From 9-11 in Brest, France, world leaders, governments, and civil society gathered in Brest, France at the One Ocean Summit, under the leadership of French President Emmanuel Macron, coinciding with the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, to raise the collective level of ambition on ocean issues, along with concrete commitments and calls to action. In the opening workshop of the Summit, High Seas Alliance Director, Peggy Kalas, moderated a high level panel on ocean governance that was co-chaired by Ambassador Rena Lee, President of the BBNJ Conference, included views on how to improve global ocean governance gaps as well as a call to action for conclusion of a robust BBNJ agreement in 2022 by Ambassador Waldemar Coutts, Director of Environment and Oceans for Chile. Other speakers included Secretary-General Henry Puna from the Pacific Island Forum, Ambassador Walton Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, Secretary-General Michael Lodge of the International Seabed Authority, Professor Dire Tladi from University of Pretoria, Francoise Gaill, CNRS and Ocean-climate Platform, Eudes Riblier, President of Institut Francais de la Mer, and closing remarks from Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, and US Asst. Secretary of State, Monica Medina.
On March 11, during the high level segment of the Summit, President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen announced the launching of a High Ambition Coalition on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) that was joined by over 40 Heads of State (including all EU Member States), to achieve an ambitious outcome of the BBNJ negotiations in 2022.
Meanwhile, in the center of Brest, activists from Greenpeace France delivered a strong message calling for world leaders to deliver on their promises and turn words into action to protect the ocean. The world will be watching as governments gather at the UN to negotiate treaty text in the fourth intergovernmental conference taking place at UN headquarters from 7-18 March.