Cyprus is at the forefront of sustainable aquaculture, KNEWS

The Ministerial Conference on Oceans, entitled “Our resilient shared ocean: from Cyprus to Samoa”, concluded with optimistic messages about the future of water management. Ministers from 17 Commonwealth countries met in Paphos to discuss critical issues relating to sustainable ocean management.

Progress since 2018: the Blue Charter

In her closing remarks, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, highlighted the significant progress that has been made since the adoption of the 2018 Commonwealth Blue Charter at the Summit (CHOGM). This charter represents a commitment to the oceans and sustainably managed, with ambitious targets to tackle marine pollution, climate change, overfishing and coral reef degradation.The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC emphasized that the commitment of champion countries is driving a global movement.

Pioneering countries

Special recognition was given to 16 countries for their leadership in implementing the goals of the Blue Charter:

Patricia Scotland KC made special mention of 16 countries that stood out for their leading role in implementing the Blue Paper targets.

Australia, Belize, Mauritius: Led efforts to protect and restore coral reefs, critical ecosystems for ocean health and biodiversity.

Sri Lanka: Aimed at protecting long-lived ecosystems, essential for coastal protection and carbon dioxide absorption.

UK: Led the Commonwealth Alliance for Clean Oceans, aimed at tackling marine plastic pollution.

New Zealand: Measures have been taken to tackle ocean acidification, a threat to marine ecosystems and fish populations.

Fiji: Led initiatives to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the oceans, including sea level rise and extreme weather events.

Canada: Priority given to improving ocean observation to understand changes and develop effective management strategies.

Barbados, Seychelles: Led efforts to protect and sustainably manage marine protected areas, which are vital to diverse marine species.

Cyprus: Named champion for sustainable aquaculture, with a robust industry with food production with a low impact on the environment, reducing pressure on wild catches.

Antigua and Barbuda, Kenya: Champions for Sustainable Blue Economy, focused on using oceans for economic development while ensuring resource sustainability.

Kiribati, Maldives: Champions for Sustainable Coastal Fisheries, working towards sustainable fishing practices for food security and livelihoods.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General emphasized the importance of engagement and cooperation between participating countries in the Blue Charter. The progress made to date underlines the collective power to tackle the myriad challenges facing the oceans.

Inspiring a global movement

The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC highlighted that the commitment of champion countries goes beyond Commonwealth borders and inspires countries around the world to take action to protect the ocean. This marks the beginning of a global movement towards responsible management of marine resources. The Ministerial Conference demonstrated the evolution of the Blue Charter from a mere commitment to a dynamic movement for ocean protection. The outcomes of the summit demonstrate an optimistic view of the future of the oceans. However, sustainable commitment and cooperation are absolutely necessary to ensure the health and sustainability of these vital marine ecosystems for future generations.

(This article has been translated from the Greek original)