UD experts organize international conference on global ocean issues
University of Delaware Prof. Biliana Cicin-Sain, far right, with, from left, Prince Albert II of Monaco; Wendy Watson Wright, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO; and Laurent Stefanini, ambassador for the environment, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, France. Photo copyright Marlene Awaad
Biliana Cicin-Sain and President Anote Tong of Kiribati. Photo copyright Marlene Awaad


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9:07 a.m., May 24, 2010----Researchers at the University of Delaware were key participants in the 5th Global Oceans Conference, which was held May 3-7 in Paris.

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Organized by the UD-housed Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, the government of France, UNESCO, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, and 30 other organizations, the conference attracted a record 859 participants from 80 countries.

The conference provided a vital forum for high-level leaders, experts, scientists, and policy-makers to address the major policy issues affecting the oceans and to make progress in advancing the global oceans agenda, especially in light of climate change impacts recently addressed by the December 2009 U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen.

The global oceans play a unique role in sustaining life on Earth by generating oxygen, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide, regulating climate and temperature, and providing the global population with food, livelihood, energy, and transportation.

However, the health and well-being of the world's ocean and coastal resources are severely endangered by climate change, overfishing, pollution, and a number of other threats.

Furthermore, conference organizers have identified 183 coastal nations that face challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and ocean acidification that endanger coastal and island communities and ocean-based livelihoods.

The Global Oceans Conference addressed many of the major challenges facing oceans today, with a focus on three main themes:

  • Ensuring survival: oceans, climate and security;
  • Preserving life: marine biodiversity; and
  • Improving governance at national and regional levels and in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

To meet challenges across the three themes, outcomes of the conference focused on detailed, solutions-based recommendations that can be implemented in the near term to propel the global oceans agenda into the next decade. A summary report is available in PDF format.

Conference attendees noted the need for integrated, ecosystem-based approaches to the governance of oceans and coasts and the challenges of applying such approaches to the 64 percent of the world's oceans that do not fall within national jurisdictions.

The conference featured the participation of a number of senior-level officials including Prince Albert II of Monaco; President Anote Tong of Kiribati; Monique Barbut, CEO of the Global Environment Facility; and Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands is co-chaired by Biliana Cicin-Sain, professor of marine policy and director of UD's Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).

The Global Forum brings together ocean leaders from governments, non-governmental and international organizations, scientists, the private sector, and museums and aquaria to achieve the sustainable development of oceans, coasts, and islands and to advance the global oceans agenda.

The Global Oceans Conference 2010 Program can be downloaded in PDF format.

For more about the Mangone Center and CEOE, visit the college's website.