Oceans Conference in Uruguay: declared an event of national interest

Marine reserves, blue economy and blue carbon are some of the key issues to be addressed in this 2nd Oceans Conference, an all-day event on Friday 20th November, organised by our partner OCC. Uruguay’s Ministry for Education and Culture has declared the event to be of national interest.

Drawing national attention to the deep blue waters and marine biodiversity off Uruguay’s Atlantic coast is not just timely, it is urgent. From coral bleaching to islands of plastic, human activities are putting the health of the world’s oceans under dire threat.

Oceans generate more than half of the oxygen we breathe, regulate the planetary climate, are a source of food, medicine and sustenance for millions of families, and shape the cultural traditions and identities of coastal communities around the world.

More than 80 percent of marine pollution comes from land-based activities, such as pesticides and nutrients used in agriculture, which end up in the coastal waters killing marine plants and shellfish. Overfishing has decimated fish populations, damaged critical habitats, reduced marine biodiversity and hurt coastal communities worldwide; and Uruguay’s territorial waters and the southwestern Atlantic have become a magnet for illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

For the future of marine biodiversity, coastal communities and the planet at large, we must act now. Initiatives such as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) seek to encourage positive actions and underscore the importance of traditional and local ecological knowledge for continued ocean and community health. But Uruguay should first fulfill its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Target 14), which means protecting key marine environments and small-scale fishers, and conserving at least 10% of coastal and marine areas.

This 2nd Oceans Conference is a step towards changing the narrative, bringing representatives from the Uruguay’s new government together with scientists, fishermen, communicators, civil society, and a remarkable group of international guest speakers, for a day of exchange and debate around:

  • Preventing pollution and protecting the ocean ecosystem: Marine Reserves.
  • Oceans, Tourism and Climate Change.
  • Sustainable Fishing vs. Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.
  • Underwater Exploration: Knowing to protect. NatGeo Pristine Seas.
  • Antarctic Peninsula: creation of marine protected areas.
  • The High Seas Agreement the next frontier.

Guest speakers include: Enric Sala, explorer in residence at National Geographic / Pristine Seas (Spain); Puri Canals, coordinator of the European Union’s Transatlantic Network of Marine Protected Areas (Spain); Mariamalia Rodríguez Cháves, Doctor of Laws, National University of Ireland, Galway; consultant for the High Seas Alliance (Costa Rica);  José Truda Palazzo, marine environmentalist and co-coordinator of ‘Un Solo Mar’ (Brazil); Claudio Campagna, President of the Patagonian Sea Conservation Forum (Argentina); Rodolfo Werner, Policy and Research Scientist, Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Argentina); Joaquín Labougle, consultant, former director of marine protected areas in Argentina; Mario Batallés, Biodiversity Director, Marine Conservation Focal Point, Ministry of Environment (Uruguay); Andrés Milessi, specialist in marine and fisheries ecosystem management (Uruguay); Alejandro Corvi, President of the Uruguayan Network of Environmental NGOs (Uruguay); and representatives from Uruguay’s Naval Prefecture and Antarctic Institute.

Friday 20th November, 10am to 8pm.
The conference will be semi-presential, with roundtable discussions and time for questions. (Spanish language only).
Click here for more information.
Full programme and how to register – coming soon.