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Charting a Blue Revolution: Dubai Hosts International Ocean Conference for the MENA Region

Tuesday 11 June 2024 - 08:20
Charting a Blue Revolution: Dubai Hosts International Ocean Conference for the MENA Region

In a pivotal gathering aimed at safeguarding the vast marine ecosystems of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Dubai hosted an international ocean conference on Monday. This landmark event brought together a diverse array of experts from the maritime world, fostering a collective vision for a sustainable blue economy and robust maritime governance across the region.

As the conference unfolded, four central themes emerged: the blue economy, maritime governance, marine sciences, and maritime cooperation. These pillars served as guiding beacons, illuminating the intricate challenges and opportunities in preserving the health and vitality of the region's oceans.

Razan Al Mubarak, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and High-Level Climate Champion for the United Nations at COP28, underscored the conference's significance. She stated, "This conclave aims to bolster environmental commitments and acknowledge the ocean's paramount role in the cultural and economic fabric of the MENA region."

The gathering's ambitions extended far beyond mere discourse, aspiring to redefine the global approach to ocean health. Participants sought to promote cross-border cooperation and foster the exchange of knowledge, paving the way for collaboration and shared expertise among countries, industries, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations within the MENA region.

According to the organizers, this conference marks the inception of the "MENA Oceans" network, harnessing the momentum generated by COP28 in 2023. The overarching goal is to heighten awareness of the region's unique marine environments and the specific challenges they face while simultaneously nurturing partnerships that catalyze synergies, innovative solutions, and positive change.

As the conference progressed, a tapestry of perspectives emerged, each thread woven by experts from diverse backgrounds, united in their commitment to safeguarding the vast marine riches that span the MENA region. From the bustling ports of the Arabian Gulf to the coral-fringed coasts of the Red Sea, the conference underscored the vital role of oceans in sustaining the region's economic and cultural fabric.

Discussions delved into the intricate dynamics of the blue economy, exploring avenues for sustainable resource management, responsible maritime trade, and the development of marine-based industries that harmonize with environmental preservation. Maritime governance took center stage, addressing the need for robust legal frameworks, international cooperation, and effective enforcement mechanisms to combat illegal fishing, marine pollution, and the exploitation of marine resources.

Recognizing the pivotal role of scientific research, the conference highlighted the latest advancements in marine sciences, fostering dialogues on ecosystem monitoring, biodiversity conservation, and the impacts of climate change on the region's delicate marine habitats. Collaborative efforts were championed, emphasizing the need for knowledge-sharing and capacity-building initiatives to empower local communities and inspire the next generation of marine stewards.

As the conference drew to a close, a resounding call to action echoed throughout the halls, urging nations, industries, and stakeholders to join forces in nurturing a sustainable blue economy and fortifying maritime governance in the MENA region. The Dubai gathering served as a catalyst, igniting a wave of commitment and collaboration that promises to resonate across the region's diverse coastal landscapes for years to come.

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