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Tom Belford01 June 2020

Editor’s Note: The conference is over, but the sessions are video-archived here. PM Jacinda Ardern addressed a plenary session … by video-stream of course!

The World Economic Forum in Switzerland is offering an  impressive series of webcasts over the coming week (M-F CEST, Geneva time) on the state of our oceans, featuring dozens of global experts on every aspect of our marine environment.

NZ’s own management of its marine domain and the country’s unfulfilled global leadership potential need a serious re-think.

In the recent report, The-Environment Is Now, former chief science advisor Sir Peter Gluckman (with others) writes:

“New Zealand is a maritime nation, with 96% of our territory being ocean, and yet we have no strategy for marine sustainability … we have failed to avoid the mistakes we have seen on land, in terms of overshooting ecosystem boundaries and reliance on reactive policy responses. There is a need for a paradigm shift in environmental management of the oceans that could serve as an example for broader change … We need renewed commitment to reimagine management of oceans where previous efforts foundered…”

The WEF’s week-long agenda is for the serious student and advocate of ocean health. Topics include:

  • Global priority for ocean protection
  • Ocean deoxygenation: A wake-up call to save our suffocating seas
  • Roadmap to a sustainable future for marine biodiversity
  • Finance and the sustainable blue economy
  • Stemming the pollution tide
  • Financing plastic pollution solutions in southeast Asia
  • Communities, ocean value, deep seabed mining — stories from the Pacific
  • Food systems transformation through a blue lens
  • Nourishing billions
  • Sustainable ocean economy
  • Green stimulus measures could fuel the decarbonizatiion of shipping
  • Ocean acidification
  • Opportunities for action on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

And this is barely scratches the surface of the offerings from this week-long confab. But you get the drift!

Unfortunately, time zones are such that when the daily programme begins at Noon CEST, it’s already 10pm in NZ. It takes a bit of pre-registering to be ‘admitted’ to the event (this is the jet-set World Economic Forum after all), but shouldn’t be too daunting now that ‘thanks’ to Covid we’re all online video friendly.

Indeed, with so much substance on offer, it’s a shame this wasn’t scheduled while we were in Level 4 lockdown!

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Tom Belford01 June 2020

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