Key regional organizations working for the sustainable management of the marine environment resolved, on World Oceans Day, to redouble efforts to protect this ecosystem. Vincent Degert, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles, reminded during the event that “it is high time we realize that the ocean is not only magical and beautiful. It is essential as well for man’s presence on Earth”.
This time of reflection was organized by the EU and the Indian Ocean Commission, with the collaboration of ECOFISH Program. Representatives of international and national development organizations and institutions participated in this event, including the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the EU Commission (DG MARE), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) ), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as the Mauritius Oceanographic Institute (MOI), Reef Conservation and PAREO project.
The webinar participants from different countries and organisations of the South West Indian Ocean, appraised the opportunities as well as the challenges that the oceans present for the region. “All our countries share a common oceans agenda that promotes security and growth, while strengthening the resilience of our ecosystems and the well-being of our people. A window of opportunity has opened in terms of sustainable development through the sustainable management of ocean resources and investment in new sectors of the Blue Economy”, stated Velayôdoum Marimoutou, Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission.
The discussions during this event focused on strengthening cooperation. It is essential that regions, governments, civil society as well as scientific initiatives work together to achieve genuine impact on the ground. The context of the COVID-19 pandemic has also shown how important it is to move towards innovative approaches. Finally, the delegations concurred that communities must be at the heart of all the development actions carried out.
The World Oceans Day is of critical importance as this ecosystem produces more than 50% of the oxygen we breathe and absorbs more than a third of carbon emissions. Moreover, the oceans contribute to the food security of entire populations and the growth of numerous countries.