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World Ocean Summit. Reasons for optimism

The sixth World Ocean Summit closed with a cautious optimism that we are moving from talk to action but the pace needs to accelerate.

Over 700 attendees including 65 speakers from over 50 countries convened this week at the summit in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The next generation has a powerful role in spearheading necessary change. 2018 was a big year for the ocean in terms of public awareness, now it is time mobilise this interest and implement the solutions as the 2020 deadline for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 nears. Solutions include developing new technologies, engaging the financial community and creating robust governance frameworks.

"The idea of a sustainable ocean economy has truly come of age. Each year at the summit, we hear about the urgent problems facing our ocean. This year, we have begun to hear about many of the solutions which are now beginning to take shape," said Charlie Goddard, editorial director, the Economist. "Cellular agriculture, artificial intelligence and alternative fuels are all exciting new technologies that will help shape the blue economy. Innovative financing mechanisms and international partnerships will underpin most of these projects."

"The summit has brought about an immense amount of energy and focus on the critical issues pertaining to our ocean. It has enhanced our understanding and really set the tone for the way forward, especially on financing, blue technology, aquaculture and plastic pollution. The level of engagement and dialogue has been phenomenal. During the summit, the EAD announced a new fisheries recovery plan and reaffirmed its steadfast commitment to tackling plastic pollution in the marine environment. We now need to leverage this momentum and mobilise these ideas at scale and pace that can bring about a profound shift in the way things stand today," said Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD).

H.E. Rashid Abdul Karim Al Baloushi, Acting Undersecretary of Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi (ADDED), said: "We congratulate the organisers and participants for this successful event, and we are proud to be part of this global movement which proactively works on achieving a sustainable marine economy. It is particularly important for Abu Dhabi as the marine sector is one of the main pillars of the local economy to drive growth. It is vital that there is a concerted effort among various government entities to promote the conservation of our oceans through initiatives that are economically viable while addressing ocean pollution. The outcomes of this event will certainly go a long way within the UAE, throughout the region and the world, towards our common quest to contribute to the global efforts of saving our oceans."

The summit is the centrepiece of The Economist Group's World Ocean Initiative.


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