The Ocean Foundation takes on marine debris and ocean acidification during State Department “Our Ocean” Conference

WASHINGTON, Jun. 17 /CSRwire/ – This week, Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting the “Our Ocean” Conference at the U.S. Department of State, a convening of more than 300 international participants, government officials, scientists and institutions. The conference agenda focuses on concrete actions to help protect the ocean. The Ocean Foundation is participating in the conference in two capacities, contributing to solutions for marine debris and ocean acidification.

Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation, and Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability at JetBlue, will be speaking during the Power of the Marketplace in Promoting Ocean Stewardship session. Through a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment, JetBlue and The Ocean Foundation have partnered to determine the economic value of clean beaches. Together we are finding the way to align interests and craft a new and unique economic business case driver to stop the mountain of trash that find its way into the ocean and onto the beaches.

Spalding an ocean conservationist for more than 25 years stated, “80% of all tourism takes place in coastal areas, particularly on beaches and reefs. And, we assume travel and tourism companies profit more in locations where the beaches are clean and beautiful. What we are doing is turning this assumption into evidence specific enough to matter in financial filings to justify long-term protection of natural and community resources.”

During the conference, Mark will also be announcing the formation of the Friends of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, an affinity fund for the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), which needs financial and other support to achieve its goals. The Ocean Foundation was selected by the stakeholders as an international, neutral, independent host for this fund, one who can make grants anywhere in the world and act in a nimble and expert fashion.

“When I am asked the best way to take forward GOA-ON, my response would be through a partnership of intergovernmental bodies, national funders, the research community and the private sector – linked by organizations such as the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre and The Ocean Foundation,” said Phillip Williamson, co-chair of GOA-ON (Science Coordinator: UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia).

The vision for the Network is to knit together national and international observing efforts into a global picture that will inform decision-makers about the changing chemistry of ocean waters—changes that are already affecting the health of plant and animal species. As such, various nations and institutions have deployed their financial and equipment resources to use existing observation platforms in the ocean or to add new platforms.

Friends of GOA-ON will support the Network directly and indirectly with grants and services. Friends of GOA-ON will provide financial resources to help deploy scientific ocean observing systems throughout the world, especially in regions of high vulnerability to ocean acidification. Additionally, it will provide financial and in-kind support to train scientists from around the world, especially those in countries and in areas that lack observation coverage.

Friends of GOA-ON will also facilitate new partnerships with industry, such as promoting a ships-of-opportunity program, supporting international workshops on adaptation for affected industries, and incentivizing the development of inexpensive, rapidly deployable monitoring systems that could be used by the Network.

The marine science and conservation communities have identified major threats to humankind and our ocean, key elements of responding to the threats, gaps in that response, and mechanisms to address the gaps and make the response more robust. The “Our Ocean” conference highlights the need for global cooperation and action to combat major threats to the ocean and find to solutions.

About The Ocean Foundation
The Ocean Foundation is a unique community foundation with a mission to support, strengthen and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. We work with a community of donors who care about the coasts and ocean. In this manner, we grow the financial resources available to support marine conservation in order to promote healthy ocean ecosystems and benefit the human communities that depend on them.

CSR Wire, 17 June 2014. Press release.

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