From 8 to 9 May, the WMU Global Ocean Conference brought together over 240 participants from more than 50 countries. The outcomes of the conference will inform the priorities for the newly inaugurated WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, as well as strategies to ensure active engagement by stakeholders with the new Institute.
The Global Ocean Institute is founded on the vision to bring to life a convergence platform where policy makers, the scientific community, regulators, industry actors, academics, and representatives of civil society can meet to discuss how best to manage and use ocean spaces and their resources for the sustainable development of present and future generations. Established in partnership with The Nippon Foundation and with generous support from the Governments of Canada, Norway, Sweden and the City of Malmö, the Institute will complement the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) current and future engagement in the broader sphere of ocean governance.
“Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of the World Maritime University, opened the conference stating: “The ocean is humanity’s most precious resource and its lifeblood. Shipping and the ocean are inseparable with over 80% of world trade carried by sea. The Global Ocean Institute will be an independent focal point for ocean-science-policy-law-industry interface. It will act as a convergence point where policy makers, the scientific community, regulators, industry actors, academics and representatives of civil society come together to discuss how best to manage and use the ocean spaces for sustainable development. It is essential that we protect and restore the ocean through science, data collection and international cooperation. Through the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, WMU will also build important bridges between maritime and the oceans.”
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation, commended the University for establishing the Institute to tackle the complex challenge of the evolving world of maritime and ocean governance. “The oceans are in crisis and we must act immediately and decisively. In maritime and ocean governance, such actions must involve partners beyond the maritime sector, encompass long-term perspective, and have sustainability at their core,” he stated.
Discussions focused on building transformative partnerships for ocean sustainability and improving ocean governance generally. Opportunities and challenges were identified within the themes of Ocean Economy, Science & Technology, UN System Bodies, Ocean Industry, Regional and National Issues, and Civil Society. Representatives of international organizations, governments, ocean industries, research communities, civil society and academic institutions contributed to the discussions. Contemporary and emerging threats and issues faced by the world’s oceans and marine sectors were addressed as well as ways to build transformative partnerships to deliver the ocean-related goals under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Conference proceedings will be published by Brill and distributed worldwide.
At the UN Ocean Conference in June last year, WMU registered a commitment that aims to contribute to the implementation of Goal 14 by training a new generation of maritime leaders through the delivery of specialist post-graduate educational programmes in Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management, as well as through cutting-edge oceans research, among others. The Global Ocean Institute and the WMU Global Ocean Conference 2018 are concrete responses to that commitment. The Institute’s impact-oriented research will work across the sectoral divides in ocean affairs, engage in forward-looking dialogue among representatives of governments, ocean industries, research communities, civil society and other academic institutions, and produce policy and regulatory advice on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and beyond.
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