Oceans Highlighted at ADB Annual Meeting in Fiji

The following is a short report by Sea Technology of the latest ocean topics discussed at the Asian Development Bank’s 2019 Annual Meeting.
For more ocean news, visit sea-technology.com.

 

Ocean health in relation to sustainable development was a major theme of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Annual Meeting, held on Denarau Island, Fiji, May 1 to 5. ADB President Takehiko Nakao announced the launch of the ADB’s $5 billion Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Sustainable Blue Economies during the meeting. The plan will support the efforts of ADB’s developing member countries related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 14 on ocean conservation and sustainability. ADB will expand financing and technical assistance for ocean health and marine economy projects to $5 billion from 2019 to 2024, including co-financing from partners. The action plan focuses on four areas: creating inclusive livelihoods and business opportunities in sustainable tourism and fisheries; protecting and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems and key rivers; reducing land-based sources of marine pollution, including plastics, waste-water and agricultural runoff; and improving sustainability in port and coastal infrastructure development. Ocean ecosystems around the world are suffering from climate change, pollution and illegal and unregulated fishing. The Asia-Pacific region contains eight of the 10 rivers transporting 88 to 95 percent of plastics into the sea worldwide. Unless immediate action is taken, about 90 percent of Asia-Pacific’s coral reefs will be dead by 2050, and all commercially exploitable fish stocks will disappear by then. This will significantly threaten food security, the global economy and livelihoods, especially among millions of poor and vulnerable communities in the region. ADB will launch the Oceans Financing Initiative to create opportunities for the private sector to invest in bankable projects that will help improve ocean health through instruments such as credit-risk guarantees and capital market “blue bonds.” On the same day Nakao announced the ADB’s Action Plan for Healthy Oceans, a seminar on ocean health was held at the ADB Annual Meeting. The speakers were: Nakao; the Indonesian Minister for National Development Planning Bambang Brodjonegoro; Global Environment Facility CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii; World Resources Institute President and CEO Andrew Steer; and Pacific Islands Forum Deputy Secretary General Cristelle Pratt. Craig Leeson, director of “A Plastic Ocean,” moderated. Ocean resources are valued at $2.5 trillion, but they are threatened by 8 million tons of plastic being dumped into the oceans every year, Sea Technology reported from the seminar. “The ocean is suffering from tragedy of global commons,” said Ishii. However, “If we do shift our economic and financial paradigms, we can create a healthy ocean,” said Leeson, who brought up the example of his home town in Tasmania, which he witnessed transform from a heavily polluted coastal industrial town to a clean-water tourist destination. Raising awareness and monetizing values that promote ocean health are key. Steer emphasized that the narrative needs to change from helplessness to positive action; we already know the solutions to, for example, overfishing. Brodjonegoro explained how Indonesia has been successful in regulating overfishing by cracking down on illegal activities (partly by blowing up fishing vessels for deterrence). The Indonesian minister also said that both consumer and manufacturer behavior have to change to address the plastics problem; single-use plastics must be reduced. Ocean health is a large global problem, but it is not insurmountable, Leeson argued. With awareness, legislation and manufacturers’ involvement, ocean conservation and sustainable development are possible.

 


ECO & ON&T continue growth entering 2020

Anyone affiliated with the maritime industry knows about OCEANS, the annual conference and exposition put on by the Marine Technology Society (MTS) and IEEE’s Oceanic Engineering Society. OCEANS 2019 Seattle is taking place in Seattle from October 27 – 31, and this year’s focus is on sustainable practices and new opportunities presented by the blue economy. The conference theme is “Blue Sea, Blue Sky, Blue Tech.”

On average, over 130 vendors are there and over 500 papers are presented at OCEANS. Sessions focus on the latest technology and news in the industry, which is why both ECO and Oceans News & Technology magazines will be well-represented at OCEANS.

Greg Leatherman, managing editor for both publications, and Kira Coley, ECO Magazine senior editor, took a few moments to share their thoughts on the blue economy, the conference, and what 2020 holds for their publications.

“I think one of the most exciting areas in the blue economy is the emergence of a traceable “farm to table” aquaculture presence in North America. Due to the sheer number of people who live along our coastlines, you can’t overestimate how important environmental issues are in this area. The combination of skilled people and good data in this arena could change the way we eat in the same way that organic labelling has,” Greg said.

Greg noted that many of the major food companies stock values are reflecting what is important to larger elements of the population. They’re sending the message that they want to know where their food is coming from. Greg added, “Clearly no industry has more to gain from this than the North American seafood producers.”

ECO Magazine senior editor, Kira Coley, said, “With all the challenges we face in understanding changes to the oceans and coasts, beyond-border collaborations between the technology industry, governments and different science fields will be key.”

Greg suggested that 2020 is going to be a big year for ECO and ON&T magazines. “Our ECO special topic issues have been tremendously successful, and we are going to continue along that path. ON&T we’re expanding our international coverage, focusing on hot spots such as Brazil and the southern Gulf of Mexico. We’re also going to cover supply chain companies in the offshore energy areas. Our print editions will continue to be more in depth, and we’ll leverage our websites and newsletters for breaking news and updates.”

Kira added, “It’s also vitally important for success stories to be shared so others can see what can be achieved and follow suit. Our role as a leading trade publication is to support these efforts and help build bridges between industry and academia. It’s not just about keeping people informed about the latest advancements, but also about sharing stories with the ocean community that encourages open dialogue and new thinking on a global level.”

As veteran alumni of the OCEANS conference, Greg and Kira are looking forward to what they most value in the conference – the people. Greg finds that the element he most enjoys when attending conferences are his fellow attendees. “It’s really about the people. I find that once you get past the logos and marketing materials, the quality of people that work in ocean industries, academia, and organizations is unsurpassed. Where else can I talk to a Navy officer one moment, a world-class inventor the next, and then find myself at a table full of young engineers excited to solve whatever challenges the world has for them. I always meet someone amazing at the OCEANS conference, in part because the membership for MTS is so far-reaching.”

TSC publishes two leading marine publications, Environment, Coastal & Offshore (ECO) and Ocean News & Technology (ON&T).  ECO Magazine is a leading international ocean science publication for scientists and professionals reporting from the frontlines of ocean science, technology and exploration. ON&T is the offshore industry’s leading trade publication and for nearly four decades, ON&T has covered the Offshore Energy, Subsea Intervention and Survey, Maritime Communications, and Defense industries. Well read by Executive decision makers seeking industry news, forecasts and data, both publications are proud to be a part of the publishing arm of Technology Systems Corporations (TSC).

A business-to-business media company and conference organizer, TSC provides focused print, digital, and electronic media, research, market intelligence, information services and specialized conferences to the ocean and offshore industries. As the primary industry resource for news, technology developments, forecasts, information and intelligence, TSC provides insight and opportunity for the Ocean Science/Research, Submarine Cable, Offshore Energy, Marine, and Military and Civilian governments.


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This post is sponsored by our media partner, Ocean Business. 

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