Along with high-level panellists, from around the world, the Edinburgh Ocean Leaders contributed their knowledge and expertise to the first-ever Digital Monaco Blue Initiative. This conference, which is chaired by HSH the Prince of Monaco and organised jointly by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Monaco Oceanographic Museum, usually takes place during Monaco Ocean Week in March or April. This year, the 11th Edition of MBI was conducted as three separate workshops during May and June 2020, with participants joining the conversation online from around the world to sustain momentum on global discussions on oceans, and highlight key recommendations to global ocean meetings and platforms during this year of the global pandemic.
Contributions by the Edinburgh Ocean Leaders are highlighted below:
The first workshop on 28 May, focused on “how marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective conservation measures can be central to international discussions on sustainable ocean and coastal development”. Edinburgh Ocean Leader, Shirley Binder, National Director of Environmental Policy in Panama’s Ministry of Environment, spoke about the need to involve and empower coastal communities in Marine Protected Areas. Referring to her experience of conservation measures in Coiba National Park, she noted that “if communities see the benefits of marine protected areas to their livelihoods, the areas will work for the oceans and for society”. Ocean Leader, Harriet Harden-Davies then reported on progress being made on the ABBNJ process, whilst highlighting areas where further advances can be made, including on more explicit inclusion of Least Developed Countries in the discussions. Harriet is a science policy advisor and a post-doctoral researcher on High Seas Governance.
The topic of the second workshop on 9 June, considered “what lessons can be learned from community-led initiatives in the management and preservation of marine protected areas”? Edinburgh Ocean Leader Adam Miller join the panel discussion, drawing on his experience as co-founder of international NGO Planet Indonesia. He noted the importance of locally-led design of conservation initiatives, and posed the question whether we would rise to the challenge of building inclusive conservation measures as we recover from the Covid-19 crisis.
The third and final workshop took place on 24 June, with discussions exploring “how can the blue economy and sustainable management of the ocean in the fields of tourism, transport, energy, fishing and aquaculture be reconciled?” Edinburgh Ocean Leader Hugo Tagholm, and Chief Executive, Surfers Against Sewage, emphasized the importance of mobilizing global citizens in sustainable blue tourism to increase the aesthetic value of their experiences, while ensuring ecosystem healing and restoration.
For full coverage and related videos and reports from this 11th Edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative, please see: https://www.monacooceanweek.org/en/11th-monaco-blue-initiative-2020-digital-edition/