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Ocean Sustainability is Hot Topic at Rio+20

On June 20th the health and use of the world’s oceans takes center stage at Rio +20, the sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro. The garden of the city’s modern art museum (MAM) is where the Blue Pavilion has been erected in order to house a line-up of events that will unfold during the day. The program will kick off with a press conference about the film Planet Ocean, followed by discussions on global governance of the oceans, protection of marine areas and climate change.

Another topic in discussion is the so-called “blue economy”, which puts the focus on the value of the environmental services delivered by the oceans. This includes a proposal to introduce mechanisms of assessment of the ecosystem services given by the world’s seas and related compensation for them in order to enable the financing of protected sea areas and the recovery of coral reefs.

The campaign includes print media and three mini-films of 15 seconds each plus another one-minute promo which will be screened on open access TV, websites and at the Blue Pavilion, alongside the short films Plankton Chronicles and an animation by the High Seas Alliance.

The date represents the culmination of the Rio+20’s Oceans Campaign, which was launched on the 5th of June with a picture by the renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado and the slogan “Rio+20 – Our future depends on Planet Ocean.” The campaign is supported by Tara Expeditions and international organizations such as Conservation International, High Seas Alliance, Mission Blue, Pew Environment Group and the Prince Albert II Foundation.

“A new Treaty for High Seas protection will be a game changer for the future of our ocean and the millions dependent on it for their survival. Rio+20 is the moment to finally create effective protection for the high seas and stop its uncontrolled destruction,” members of the High Seas Alliance and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition said in a statement.

The oceans play a crucial role in the balancing of the planet’s climate. They have absorbed a third of all the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, a fact that has prevented more extreme warming hitherto. However, a rise in seawater acidity can lead to unpredictable and disastrous consequences for life. This is one of many alarming yet fascinating facts about the oceans which are laid out in this page.

Article by Antonio Pasolini of Justmeans, appearing courtesy 3BL Media.