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The 2017 United Nations Ocean Conference took place earlier this month seeking to mobilize action for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.

An official side event of the conference, hosted by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the World Maritime University (WMU) and the Government of Sweden, brought together representatives from the private sector, ocean leadership nations, and the education and capacity-building sector to highlight and discuss practical approaches to address the ways in which the private sector can fight climate change affecting the ocean.

Here are three key takeaways from the event:

The private sector – a crucial partner

As innovators and investors, business has a key role to play not only in helping to mitigate the effect of climate change on the ocean but also in helping societies adapt to the global effect of climate change.

Paul Holthus, CEO & Founder of the World Ocean Council highlighted the need for a global, multi-industry-level solution to attain healthy, productive oceans and their sustainable use and stewardship by a responsible ocean business community. He told event participants that climate solutions need to be workable in both developed and developing nations, and come from all sectors, including shipping, oil/gas, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, offshore renewables.

Fostering responsible fisheries

Working with small scale and developing world fisheries is essential to address vital issues of food security, livelihood and economic development.

Minna Epps, Programme Director for Scandinavia & Baltic Sea Region Marine Stewardship Council gave examples of how negative impacts on the floor of the Barents Sea were being addressed through bold measures including freezing the trawl footprint to historically affected grounds and a far-reaching commitment to vulnerable ocean-related habitats.

Ms Epps also highlighted how market-based incentive mechanisms, such as certification to indicate sustainability of goods, are an essential tool to help advance UN Sustainable Development Goal attainment.

Building skills for a brighter future

Megan Linkin, Vice-President of Global Partnerships at Swiss Re said uninsured losses from natural catastrophes were a growing burden for governments. As rating agencies, multilateral organisations and the private sector have all gained a stronger understanding of disaster risk they could be valuable partners of the public sector in anticipating and managing risk.

Moderated by ICC’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations Louise Kantrow and Chief Operating Officer of World Maritime University Nikolaus Schultze, the event also underscored the continuing need to educate, train and build capacity of current and future workforces, who will be key players in the maritime and wider ocean industry value chains.

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  • Dawn Chardonnal
  • Head of Media Relations and Web