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A New SOS Save Our Seas - The Economist World Oceans Summit

A New SOS Save Our Seas - The Economist World Oceans Summit

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Published by: pacificeyewitness.com on Apr 18, 2012
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The Economist World Oceans Summit:“A New S-O-S: Save Our Seas”
As Prepared for Delivery 
 Remarks of Robert B. Zoellick, President, The World Bank Group
 
Singapore
 
February 24, 2012
 
“A New S-O-S: Save Our Seas”
 
Introduction 
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
Oceans are the lifeblood of our world.They flow over more than 70 percent of our planet, and hold about 97 percent of its water. Theyabsorb heat and carbon dioxide, generate oxygen, and shape the world’s weather patterns. Theyprovide about 15 percent of the animal protein for the world’s population.
 
The air that we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. Whether we live inland
 
or on coastlines,each one of us relies on healthy oceans.So I’m particularly pleased to have this opportunity today to discuss the need for coordinated globalaction to restore the oceans to health.I’d like to thank
The Economist 
for convening this Summit, and John Micklethwait for chairing today’ssession. And I’d especially like to thank all of you for your commitment to this issue.
 
Addressing Oceans: Challenges and Opportunities 
 
Over centuries, we thought that oceans were so vast, so deep, that we could take from themwhatever we chose, and could dump whatever we chose into them. Today, we know that isn’t true.The world’s oceans are in danger.Fish stocks are crashing from overexploitation. Rising pollution is flowing into the oceans from land,air, and rivers, choking plant and animal life. Ocean habitats are disappearing – some with alarmingrapidity – as coastal cities boom. A changing climate has brought warmer oceans, higher sea levels,and ocean acidification.Oceans are
 
the natural capital of all countries, developed and developing; all countries suffer fromdegradation of these ecosystems. There are close connections between land and water, human andocean health, sustainable management and renewable benefits.
 
Yet when we devalue our natural capital, it is often the poor who feel the greatest harm. Oceansprovide a wealth of goods and services that make a tremendous contribution to overcoming poverty,creating opportunity, and spurring economic growth.Let’s look at just one dimension of the oceans: fish and seafood.
 
One billion people in developing countries depend upon fish and seafood for their primary source ofprotein. Over half a billion people in developing countries depend on fishing as a livelihood. Half arewomen.
 
For developing countries, including many island and coastal nations, fish represent the single mosttraded food product, valued at $25 billion a year. For many Pacific Island countries, fish make up 80percent of total exports.
 
For some countries, the fishing trade is absolutely critical for their growth. In Sierra Leone, fisheriesaccount for as much as 10 percent of GDP; for the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati, it’s 53 percent. InSenegal, fishing creates about 600,000 jobs and employs 17 percent of the labor force.
 
Fishing licenses can be a critical income source. In Guinea Bissau, the annual fishing license sold tothe EU at one point represented close to 50 percent of government revenues. When catches shrink,or a country is unable to keep other countries from fishing its seas, license prices fall too.
 
The living ocean is also home to millions of animal and plant species, important to maintainingecosystem health – and to a large global industry in recreation and ecotourism. In the Seychelles, forexample, a country consisting of 115 islands, tourism accounts for 25 percent of GDP. Coral reeftourism alone has an estimated economic value of more than $20 billion a year. More livelihoodsstem from ocean research.Around the world, we estimate that about 350 million jobs are linked to the oceans through fishing,aquaculture, coastal and marine tourism, and research.Ocean ecosystems – mangroves, bogs, reefs, wetlands, and barrier islands – are becoming moreimportant for protecting increasingly populous coastal areas against natural hazards. Some 275million people live in coastal economies dependent on coral reefs, for example – and they are amongthe most vulnerable to climate change and extreme events.For hundreds of millions of people around the world, oceans are essential for providing food, jobs,livelihoods, and protection.Oceans are the home of an under-recognized and under-appreciated “blue economy.” At a timewhen the world is looking for sources of growth, there is huge potential for “blue growth” – wiselypreserving and investing in the value of ocean ecosystems to fight poverty and improve lives.
 
But oceans aren’t living up to their potential.
 
Rebuilding Oceans: What Will It Take? 
 
Why not?There is already a wealth of valuable knowledge and experience about how to restore our oceans – as well as considerable resources devoted to the challenge.
 
NGOs invest about $100 million a year in oceans. Organizations such as Conservation International,The Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund have done a tremendous job in bringing theproblems facing oceans to public attention, while also showing the way to innovative solutions withmarine protected areas and projects within countries to deal with pollution or rebuilding fish stocks.
 
The Global Environment Facility has invested as much as $600 million in healthy oceans, fundingcoastal and marine projects that are addressing issues ranging from pollution reduction to innovativeapproaches to conservation management.
 
The UN group has worked for many years on oceans management – with agencies such as the FAOplaying a crucial role in measuring the health of fish stocks, for example. The World Bank Group isinvesting $1.6 billion in coastal zone management, fisheries, and marine protected areas.
 
NOAA and other national scientific bodies have advanced marine science and ocean planning.
 
Many private companies are increasingly committed to establishing sustainable supplies of seafood.
 
But the scale of the challenge is such that these singular efforts are simply not enough.We need a new S-O-S: Save Our Seas.
 
To make our oceans healthy and productive again, we need greater cooperative and integrated actionaround the globe, so that our efforts add up to more than the sum of their parts.So today, I want to propose a new approach – an unprecedented Global Partnership for Oceans.
 
This Partnership will bring together countries, scientific centers, NGOs, international organizations,foundations, and the private sector to pool knowledge, experience, expertise, and investment arounda set of agreed upon goals.These goals can sharpen our focus, encourage common and reinforcing efforts, and compel us tomeasure performance.Together, we will build on the excellent work already being done to address the threats to oceans,identify workable solutions, and scale them. We can also mobilize financing where there are gaps.
 
I’ve seen in other areas that the World Bank Group is fortunately positioned to catalyze and helporganize such a global partnership effort.Our relationships with both client governments and all shareholder supporters – based on commoninterests in development, growth, and sharing experiences in solving problems – offers us a valuableentry point.
 
We can coordinate financing and help with the global advocacy effort, using our own access topolicymakers and ministers of finance, in particular, to highlight the oceans agenda, raise interest ininvestment, and communicate results.We will also provide new funding, as well as leverage our existing portfolios in fisheries, coastal zonemanagement, marine protected areas, ports, urban development, agriculture, and communitydevelopment, backed by our knowledge platform.We are asking as many organizations as possible to join this initiative. And I am delighted toannounce that the response has been extremely positive.The World Bank already has a firm track record working on this topic with the Small Island DevelopingStates, which face unique development issues, as well as large coastal countries such as Indonesiaand India. Some of these countries have deep experience in protecting oceans. President Tong ofKiribati, for example, has been a leader in sustainable management of coral reefs and associatedecosystems. Brazil is doing innovative work with the private sector and civil society in scaling upmarine protected areas. I expect these leaders and others to play key roles in the Partnership.
 

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