An Ocean of Potential
GREECE APRIL 15 - 17, 2024
9TH OUR OCEAN CONFERENCE GREECE 2024
The ocean plays a key role in human existence; it is essential for our survival and prosperity. It provides food, regulates our climate, and generates most of the oxygen we breathe. It also serves much of the world’s economy, supporting sectors from tourism to fisheries and to international shipping.
However, the health of seas and the ocean, and of marine ecosystems in particular, is threatened by unsustainable practices such as discharges of marine litter, unregulated and unreported fishing, unsustainable shipping and tourism activities. To mitigate the negative impacts from human activities and improve the current state of our oceans, it is essential to join efforts on a global scale.
Collaboration among nations, NGOs, private entities, academia, professional groups, civil society organizations and more, is of paramount importance for implementing effective solutions, fostering sustainable practices, and safeguarding the delicate equilibrium of our oceans.
You can read more about the 9th Our Ocean Conference, here.
AREAS OF ACTION
An effectively managed network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with well-defined conservation measures that address the pressures of ocean-based activities, such as tourism, shipping, fishing, and aquaculture, is an essential instrument for safeguarding biodiversity and maintaining marine ecosystems.
Blue economy can serve as a key tool to achieve sustainable use of the ocean and marine resources for sustainable growth of economic sectors that rely on the ocean, such as tourism, shipping, fishing and offshore wind energy, that will bring prosperity and employment creation, while preserving ocean ecosystem health.
Strengthening the nexus between the ocean and climate change is of paramount importance for bringing forth solutions in a holistic manner. Ocean plays a key role as climate regulator and can serve as a vehicle for clean transition, whilst climate actions aim to preserve a healthy state of the ocean.
Safeguarding the ocean from piracy, illegal trafficking of goods and people, pollution and other illegal activities at sea is a key challenge that needs to be effectively addressed and to bring about innovative and creative efforts to improve maritime security.
To reap the benefits of a resilient ocean, it is essential to incorporate sustainable fisheries policies though adequate fishing methods, surveillance of prohibitions and restrictions and other integral solutions to effectively tackle overfishing that poses a direct threat to marine biodiversity.
Marine pollution, such as eutrophication, marine litter, and chemical pollution, occurs from either seaborne or land-based activities and imposes significant threat to the ocean health. A more holistic approach with joint efforts is crucial to prevent and control anthropogenic pollution that ends up in the ocean.
KEY FOCUS AREAS
In this context and within the 6 main areas of action, the 9th Our Ocean Conference to be hosted in Athens, will specifically address four aspects as horizontal elements cutting across the six areas of action of the Conference:
Sustainable tourism in coastal areas and islands
ensures an optimal balance between tourism development, marine environment conservation and overall sustainability of host communities, and can be a core driver to build resilience to climate change challenges.
Reduction of marine plastic and microplastic pollution
is an imperative task since this type of pollution, derived from either sea or land-based sources, negatively affects marine ecosystems, and may, through seafood consumption, harm human health.
encompasses a range of environmentally friendly actions to enforce emission control, to promote decarbonization, and to move towards a more sustainable shipping management with the aim to minimize the overall impact on the marine environment.
Green transition in the Mediterranean
a sea connecting three continents, serving as a crossroad where culture, people, and civilizations meet, is a key challenge for Mediterranean countries and can deliver significant benefits for marine ecosystems.
A key objective of all Our Ocean Conferences is to foster collaborative efforts and encourage the submission of clear and measurable voluntary commitments anchored in the six Areas of Action, aiming at the protection and sustainable management of our seas and oceans and their resources.
Their goal is to develop new commitments, that can be translated into impactful actions for the well-being of our seas and oceans, and assess the progress made towards the achievement of previous commitments.
The focus areas identified by Greece for the 9 th Our Ocean Conference namely Sustainable Tourism in coastal areas and islands; Green Shipping; Plastic and Microplastic Pollution; as well as the Green transition in the Mediterranean Sea, fully align with the six Areas of Action of the Our Ocean Conference.
All participating entities and organizations are invited to submit their commitments ahead of the Conference.
If you want to submit a new commitment, please click here.
The Conference is scheduled to take on the 16th and 17th of April. The Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit will be held parallel to the main conference, starting the day before, on the 15th of April.
SIDE EVENTS APPLICATION
Side Events aim to discuss topics regarding the ocean and raise awareness for its protection. You are welcome to submit an application to present a Side Event.
YOUTH LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
The Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit, in partnership with Sustainable Ocean Alliance, will be held parallel to the main conference, starting the day before, on the 15th of April. It signifies a commitment to involve and empower the next generation by emphasizing on education, employability, and sustainable practices in the Areas of Action. It particularly concentrates on upskilling, reskilling, and fostering ocean awareness to address challenges and opportunities.
WELCOME TO GREECE
Welcome to Greece, the crossroad of the Mediterranean Sea where culture, people and civilizations meet. Greece has more than 15,000 kilometres of coastline and a long standing tradition as a maritime nation. Still today shipping industry together with tourism are the country’s two most important ecomonic sectors.
For Greece preserving marine biodiversity and ecosystems is crucial, given the extensive coastal areas and islands which render effective controls over pollution and overfishing challenging.
It is important that we take all the necessary political, legal, and technical actions to preserve coastal communities and marine natural resources and ensure that the economic growth is sustainable and inclusive for all our citizens.
The promotion of the Blue Economy, through improving fishing practices, greening maritime transport, promoting sustainable tourism, developing offshore renewable energy, is an essential priority as a means to achieve our SDG goals and safeguard prosperity for our societies.
The Conference is scheduled to take place in Athens, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.