“Our Ocean” conference: billions for ocean protection

Status: 03/04/2023 11:39 a.m

At the “Our Ocean” conference, several countries pledged around 18 billion euros for marine protection. It is to be used for research or satellite observation. Environmentalists warn against the mining of mineral resources in the seas.

At the international conference “Our Ocean” in Panama City, the participants pledged almost 17.8 billion euros for the protection of the seas. This was announced by Panama’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yill del Carmen Otero. Among the commitments alone are six billion dollars (5.6 billion euros) from the USA.

The EU pledged 816.5 million euros for marine protection. “The oceans are part of who we are and we are responsible for them together,” said EU Commissioner for Environment and Oceans Virginijus Sinkevicius.

oceans under stress

About 600 delegates from governments, environmental activists, scientists and business representatives met for two days. Among other things, they discussed how the oceans can be managed sustainably.

Among other things, it was about expanding marine protected areas, reducing stressors on the oceans and ensuring a sustainable “blue economy” – the equivalent of a green economy in relation to the seas.

The conference was held for the first time in 2014 at the initiative of the US government. The aim of the conference was not a binding agreement, rather the participants made individual financial commitments.

Money for research to protect the oceans

Among other things, research projects to protect maritime biodiversity or satellites to monitor ice melt are to be financed from the promised money. It is also to be spent on technical assistance for lower emissions in shipping.

Host country Panama announced plans to almost double the size of its marine protected areas. President Laurentino Cortizo signed a corresponding decree. The area of ​​​​the Banco Volcán protected area in the Caribbean will be expanded to almost 94,000 square kilometers. As a result, more than 54 percent of the Panamanian exclusive economic zone will be under protection in the future – currently it is 30 percent.

A manganese nodule found in Peru.

Image: picture alliance / dpa

Valuable mineral resources on the seabed

Multinational companies want to mine the natural resources like manganese nodules in the seas. They are deposited on the seabed and contain metals that are important for making batteries. Environmentalists warn that mining them would have devastating effects on deep-sea ecosystems.

The oceans cover three quarters of the earth’s surface and are home to 80 percent of all life on the planet. They provide food for more than three billion people and represent important trade routes.

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