World Ocean Day 2021 – The Blue Reset: Building resilient and equitable ocean-based economies post-COVID

This high-level Commonwealth virtual event celebrates World Ocean Day, highlighting how protecting the health of the ocean and coastal communities is critical to national and international economic recovery. Government and private sector leaders will speak on their challenges and experiences resetting and rebuilding equitable resilient ocean economies.

The Blue Reset

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the interconnectivity of nature and humanity on this planet. The ocean economy, which contributes approximately $1.5 trillion annually to the global economy, was particularly hard hit by the pandemic. The links between ocean-based sectors and land-based economies mean that these impacts have had widespread economic and social repercussions.

The pandemic has also offered an unprecedented opportunity to press the ‘blue reset’ to ensure a sustainable and equitable blue recovery so that people and the ocean can thrive for years to come. Discussions will also focus on how the Commonwealth Blue Charter can support post-COVID recovery.

Agenda

  1300 – 1305   Introduction and housekeeping

  Dr Nicholas Hardman-Mountford FMBA, Head of Oceans and Natural Resources – Trade, Commonwealth Secretariat

  1305 – 1310

 

  Welcome and Opening Remarks

  Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth

  1310 – 1315   Special Address

  His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Republic of Maldives

  1315 – 1350   Roundtable Discussion 

  The Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister for Pacific and the Environment, United Kingdom

  Hon Kirk D. M. Humphrey, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Barbados

  Hon Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

  Mr Josh Thomas, CEO Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australia

  Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth

  1350-1400   Mr Lewis Pugh OIG, Endurance swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans s
  1400 – 1405   Ms Patricia E. Harris, CEO, Bloomberg Philanthropies
  1405 – 1410   Ms Josheena Naggea, Doctoral candidate – Stanford University and Commonwealth Youth Voice
  1410 – 1415   Closing remarks

Speakers:

  • Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth
  • His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Republic of Maldives
  • Hon. Kirk D. M. Humphrey, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Barbados
  • Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Canada
  • The Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister for Pacific and the Environment, United Kingdom
  • Josh Thomas, CEO, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australia
  • Patricia E. Harris, CEO, Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Lewis Pugh OIG, Endurance swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans
  • Josheena Naggea, Doctoral candidate at Stanford University and Commonwealth Youth voice

Registration

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New funding database for ocean action

The Commonwealth Secretariat has launched an online database to help member countries be aware of and access more than US$170 million of international funding available for ocean-related projects.

Ocean funding database
Dashboard of the Commonwealth Blue Charter Ocean Funders Database

New web tool and handbook

Accompanying this new web tool is a handbook containing valuable guidance on how to navigate the database, as well as match and pitch projects to the most suitable funders.

Both the website and handbook were designed specifically to support the work of the Commonwealth Blue Charter, a historic commitment made in 2018 by all 54 Commonwealth member nations to work actively together to solve ocean challenges.

Step forward for ocean action

Welcoming the initiative, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said:

“Despite the central role of the ocean in our natural ecosystems, climate systems, economies and cultures, funding for ocean conservation is equivalent to less than one percent of global philanthropy, and an even smaller fraction of foreign aid.

“The Commonwealth Blue Charter Ocean Funders Database represents a major step forward for ocean action in the Commonwealth, which aims to support member countries to navigate the funding that is currently available internationally, understand the goals, criteria, and application processes for different prospective funders, and develop successful multilateral partnerships for greater ocean action.”

Action groups

Under the Commonwealth Blue Charter, countries collaborate through voluntary ‘action groups’ on 10 key ocean issues: marine plastic pollution, coral reef protection, mangrove restoration, climate change, ocean acidification, ocean observation, marine protected areas, sustainable aquaculture, sustainable coastal fisheries and the sustainable blue economy.

Over the past year, the 10 action groups have been setting out priorities and shared action plans, taking into account regional and resource needs.

Finding resources and partners

The new funding database will support them in finding resources and partners to implement joint projects across these action areas, such as developing legal frameworks for progressive ocean policies, conducting sought-after capacity building programmes and training courses, and supporting innovation.

Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, the action groups have ramped up efforts to network and share solutions, through research, virtual dialogues and training, with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

For more