Sustainable Ocean Summit 2017 in Halifax, Canada.
The 2017 Sustainable Ocean Summit – the fifth international,
cross-sectoral ocean industry conference on “Corporate Ocean
Responsibility” brought together senior representatives from a
diverse range of ocean industries around the theme of “The
Ocean Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14): Business
Leadership and Business Opportunities”.
The SOS 2017 theme recognizes:
• The growth of the Ocean Economy and its contribution to food,
energy, transport, communications and other needs of society as
part of the U.N. SDG process/Agenda 2030.
• The role of the Ocean Business Community over the next 15
years, and beyond, in ensuring ocean sustainable development.
This conference has attracted those interested in industry
leadership and collaboration to address ocean sustainability,
science and stewardship. Around 250 representatives from
shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, ports, mining,
finance, renewable offshore energy, tourism, marine technology
and other industries, as well as representatives from other key
ocean stakeholders attended.
This was billed as an opportunity to “get to know your peers in
other sectors, and other stakeholder groups, who share your
interest to understand and act on risks and opportunities of
ocean sustainable development.“
The stated focus of the SOS 2017 included:
• Ocean Business Community leadership in achieving the U.N.
“Ocean” Sustainable Development
Goal (SDG) 14.
• Business Growth and Investment opportunities through Ocean
• Building on the results and momentum of the U.N. Ocean/SDG
14 Conference (June 2017), the “Our Ocean” conference (October 2017) and other ocean events
The results of this SOS 2017 will feed into WOC and ocean
business community efforts to address ocean sustainable
development and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
I spoke on behalf of Mangrove Action Project, representing one
of the few environmental/ social issues non-profits attending the
conference. In assessing my involvement, I feel it was important
because I brought a rather unique and very needed perspective
to an otherwise corporate interest related event.
The bulk of the
conference speakers spoke from the economically sustainable
and innovative industry viewpoint with a profit-oriented
perspective, with little emphasis on conservation and nature-
based solution approaches.
Towards the end of the first plenary session, in one intervention I
was able to highlight this serious lack of focus at the conference
on the environmental perspective, and used the example of
industrial aquaculture and floating city platforms being lauded by
certain plenary presenters as great steps forward in meeting our
civilization’s challenges in the years ahead.
I felt that the planet
and its myriad life forms, including mangroves and humans,
needed to be seriously considered in the overall picture. This
limited corporate approach to development and so-called
“progress” failed to represent the bulk of life on this planet, and in
fact was a threat to all life itself.
My intervention came early on in the conference, and near two-
dozen persons attending approached me to thank me for my
intervention. On the 2 nd morning of the conference I was part of a
panel of presenters.
I gave my powerpoint presentation on the
important benefits and services that mangroves provide,
highlighting the importance of mangroves in the effort to reduce
climate change. (please see the link to view the presentation
itself)The audience was receptive and appreciated learning
about these amazing forest wetlands that can help reduce CO2
buildup while protecting coral reefs, sea grasses and coastlines
from erosion and rising seas and dangerous weather events.
The WOC-SOS conference was a good outreach opportunity for
MAP, where both Roan and I met many conference participants.
Many business cards were exchanged and some excellent
organizational contacts were made, with potential partnerships
for future collaborations arising from this event. All in all, it was
important that representatives of MAP attended this event.