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Ocean Summit in Bali to discuss future of ‘blue’ economy

  • I Wayan Juniarta

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar, Bali | Wed, February 22, 2017 | 08:06 am
Ocean Summit in Bali to discuss future of ‘blue’ economy School of barracuda fish swims over coral reef. (Shutterstock/Rich Carey)

With seas around the globe facing unprecedented pressures caused by humans’ reckless endeavors, ranging from exploitative fishing to pollution, prominent international institutions and industry leaders as well as scientists and government representatives are set to convene to discuss the future of a sustainable ocean economy.

The three-day World Ocean Summit on Feb. 22 to Feb. 24 will be held at the Sofitel Nusa Dua Beach Resort. As many as 360 speakers and participants are expected to attend the summit.

Organized by the global media group The Economist and sponsored by influential organizations, including the Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund, the summit aims to start a new discussion on how capital and the private sector can drive scalable, sustainable investment in the ocean.

The summit is expected to provide important insights and networking opportunities for Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelagic state, as well as countries in the Asia-Pacific, most of which have significant dependence on the ocean economy. The region has also witnessed growing tensions between economic giant China and a number of its neighbors, triggered by territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla is slated to speak on Indonesia’s ocean and maritime agenda on the second day of the summit with The Economist’s editor-inchief Zanny Minton Beddoes as the interviewer.

Meanwhile, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, who is quite popular here due to her fierce crackdown on illegal fishing in Indonesian waters, will speak on the last day of the conference in the “What comes next: a call for commitments” panel alongside the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella and Sweden’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Olof Skoog.

Other speakers include UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson, the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development, Laura Tuck, the UN Environmental Programme’s executive director, Erik Solheim, and former director general of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy.

Several influential figures from the global financial world, including Credit Suisse’s Mark Burrows, Citigroup’s Michael Eckhart, European Investment Bank’s Jonathan Taylor and Climate Bonds Initiative’s Sean Kidney, will also share their thoughts in the summit.

The featured topics include investment framework for the ocean, China and the ocean economy, realizing the ocean’s investment potential, the global ocean agenda and scaling the response to pollution and plastics.

The last topic will see the appearance of Boyan Slat, the youngest-ever recipient of the UN’s highest environmental accolade, Champion of the Earth. He is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, which develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Instead of trying to clean up each piece of plastic, Slat devised a system through which, driven by ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate itself, reducing the theoretical clean-up time from millennia to mere years.

Previous ocean summits were held in 2015 in Portugal and in 2014 in the United States.