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Inaugural Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum Launches at UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon

Updated: Mar 13

  • Global leaders came together to advance ocean protection and sustainable ocean management

  • Fully protecting at least 30% of the oceans in spaces where no extractive activity can take place is critical to keeping oceans healthy and functional for economic development, climate regulation, and protection of ocean ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, and the deep sea.

  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 14) have placed a global target on protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. Currently, only 2.7% of the world’s oceans are fully protected. Individual nations must take urgent action to reach this collective target.

  • Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum roundtable is hosted by Ted Waitt, Founder and Chairman of the Waitt Institute and the Blue Prosperity Coalition

Lisbon, Portugal (27th June 2022) - Today, the inaugural Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum took place on the first day of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. The forum provides a platform to bring together island nations from around the world who are working to sustainably manage their marine resources to promote economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation and improvement of livelihoods while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability of the oceans and coastal waters.

The global ocean economy is estimated at $24 Trillion USD, and ocean health is critically important for climate regulation and food security, yet ocean resources are declining rapidly worldwide - bombarded with human-imposed threats like overfishing, pollution and climate change. Scientific research shows that fully protecting at least 30% of the world’s ocean is necessary to maintain and restore marine resources while maximizing fisheries yields and allowing for sustainable economic growth.

This Forum will be ongoing to provide a platform for knowledge exchange. The goals of the inaugural forum were:

  1. Build an impact network of like-minded ocean leaders

  2. Learn from and share success

  3. Explore how to build BPC Network and cross-partnership

Commenting after the event Ted Waitt Blue Prosperity Coalition and Waitt Institute Founder and Chairman said:

“It is so encouraging to feel the energy in the room from these global leaders who are pioneering solutions that impact the challenges facing the world’s oceans. We are at a critical point in time where we have only a few years left to protect ocean ecosystems before it’s too late.This collaborative impact network gives the tools and resources to ensure that we can keep the oceans healthy and productive for coming generations. Ultimately our goal is to ensure that people all around the world are empowered to take action to preserve and utilize their resources.”

Amongst the leaders it was discussed that they are all facing similar challenges and this forum will allow them to share challenges and successes so that they can learn from one another and streamline their work to be able to reach the global 2030 target.

The Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum will continue with ongoing meetings of like minded leaders in order to support the UN’s goal of protecting 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. Leaders from the Azores, Bermuda, Cabo Verde, Fiji, Maldives, Samoa and Tonga will continue to share information, drive change and inspire future generations. The Blue Prosperity Coalition’s network of ocean experts will continue to support these leaders in developing and implementing sustainable ocean management plans to protect the environment and improve the economy at the same time.

The Blue Prosperity programs include Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) to achieve comprehensive ocean management that include a network of Marine Protected Areas that will be determined by stakeholder groups and community consultations. They will also often involve scientific expeditions and collecting, collating, and sharing existing knowledge and information about an island’s marine environment. A core focus of each program is Blue Economy (BE) Planning to promote economic growth and diversification, social inclusion, and the preservation or improvement of livelihoods while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability of the oceans and coastal areas. The plans will develop sustainable fisheries strategies to safeguard long-term, viable ocean production, including a plan that supports local food security, fishery livelihoods, economic well-being, and ocean ecosystem health through a process that includes fishers, government, academic and other institutions.

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Attendees of the inaugural Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum:

  • Ted Waitt, Waitt Institute and Blue Prosperity Coalition

  • Dr. Kathryn Mengerink, Executive Director Waitt Institute

  • H.E. Aminath Shauna, Maldives' Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology, Republic of the Maldives

  • Jauza Khaleel, Senior Associate Economic Policy and Research, Republic of the Maldives

  • Hon Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku, Kingdom of Tonga

  • Dr. Tuikolongahau Halafihi, CEO of Ministry of Fisheries, Kingdom of Tonga

  • Hon. Minister Walter Roban, Minister of Home Affairs. Bermuda

  • Dr. Tammy Warren, Senior Marine Resources Officer, Bermuda

  • H.E. Abraão Vicente, Minister of Sea, Cabo Verde

  • Malik Lopes, President IMar, Cabo Verde

  • Mr. José Soares dos Santos, Founder, Oceano Azul Foundation

  • Dr. Emanuel Gonçalves, Chief Scientist, Oceano Azul Foundation

  • Mr. Taholo Kami, Ocean Convener

  • José Manuel Bolieiro, Hon President, The Azores

  • Mr. Ricardo Madruga da Costa, Chief of Staff, The Azores

  • Mr. Chuck Fox, Executive Director, Ocean 5

  • Danita Strickland, Marine Programme Manager, Conservation International, Samoa

About Blue Prosperity Coalition We need to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. Whether you live near the ocean or thousands of miles away, we all depend on it. The ocean provides us with life, food and livelihoods. It gives us more than half the oxygen we breathe and creates livelihoods for more than three billion people around the world. Without a healthy ocean, there is no healthy planet or people. Our ocean environment is in decline but only 2.7% of the ocean is currently fully protected. Our coalition was founded around one unifying belief: we can protect the environment and the economy at the same time. The environment is the economy, it’s the basis for all life and everything we do. That's why we have put together a global network of ocean experts to help governments protect 30% of the ocean by 2030 to ensure Blue Prosperity for future generations.

About the Waitt Institute The Waitt Institute is a non-profit that partners with committed governments and local stakeholders to create and implement sustainable ocean plans to benefit communities, the economy, and the environment. The Waitt Institute brings a team of technical experts to help facilitate the policymaking process and capacity building for effective implementation and long-term success through expertise, funding, and tools focusing on marine spatial planning, blue economy, and sustainable fisheries. The Waitt Institute is the founding member and organizing body of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, which currently has Blue Prosperity partnerships with the Azores, Barbuda, Bermuda, Curaçao, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Maldives, Samoa, and Tonga.

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