More than 30 Heads of State, UN representatives and ambassadors are to attend a special summit in Cork to highlight challenges small island nations face from climate change and to galvanise efforts to protect the world’s seas.
Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for the Oceans Peter Thomson and former US Secretary of State John Kerry are also among those participating at the Ocean Wealth Summit which will be held on June 9/10.
The summit, which is sponsored by PwC, takes place at Cork City Hall over the two days directly following Ireland’s national maritime festival, SeaFest.
Among the dignataries who will attend are Prime Minister of St Lucia, Allen Chastanet; Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi; Foreign Minister of the Maldives, Abdulla Shahid and the Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carmelo Abela.
They will be joined by political representatives from Grenada, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Trinidad & Tobago.
Marine Institute chief executive Peter Heffernan said the health of our oceans is critical to the health of our planet.
"Almost three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered by the oceans and it absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity," Mr Heffernan said.
Plastics in our oceans are affecting over 700 species from plankton to whales and climate change is impacting the world’s oceans in terms of acidity and global warming. We must act as a collective.
He added that tackling these global challenges will also present many opportunities for innovative developments in a circular blue economy.
Along with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Marine Institute is working with small island nations to prioritise our ocean health and that will be the focus of the summit.
Moderated by Tara Shine, a climate justice activist and advisor, the summit will feature an impressive line up of experts, leaders and speakers on sustainability for the oceans, which takes place on June 10.
Declan McDonald from PwC said the development of our ocean economy in a sustainable manner is a key theme that will be explored at the summit.
"Responsible investment aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is of increasing significance to the global investment community and will be an important enabler to continue developing our marine resources. We at PwC are delighted to be supporting such an important and international event," Mr McDonald said.
For further details about the Ocean Wealth Summit log onto www.ouroceanwealth.ie.