Edinburgh Ocean Leaders at Monaco Blue Initiative 2022

The Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI) is a unique platform that brings together major players in ocean conservation and governance in annual debates to explore solutions for the global challenges facing the ocean.

MBI is co-convened by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, a foundational partner in the establishment of Edinburgh Ocean Leaders (EOL). Since the creation of EOL in 2020, MBI organisers have drawn on the expertise of nominated Ocean Leaders as panellists for the event.

For the 13th MBI on 21st March 2022, three Ocean Leaders  were selected based on their knowledge and experience around the three themed sessions.

MBI 13 participants outside the Musée Océanographique de Monaco | @ JC VInaj/FPA2

Session 1: The Need for a New Bold Vision for Ocean Conservation: Raising the Ambition in the Face of Emerging Challenges.

During this session, panellists reflected on what is needed to step up ambition for ocean protection during the next decade and beyond.

Tommy Melo, 2021 Ocean Leader and President and Co-Founder, Biosfera for the Conservation of Nature took the opportunity of speaking in this session’s panel to draw to attention the challenges in marine protection in his home country of CaboVerde. He discussed the challenges of Marine Protected Area creation in the context of local communities and stressed the need to position ocean-dependent communities as guardians of their environment.

Panelists during Session One on “The Need for a New Bold Vision for Ocean Conservation” (L-R): Yalda Hakim, BBC World News; Helen Ågren, Ambassador for the Ocean, Sweden; Tommy Melo, Biosfera for the Conservation of Nature and Edinburgh Ocean Leaders; and Minna Epps, International Union for Conservation of Nature. | @JC VInaj/FPA2

Session 2: Ocean Protection—Everyone’s Business: Building on Best Practices and Success Stories to Scale up the Sustainable Blue Economy.

In this session, the panel discussed how contributing to a sustainable ocean is in every company’s interest.

Ocean Leader and Founder and Director of SpeSeas, Diva Amon underscored that a sustainable blue economy must exclude oil and gas expansion and emphasised that rapid and unrestrained expansion of Deep Sea Mining is not in line with sustainable use of ocean resources. She explained how the deep ocean is incredibly important and fragile, and deep seabed mining would be highly damaging and lacks a robust scientific understanding.

Panelists during Session Two on “Ocean Protection – Everyone’s Business“ (L-R): Hervé Gastinel, Ponant; Diva Amon, SpeSeas and Edinburgh Ocean Leaders; Tiago Pitta e Cunha, Oceano Azul Foundation; Chuck Fox, Oceans 5; and Yalda Hakim, BBC World News. | @JC VInaj/FPA2

Session Three: Blue Finance: How to Accelerate the Transition to an Ocean-positive Economy?

In Session 3, panellists explored how to scale up financial investment in ocean protection and business with positive ocean impacts.

Lucy Holmes emphasised the real financial risk of not investing in a sustainable future for the ocean. She explained the risk of the business-as-usual value approach is $8.5 trillion, but this would be reduced to $3.5 trillion if the sustainable development trajectory is followed. Lucy highlighted the market and physical risks of non-sustainable products and the impacts of climate change on coastal regions.

Panelists during Session Three on “Blue Finance: How to Accelerate the Transition to an Ocean-Positive Economy?” (L-R): Lucy Holmes, WWF and Edinburgh Ocean Leaders; Karen Sack, Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance; Elsa Palanza, Barclays; Bertrand Badré, Blue like an Orange Sustainable Capital; Sylvie Goulard, Banque de France; and Yalda Hakim, BBC World News. | @JC VInaj/FPA2

Cloaing Session: Key Message from Edinburgh Ocean Leaders

During the closing session of MBI 13, the three Ocean Leader panelists were invited back on stage to reflect on the key messages from the day.

Tommy Melo emphasised the need to be bold in actions and policies to integrate coastal communities in Marine Protected Area Management.

Diva Amon highlighted the need to make space and listen to ocean-dependant people. She also underscored how the creation of regional hubs with ocean research vessels, particularly for high seas and deep ocean research, would be transformative for small island developing states.

Lucy Holmes pointed to the need to continue making the investment case for the ocean in the context of climate and nature and how the ocean must be built into the emerging architecture around sustainable finance.

For a full overview of the 13th Edition of Monaco Blue Initiative see the International Institute for Sustainable Development summary report

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