The Roscongress Foundation together with OSK hosted an online session “Saving the World’s Oceans: Mission Impossible?” on issues related to the Global Ocean. The event was dedicated the World Oceans Day that annually attracts worldwide attention to the troubles marine life is facing.
The online session featured scientist and grandson of Jacques-Ives Cousteau, the famed explorer of the seas, Philippe Cousteau Jr., Paris Peace Forum President and former Director-General of the World Trade Organization (2005–2013) Pascal Lamy, photographer and biologist Cristina Mittermeier, United Shipbuilding Corporation President Alexei Rakhmanov, legendary hockey player and UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic Vyacheslav Fetisov, Former President of the Republic of Costa Rica (1994–1998) and Antarctica2020 project founder José María Figueres, extreme sport athlete and UN Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador Lewis Pugh, and Senior High Seas Advisor to the Global Marine and Polar Programme of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Kristina Gjerde.
The experts discussed the current state of the oceans, evaluated strategies for its preservation and rejuvenation. Particular attention was paid to the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the environment and the future of ocean protection and damage mitigation.
United Shipbuilding Corporation President Alexei Rakhmanov highlighted Russia’s leading role in preserving the marine environment.
“The origin of this pandemic has a lot do with the interaction between humans and natural habitats. It has a lot to do with this co-existence interaction. This is why many of us on many levels are so engaged in this conservation push, to promote regeneration of marine resources and protection from human footprint. There is a direct connection between humans and nature, and we are hoping to find the way out of this crisis,” noted Paris Peace Forum President and former Director-General of the World Trade Organization (2005–2013) Pascal Lamy. He said that environmental protection does not aim to kill the ‘blue economy’ and preservation does not contradict economic development.
“It’s not only the question of climate change, it’s a question of equity, of intergenerational equity. If we preserve 30% of the world’s ocean, it will serve as replenishment area for biodiversity that gives the ocean an opportunity to regenerate. We need to stop illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, stop the wastage of plastics going into the ocean, stop the use of additional fertilization on land that runs off into the ocean. Think of the ocean that we’re going to leave to our children and grandchildren? Do we want to leave an ocean where for every 3 kilos of fish there is one kilo of plastic? Do want to leave an ocean that has much less life and loses its capacity to moderate the global climatic system. We need to take care of the ocean, live from it – yes – but also preserve it for future generations,” said Former President of the Republic of Costa Rica (1994–1998) and Antarctica2020 project founder José María Figueres. He said that the ocean is the most important part of life on Earth, while the Arctic and the Antarctic are the lungs of the planet.
“It will be the largest ever single human action to preserve our oceans. Russia plays a vital role in this organization. It will be a gift from Russia to the mankind”, said Mr. Figueres.
The experts agreed that preserving the Antarctic in its current state will be mankind’s greatest accomplishment.
At the end of the session Philippe Cousteau invited the colleagues to take part in the International Arctic Forum that will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2021.