Australia co-champions action on coral reefs for Commonwealth Blue Charter

‘Champion’ countries of the Commonwealth Blue Charter are laying the groundwork for joint action and robust, innovative strategies to tackle the world’s most pressing ocean issues.

Australia is one of 12 countries which has stepped forward to lead nine ‘action groups’ under the Blue Charter – a commitment made by the 53 Commonwealth member states to work together to solve ocean-related problems.

As co-champion for coral reef protection and restoration, along with Mauritius and Belize, Australian officials joined a four-day programme in London, which concluded June 21 2019.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “We are determined for our collective engagement on the Commonwealth Blue Charter to focus on practical action, and for our response to be guided principally by those who experience most acutely the difficulty and trauma of ocean and climate-related challenges. They will be further supported by the acuity and knowledge of all the partners we can find, with the emphasis always on action.”

Assistant Secretary at Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Julia Feeney added: “It has been very useful to hear the lessons learned from other action groups and also share some of Australia’s immense experience with coral reefs. There are a lot of synergies and interlinkages across the groups so it’s very important to share that knowledge and build collaboration.”

The action group on coral reef protection and restoration is set to meet in Townsville, Australia next month on 9-11 July 2019.

Other action groups include: Aquaculture (led by Cyprus), Ocean Observations (Canada), Ocean Acidification (New Zealand), Mangrove Restoration (Sri Lanka), Marine Plastic Pollution (United Kingdom, Vanuatu), Marine Protected Areas (Seychelles), Blue Economy (Kenya), and Ocean and Climate Change (Fiji).

From 18 to 21 June 2019, delegates focused on strategies to rally members, mobilise resources for collaborative projects and boost public awareness.

A special networking day co-organised with Bloomberg Philanthropies homed in on intensifying partnerships, linking up countries with more than 50 potential partners from the private sector, academia, civil society, philanthropies and the international development community.

Finally, delegates were hosted by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss priorities leading up to the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda in June 2020.

Commonwealth Head of Oceans and Natural Resources, Nicholas Hardman-Mountford said: “The Commonwealth Blue Charter fills the gap between high level global commitments and concrete cooperation on the ground, where member countries can help, inspire, motivate, and learn from each other, in order to achieve our shared ocean goals. The All Champions meeting this week (June 21 2019) has set a roadmap to the future and we are excited to deliver on it.”

Source: The Commonwealth