Parley crew member Emily Penn delivers the opening address at Our Ocean 2017.
The annual European Our Ocean conference was held Oct. 5-6, 2017, in Malta, the Mediterranean island nation. Over one thousand European leaders, ocean advocates and corporations converged, marking the weekend with strong words and hundreds of millions of dollars in commitments to protecting the ocean.
“If the ocean was a country it would be one of the world’s biggest economies and would have a seat at the G7,” Federica Mogherini, E.U. high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, told delegates. “Our ocean is bigger than any continent, yet it is not too big to fail.”
In that spirit, the European Union highlighted a 550 million euro (650 million US dollar) commitment in the coming year to ocean-centered programs, including a significant proportion dedicated to addressing the problem of marine plastic pollution. Funds for research will go to projects combatting ocean plastic, as well as curbing pollution from shipping and developing clean energy sources. The United States also committed $9 million, a sum seen as paltry in comparison to the much larger European commitment, to preventative measures meant to keep plastic from ever entering the ocean.
World leaders matched monetary commitments with heated rhetoric. “If the unprecedented ferocity of recent catastrophic hurricanes is not the supreme wake-up call that it needs to be, to address the vast and accumulating threat of climate change and ocean warming, then we – let alone the global insurance and financial sectors – can surely no longer consider ourselves part of a rational, sensible civilization,” said the United Kingdom’s Prince Charles, speaking at the conference’s opening session.
Learn more about 2017 Our Ocean Commitments
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by Ross Levin