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Philanthropy focused on Marine Ecosystems at the Our Ocean Conference 2024 in Athens.

The 9th edition of Our Ocean Conference, held from the 15th to the 17th April 2024 in Athens (Greece), set the goal to enhance the role played by Blue Economy in motivating a synergistic approach capable to merge economic growth, social cohesion and sustainability in one welfare target. This combination has proven to be win-win in bypassing the risk of accelerating the deterioration of marine ecosystems. Notably: biodiversity loss, climate change, overfishing, marine pollution and pollutant maritime transport.

The Prince Albert II of Monaco took the opportunity to make a significant announcement. Thank to the support of international donors from the private and public sector, 60.8 million USD will be allocated to achieve marine conservation actions in the Mediterranean Sea over the next five years. The financial commitment is intended to support countries in order to comply with the global goal of protecting 30% of the Mediterranean by 2030, in support of its crucial biodiversity.

On the occasion of the Plenary Session, entitled "The Challenges & Solutions of the Mediterranean Countries", the Sovereign Prince pointed out: « The efforts to protect the Mediterranean Sea  have grown over the years, but not fast enough. (...) Urgent action is needed at all levels if we are to meet this ambitious target (30x30). With this pledge, private and public donor call upon others to join the effort. We are committed to push for an effective 30% protection by 2030, including 10% strict protection ».

Conservation Collective, Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund, Global Environment Facility, Oceans 5, Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy, Segré Foundation, Thalassa Foundation, The MedFund, Shark Conservation Fund, Bloomberg Ocean Initiative, Tiffany & Co. Foundation and other bodies, joined their forces to hit the edge. The Mediterranean Basin is a nature hub for biodiversity which is particularly vulnerable as a result of chemical pollution as well as the abnormal rise of sea temperature that also attracts exotic species from tropical seas. Just 8.33% of the Mediterranean Sea is currently under protection, often following regulations not as protective as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering a small part of the marine surface (0.23%).

Ben Goldsmith, Chair and Founder of Conservation Collective, reaffirmed: « (...) There is so much to do, and nothing more rewarding than seeing effectively managed MPAs breathe life back into this magical sea ».

According to the will of the promoters of the initiative, pushing the large audience to consider the urgency of climate actions to preserve Mediterranean ecosystems. Requesting the stop to the extremely impactful anthropic actions and a greater cross-border collaboration are in the top list. Public and private financial support is then vital to put into practice actions with concrete effects.

Dona Bertarelli, Philanthropist, IUCN Patron of Nation and Ocean Advocate, concluded: « (...) By channeling increased financial resources into marine protection, we are investing in robust positive nature conservation initiatives which safeguard both biodiversity and local livelihoods. I am hopeful that our collaborative approach will inspire global efforts and serve as a model for protecting invaluable natural resources for generations to come ». ***

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By Maurice Abbati

Journalist; Editor; Communication, Media and Public Relations Specialist

Lecturer and Author in English language of Technical Articles and the Manual: "Communicating the Environment to Save the Planet, a Journey into Eco-Communication" by Springer International Publishing.

Cover page of PhD manual by Maurice Abbati

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