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Commonwealth Countries Strategized Collective Action On 30% Marine Protection By 2030

19 April 2024, Paphos, Cyprus - Commonwealth countries united to strategize collective action towards 30% marine protection by the year 2030. The Government of Samoa, Waitt Institute, National Geographic Pristine Seas, the Commonwealth Blue Charter (CBC), and Dynamic Planet co-hosted a roundtable dialogue titled “Implementing the 30x30 Target for Marine Protection in the Commonwealth” at the Commonwealth Ocean Ministers Meeting in Cyprus.

This meeting focused on the link between ocean health and climate resilience, as well as the need for sustainable financing to implement large-scale ocean protection commitments.

This high-level roundtable event was convened to:

  • Share insights and strategies for supporting Commonwealth Countries in achieving the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Global Biodiversity Framework Target 3, to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030;

  • Highlight innovative approaches countries can employ , such as Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs); and

  • Explore collaborative opportunities among Commonwealth countries to advance marine protection commitments and initiatives. 

The roundtable featured remarks from:

  • Dr. Kathryn Mengerink, Executive Director, Waitt Institute

  • The Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland KC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth

  • Peseta Noumea Simi, Chief Executive Officer, Government of Samoa Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade

  • Dr. Enric Sala, Explorer in Residence, Executive Director, National Geographic Pristine Seas, and author of The Nature of Nature

  • Kristin Rechberger, Chief Executive Officer, Dynamic Planet

  • Dr. Jeff Ardron, Ocean Governance Advisor, The Commonwealth Secretariat

During the meeting, Samoa’s Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peseta Noumea Simi, remarked, “It is our call as members of the Commonwealth to take bold, decisive, and practical actions and to make responsible decisions to ensure the sustainable management of our oceans for now and the future.” 

Dr. Kathryn Mengerink, Executive Director of the Waitt Institute, said, “190 countries have agreed that we need to fully protect at least 30% of our ocean before 2030, but this is a deadline and not a target. We need to work together to take immediate action to implement marine protection in order to secure a better future for our planet.”

“When the ocean thrives, communities benefit: MPAs restore marine life, increase food security and help mitigate global warming,” remarked Dr. Enric Sala, Executive Director of National Geographic Pristine Seas and author of The Nature of Nature. “But ambition to conserve the sea is not enough. We need serious action from policymakers—that means new MPAs every single day to reach 30% protection by 2030."

“Effective marine protection boosts blue economies,” stated Kristin Rechberger, CEO of Dynamic Planet. “In Dominica, for example, its new sperm whale reserve is planning to incorporate regulations and pricing that pay for a well-managed reserve and support local communities.”

Dr. Jeff Ardron, Ocean Governance Advisor, The Commonwealth Secretariat emphasized, “Commonwealth countries can lead the rest of the world in implementing marine protection and harnessing sustainable finance. This meeting is a big step towards an ambitious Commonwealth Ocean Declaration, which will be adopted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa in October.” 

Hosted by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, the inaugural Commonwealth Ocean Ministers Meeting provided a shared platform for Commonwealth countries on ocean issues. Under the theme “Our Resilient Common Ocean: From Cyprus to Samoa,” a roadmap and timeframe will be established to pave the way for the adoption of the Commonwealth Ocean Declaration during the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting taking place in Samoa in Oct. 2024.


About the Waitt Institute

The Waitt Institute is a non-profit organization that partners with committed governments, local stakeholders and communities to create and implement sustainable ocean plans to benefit people, the economy, and the environment. It works with governments, NGOs, and local communities to develop Marine Protected Areas, establish sustainable fisheries, and encourage a Blue Economy.

The Waitt Institute is a founding member and organizing body of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, which currently has Blue Prosperity partnerships with the Azores, Bermuda, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Maldives, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

About National Geographic Pristine Seas

Pristine Seas works with Indigenous and local communities, governments, and other partners to help protect vital places in the ocean using a unique combination of research, community engagement, policy work, and strategic communications and media. Since 2008, Pristine Seas has helped establish 27 marine reserves, spanning more than 6.6 million square kilometers of ocean.

About Dynamic Planet

Dynamic Planet works with governments, businesses and civil society to transition from extractive economies to regenerative and circular economies.

About the Commonwealth Blue Charter

The Commonwealth Blue Charter (CBC) is an agreement between all 56 Commonwealth countries to actively cooperate to solve ocean-related challenges and meet commitments for sustainable ocean action. The CBC helps Commonwealth countries work together on a fair, inclusive and sustainable approach to ocean protection and economic development.

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