhamar, Ambassador of Norway to Japan stated that she looks forward to continuing the long-standing multifaceted cooperation between Norway and Japan for a sustainable ocean and a sustainable ocean economy, and more specifically, in the areas of green shipping, sustainable ocean management, ocean wind power and assistance to developing countries.
H.E. Mr. Francis Matsutaro, Ambassador, Republic of Palau to Japan (left) /
H.E. Ms. Inga M. W. Nyhamar, Ambassador of Norway to Japan (right)
H.E. Amb. Keiichi Ono, Director-General for Global Issues and Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan introduced the Ocean Panel’s policy recommendations that were released a day earlier. Amb. Ono highlighted the policy recommendations that addresses renewable energy that can support climate change mitigation, economic promotion, and improving energy security. He also underlined the policy recommendation for eliminating marine plastic litter. In order to realize the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision’s target of making additional pollution by ocean plastic litter zero by 2050, he stated that Japan is going to support infrastructure and human resources development for better waste management and lead international discussions on the elimination of marine plastic litter. H.E. Ms. Ngedikes Olai Uludong, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau to the UN in New York expressed her gratitude that she supported the development of the policy recommendations with 74 actions and underlined the importance of making 100% of the ocean sustainably managed with the view to assisting small island developing countries that depend on the ocean and are impaired by the socio-economic downturns due to the COVID-19 pandemics.
H.E. Amb. Keiichi Ono, Director-General for Global Issues and Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan (left) /
H.E. Ms. Ngedikes Olai Uludong, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau to the UN in New York (right)
Based on the discussions at the High Level Session, Mr. Masanori Kobayashi of OPRI-SPF, acting as moderator, invited experts to share their reactions to the Ocean Panel’s policy recommendations and their perspectives regarding ways to facilitate the effective implementation of recommended actions. Dr. Hide Sakaguchi, Managing Director, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) referred to the monitoring survey of marine microplastics last year during the sailing from Yokohama to Koror that showed the microplastic density larger than originally anticipated in the Palau’s EEZ and stated that it is indispensable to promote multi-stakeholder collaboration in facilitating the implementation of the Ocean Panel’s policy recommendations. Mr. Masanori Kobayashi, Senior Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF acting as moderator mentioned that OPRI is a member of the Advisory Network to support the Ocean Panel and to share information and promote transformative actions through “Action Coalitions” and OPRI works with the Advisory Network members to promote cross-sectoral partnerships and promote co-benefits/synergies in achieving sustainable ocean economies. Dr. Shunichi Honda, Programme Officer, United Nations Environment Programme – International Environment Technology Center (UNEP-IETC) stated that UNEP-IETC aims at a circular society and supports environmentally sound waste management in partnership with the private sector and facilitates international cooperation in these areas. Mr. Hiroyuki Sato, Manager, Sustainability Group, Corporate Planning Department, Maruha Nichiro Corporation mentioned that the conservation of marine resources is a priority task in the mid-term sustainability management plan of Maruha Nichiro and plans to strengthen measures to eliminate IUU fishing, promote the acquisition of fisheries and aquaculture sustainability, and enhance the certification of seafood traceability and referred to the Maruha Nichiro’s activities with SeaBos, an international coalition to tackle IUU fishing, forced labor, child labor, climate change, marine plastic and traceability throughout the Maruha Nichiro’s supply chains. Mr. Satoshi Yajima, Deputy Director-General, Business Development Department JERA Co., Inc. introduced the JERA’s initiatives for achieving zero emissions by 2050 and promoting its operations with the lifecycle and business chain cost assessment. Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, CEO, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) stated referred to the Palau’s Protected Area Network (PAN) established in 2003 and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) established in 2015 and stated that PICRC supports the adaptive management of the PNMS through monitoring and research activities.
Dr. Hide Sakaguchi, Managing Director, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) (upper left) /
Dr. Shunichi Honda, Programme Officer, United Nations Environment Programme – International Environment Technology Center (upper center) /
Mr. Hiroyuki Sato, Manager, Sustainability Group, Corporate Planning Department, Maruha Nichiro Corporation (upper right) /
Mr. Satoshi Yajima, Deputy Director-General, Business Development Department, JERA Co., Inc. (lower left) /
Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, CEO, Palau International Coral Reef Center (lower center) /
Mr. Masanori Kobayashi, Senior Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF (lower right)
Moderator solicited comments from OPRI’s overseas partners. Mr. William Kostka, Executive Director, Micronesia Conservation Trust in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) mentioned that (FSM) designated 30 percent of its waters within its jurisdiction as protected areas in 2006, which will be expanded to 50 percent and expressed his hope to develop partnership with OPRI, the Japanese government and other partners. Ms. Moriana Phillip, General Manger, Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Republic of the Marshall Islands in Majuro underlined that the Marshall Islands is a large ocean state and are the home to the world’s richest marine biodiversity and expressed her hope to solve ocean challenges through international cooperation. Dr. Austin J. Shelton III, Assistant Professor, Extension & Outreach / Director, Center for Island Sustainability and University of Guam Sea Grant, in Guam stated that the University of Guam implements the Sea Grant program, the "Ridge to Reef" project and research on renewable energy and intends to promote international partnership. Dr. Alexander Mawyer, Associate Professor, University of Hawai'i at Moana and Center for Pacific Island Studies stated that the University of Hawaii has a Sea Grant program and is co-located with the East-West Center is co-located and aims to support Pacific islands and their ocean management. Ms. Margaret Spring, Chief Conservation and Science Officer, Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey Bay, California, USA underlined the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s support to the recommendations of the Ocean Panel by referring to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and sustainable aquaculture projects in countries such as Viet Nam. Dr. Douglas McCauley, Associate Professor, Marine Science Institute, University of California Santa Barbara and Director, Benioff Ocean Initiative in Santa Barbara, California, USA underscored the importance of implementing the policies recommended by the Ocean Panel and promoting collaboration with the Friends of Ocean Action and its partners towards achieving sustainable ocean economies.
Amb. Ono thanked the panelists and discussants for sharing their specific initiatives and emphasized the importance of implementing the Ocean Panel’s recommendations for realizing a sustainable marine economy. Mr. Eiji Sakai, Vice President, OPRI-SPF expressed his gratitude to all panelists, participants, and the audience for having meaningful discussions on the Ocean Panel’s policy recommendations and ways to reinforce international partnership.