Today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz, headed the launch of the Our Ocean 2015 Conference, to be held in the Region of Valparaiso on October 5 and 6. The event will be attended by more than 400 political, academic and civil society figures committed to protecting the ocean, including the Secretary of State of the United States of America, John Kerry, and Prince Albert of Monaco.
Foreign Minister Muñoz explained that the main objective of the Conference is to promote voluntary governmental and institutional commitments to care for the ocean. "We don't want empty speeches. We want voluntary commitments to concretely protect biodiversity," emphasized the Foreign Minister.
The goal is to find solutions to deal with illegal fishing, marine plastic pollution, ocean acidification and its relation to climate change. Moreover, the Conference seeks to encourage the creation of marine protected areas as a tool to protect the marine ecosystem. "This is a huge opportunity for Chile to make visible the efforts we have made, and to contribute to this global task of protecting our ocean," said the Secretary of State.
In addition to the main conference which is to be held at the Sheraton Miramar Hotel in Viña del Mar, parallel events will be held in Congress and at the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María.
During the launch, the website for Our Ocean 2015 (http://www.nuestrooceano2015.gob.cl) was presented, a site that contains the main issues to be discussed at the event in addition to material on care of the ocean. The site focuses on socializing the community with the Conference through interaction with different social networks.
On the occasion, the Foreign Minister also announced the Chilean personalities who have agreed to be Goodwill Ambassadors of the Conference in order to help spread news of the event and to promote the importance of protecting the ocean. They include actress Leonor Varela; Rapa Nui pianist Mahani Teave; songwriter Manuel García; actor Francisco Reyes; surfers Ramon Reyes and Jessica Navarro; former soccer player Elias Figueroa; television host Leo Caprile; writer and songwriter Patricio Manns; soprano Maureen Marambio; and Rapa Nui musician Enrique Ika.
Today's activity was held at the Valparaiso Cultural Park and was also attended by high-level local authorities, including Intendant of Valparaiso, Ricardo Bravo; Mayor of Viña del Mar, Virginia Reginato; Mayor of Valparaiso, Jorge Castro; Senate President, Patricio Walker; President Chamber of Deputies, Marco Antonio Núñez; President of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate, Francisco Chahuán; Deputy member of the commission, Carlos Abel Jarpa; and Senators Alfonso de Urresti, Guido Girardi and Ricardo Lagos Weber.
About Our Ocean
The concept of the Our Ocean Conference stems from an initiative of the Secretary of State of the U.S., John Kerry. In June of last year in Washington, D.C., he organized the first version of this high-level event which brought together politicians, scientists, world leaders, entrepreneurs, environmentalists and philanthropists from over 90 countries, all of whom pledged to strengthen marine protection and conservation.
At that time, Chile committed to adhere to the UN Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish 1995; to create and implement a new Policy to Combat Illegal Fishing; and finally, to organize the second version of Our Ocean.
The first conference was a grand success, giving impetus to partnerships and initiatives valued at more than US$ 800 million for the conservation of the ocean and for new commitments to protect the more than 3 million square kilometers of ocean. In the event this October in Valparaiso, the commitments made in Washington will be revisited, and new and important announcements will be made.