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Gold Rush mentality is not the way to manage the ocean

Our lives depend on a healthy ocean. It's part of the future we want.

Warning of a new Gold Rush on the Blue Economy, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova attended the recently concluded World Ocean Summit in Half Moon Bay, California, just outside San Francisco earlier this week. “The Blue Economy is not some vast new frontier to be conquered. It already exists and contributes considerably to our overall economic and social well-being. The question is how we can make the most of it, for the benefit of all, in a sustainable way,” Ms. Bokova wrote in a recently published opinion piece in the Huffington Post.

The Director-General joined the Executive-Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Ms Wendy Watson-Wright at the three day meeting, where top ocean scientists joined with leaders in the business community, current and former heads of state and ocean advocates to grapple with ocean governance issues set against reports of increasing evidence of ocean degradation.

The Director-General along with the IOC Executive-Secretary also held a number of meetings during the conference to further the efforts of the IOC with potentially new and existing partners. Meeting with HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, the discussion covered a range of issues including the International Polar Partnership Initiative and advancing the science on Harmful Algal Blooms, a particular concern of the principality and an IOC programme.

Issues of governance and coordination were raised in meetings with former president of the Republic of Costa Rica and Global Ocean Commission Co-Chair Jose Maria Figueres and EC Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Maria Damanaki.

President of the Portuguese Republic Anibal Cavavco Silva gave the closing keynote, also sounding the alarm and calling on the international community to redouble its efforts to protect the ocean. The summit is now a biennial event organized by The Economist magazine.