Countries leading action for ocean health and governance in the Commonwealth will meet in London next week to share strategies and firm up plans for action under the Commonwealth Blue Charter.
Agreed unanimously by leaders in April 2018, the Commonwealth Blue Charter commits all 53 member countries to work together on solving crucial ocean-related challenges.
To date, 12 ‘champion’ countries have stepped forward to rally fellow members around nine key areas, including marine pollution, ocean acidification and the sustainable blue economy.
A four-day ‘All-Champions’ workshop on 18-21 June will bring them together to boost collaboration and network with major potential partners, such as philanthropies and businesses.
Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “Progress under the Commonwealth Blue Charter has been tremendously encouraging. The All-Champions meeting is a valuable opportunity for representatives of our member countries to brainstorm, share best practices and mobilise support for their ocean priorities, and by so doing to make progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14.
“A major focus will be on forging partnerships with a range of actors in civil society, the private sector, academia and international development bodies. It is only by working together across sectors and engaging at all levels, that we can mobilise in effective ways to drive lasting global change for our ocean.”
Part of the programme, organised in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, will focus specifically on matching champion countries with suitable partners.
The nine action groups they lead include: Sustainable Aquaculture (led by Cyprus), Sustainable Blue Economy (Kenya), Coral Reef Protection and Restoration (Australia, Belize, Mauritius), Mangrove Restoration (Sri Lanka), Ocean Acidification (New Zealand), Ocean and Climate Change (Fiji), Ocean Observations (Canada), Marine Plastic Pollution (United Kingdom, Vanuatu) and Marine Protected Areas (Seychelles).
Head of Oceans and Natural Resources Nicholas Hardman-Mountford added: “The momentum for action continues to build under the Blue Charter. All enthusiastic actors are welcome to get on board and support the initiative.”
The workshop will help countries make the transition from commitments to concrete actions, in the lead up to the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in June 2020 in Rwanda.