Living Oceans at the World Parks Conference
Karin Bodtker, our Director of Mapping and Analysis, took a trip down under last November to give a presentation at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia. These global forums have been held every 10 years since 1962. The Marine Theme blossomed this year with arguably the most active community of the meeting. Focusing on how to design and manage Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and networks, the theme hosted lively debates and discussions. Karin presented in a session on reconciling development challenges, sharing insights from Living Oceans’ ongoing work to set up MPAs in the Great Bear Sea.
“This was a terrific opportunity to share our success stories and to learn from world-wide experience with MPAs,” Karin said. “It was very inspirational to see the effort that other countries are putting into ocean health.”
The conference drew 6,000 participants from 170 countries, closing with the The Promise of Sydney where governments, organizations, industry and indigenous leaders pledged to safeguard the planet’s natural assets. Two of the most outstanding pledges were from South Africa and Madagascar who both pledged to triple ocean protection in their waters over the next 10 years. Also, President Bongo of Gabon committed to protecting 23 percent of the country’s EEZ with a network of no-take MPAs. The Government of Canada made no such pledge and had no significant presence at this landmark forum.