Inaugural MENA Oceans Summit calls for a collaborative framework
Goumbook and its Knowledge Partner, Emirates Diving Association, convened the first MENA Oceans Summit on the occasion of World Oceans Day. Hosted under the patronage of the Ministry of Climate Change & Environment (MOCCAE), the Summit brought together experts from a diverse range of stakeholders to discuss ocean health, biodiversity, nature based solutions, and sustainable blue economies at the inaugural Summit to foster dialogue and collaborative action.
“In the Year of Sustainability, the MENA Oceans Summit will help bolster our dedication to the health and resilience of our oceans, adding further momentum for impactful dialogues at COP28,” said His Excellency Mohammed Al Hammadi, Assistant-Undersecretary of the Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change. “This collaboration propels us forward, united in our mission to safeguard Earth's delicate marine balance.”
Following the Summit’s key streams, Blue Economy, Blue Governance, and Blue Science, discussions and presentations throughout the day underscored the interconnectedness of critical industries such as maritime transport, ports, and fisheries with concerns related to livelihoods and environmental protection, while acknowledging the importance of robust governance and policy systems that provide the necessary framework for all ocean-related activities.
Elaborating on the wide range of socio-economic benefits that nature offers and emphasizing its crucial role in human wellbeing and climate-resilient economies, several panels and presentations touched upon the concept of nature-based solutions like carbon sinks and the important role our oceans play in absorbing and storing carbon dioxide.
We (in MENA) have the knowhow and the data that shows what kinds of species have adapted to these harsh climates, and this knowledge, research and best practices can be shared with others around the globe to combat climate change before we run out of time and resources.Tatiana Antonelli Abella, Co-Chair of MENA Oceans Summit and Founder of Goumbook
Tatiana Antonelli Abella, Co-Chair of MENA Oceans Summit and Founder of Goumbook, added to this, “Earth is a delicate balance of interconnected environments. So the sea, which covers 70 percent of its surface, plays an extraordinary role in sustaining all life. If we can’t sustain our seas, then they can’t sustain us. It’s time to redefine the relationship.”
Antonelli Abella added that “the key to ensure that we have a regional platform so that all the stakeholders in the MENA region can leverage for resources to adhere to roadmaps that have come out of the various COP meetings”. She continued, “As a region that is used to extreme temperatures and climates, we have the know-how and the data that shows what kinds of species have adapted to these harsh climates, and this knowledge, research and best practices can be shared with others around the globe to combat climate change before we run out of time and resources.”
She added that businesses can help by making changes in their own practices from something as small as the use of freshwater in their offices. According to industry sources, desalination costs not just money but also affects the ocean and its resources. Business like industries and cooling units can monitor the use of freshwater and look at resources like recycling waste water for industrial use.