Up to 120 delegations to participate in 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens, Gerapetritis announces

Greece
Tue, 9 Apr 2024 8:10 GMT
"We must remember that we are not the owners of this planet but only its tenants. Ownership belongs to future generations," Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis said during a press conference held at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) on Monday.
Up to 120 delegations to participate in 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens, Gerapetritis announces

"We must remember that we are not the owners of this planet but only its tenants. Ownership belongs to future generations," Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis said during a press conference held at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) on Monday, ahead of the 9th Our Ocean Conference taking place in Athens on April 15-17.

He pointed out that this was one of the major initiatives for the protection of the aquatic environment, of oceans and water, "which is a high-stakes issue globally but an existential issue for our country." Participation levels were high, the minister reported, with 120 delegations from 113 countries and seven international organisations, including 12 heads of state and government and 50 government ministers. All Mediterranean states will be represented, he added, while among those attending are European Council President Charles Michel, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius and Patriarch Bartholomew.

Gerapetritis noted that the Mediterranean Sea was a focal point of the oncoming environmental crisis, a planetary 'hotspot' that would see a significant increase in temperature and water levels:

"There are no margins for more compromises, we must seek the golden rule between sustainable growth, especially sustainable tourism growth, and the protection of the environment," the minister said, stressing the obligation to deliver a livable world to future generations.

He noted that the first Our Ocean Conference was launched by then US Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014 and had since been hosted in all parts of the world, with the participation of governments, non-governmental organisations, civil society and those with a heightened environmental awareness, while the aim was to generate tangible results and actions that will improve the level of environmental protection.

Gerapetritis pointed out that the Our Ocean Conferences have extracted 2,161 specific commitments from states and international organisations, which have pledged both funding and regulatory action. Its economic imprint exceeds 130 billion dollars, he said, and it concerns the entire planet.

While traditionally focusing on climate, sustainable fishing, the blue economy, protected marine areas, maritime security and maritime pollution, the Greek OOC had added four additional categories that include sustainable tourism, plastic and microplastic pollution, green shipping and the green transition in the Mediterranean. The foreign minister highlighted their importance for Greek foreign policy and diplomacy, especially as regards tourism.

AMNA

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