The World Economic Forum’s 2022 China Ocean Action Roundtable was held in Beijing on the afternoon of September 28, 2022. Ms. Chen Danhong, Director General of the Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Natural Resources, P.R. China; Mr. Chen Liming, Chair of Greater China and Member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum (WEF); Mr. Pan Xinchun, Vice President and Secretary-General of China Oceanic Development Foundation (CODF); Mr. Su Jilan, Professor of Oceanography and Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences; Ms. Rebecca Ivey, Head of Platforms and Impact of Greater China of WEF, attended the roundtable and delivered a speech at the opening ceremony.
The picture shows Pan Xinchun, Vice President and Secretary General of CODF, delivering a speech at the opening ceremony
President Chen Liming, on behalf of the organizers of the conference--WEF, extended his welcome to all the participants. He said that WEF is a neutral, impartial and trustworthy international organization dedicated to promoting the cooperation and innovation between the public and private sectors to shape a shared future for China and the world. Through different programs and initiatives, such as Friends of Ocean Action, WEF is engaging global business, political, advocacy and prominent leaders to work together to find the critical balance between development and conservation, and promote sustainable marine development. He said that today's roundtable focused on how the private sector can participate in the ocean action through different ways, including Blue Finance, ESG, Blue Carbon, Blue Food and Ocean Innovation, etc., and discuss the key cooperation areas proposed in the Blue Partnership Principles and business cooperation cases worth of learning. He hoped that all the participants can freely express their opinions and give suggestions for sustainable ocean development.
In her opening speech, Ms. Chen Danhong said 71% of the Earth is the ocean. While we enjoy the important resources and development space provided by the ocean for mankind, more importantly, we should jointly confront serious challenges such as the degradation of marine ecosystems, loss of biodiversity and frequent marine disasters exacerbated by climate change and human activities. Therefore, maintaining the healthy and sustainable development of the ocean is an important issue that people of all countries should work together to address. As the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development points out, “Unprecedented interdependence and connectivity in today's world can only be achieved by emphasizing global partnership and the Sustainable Development Goals”, this is highly compatible with the Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping. The Global Development Initiative, which is closely tied to the central task of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, strengthens global partnerships for development, promotes policy dialogue, experience sharing, capacity building and practical cooperation, and will add new vitality to the pursuit of stronger, green and healthy global development.
She stressed that the Ministry of Natural Resources actively implements the relevant goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially the implementation of Goal 14, and focuses on promoting the systematic understanding of the relationship between humans and the ocean, planning guidance and institutional guarantee, exploring the ecosystem-based governance models and practice paths, and providing public services and products for sustainable marine development. She said China is willing to build a close partnership with other countries and promote cooperation and joint action. On the basis of the above concepts and practices, the Ministry of Natural Resources actively advocates the Blue Partnership Principles, promotes the establishment of an open, inclusive, concrete, practical and mutually beneficial blue partnership, and carries out actions to protect and sustainably use the ocean and marine resources through flexible and diversified cooperation models.
She pointed out that projects such as the Sustainable Blue Partnership Network, which is being jointly promoted by WEF and CODF, are important platforms for building Blue partnerships. We expect that Blue Partnership Principles can become a common understanding among all stakeholders for marine cooperation and participation in global ocean governance, look forward to more partners contributing knowledge, technology and resources, participate in the construction of global blue partnership cooperation network through various channels and collaborative approaches, and support the implementation of related projects in order to jointly cope with global challenges and promote sustainable ocean development.
Pan Xinchun firstly thanked WEF for its invitation and congratulated on the smooth opening of this meeting. He said the ocean is our common home and an important guarantee for the survival and sustainable development of mankind. However, marine litter, overfishing and acidification are threatening the health of the oceans and the sustainable development of mankind. The Chinese government has attached great importance to marine ecological protection, development and utilization, formulated and implemented the Integrated Reform Plan for Promoting Ecological Progress, including promoting sustainable ocean development, and made great achievements. To support sustainable ocean development, under the leadership of the Ministry of Natural Resources, CODF has launched ten major actions in accordance with the Integrated Reform Plan for Promoting Ecological Progress, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the specific requirements of the Ministry of Natural Resources for promoting sustainable ocean development. He outlined the ten major actions in turn.
One is the Action for Blue Economy along the Maritime Silk Road. The action aims to help countries along the Maritime Silk Road develop their maritime economies in a sound and rapid manner. So far, CODF has signed cooperation agreements with ocean-related departments in 18 countries, entrusted the National Ocean Technology Center and 13 other members of Marine Spatial Planning Academy to carry out in-depth cooperation on marine spatial planning, blue economy and personnel training, trained more than 2,000 officials and technicians from 18 countries, and completed over 100 special reports. More than 90 scientific research institutions and more than 100 enterprises from China and 18 countries are participating in this action.
Two is the Action for Coastal Development Sustainability Report for Countries along the Maritime Silk Road. The action aims to promote sustainable development of coastal zones in the countries along the Maritime Silk Road. CODF, in cooperation with Xiamen University and other institutions, evaluated the coastal zones from 46 countries using 19 first-level and 34 second-level indicators, and obtained the coastal zone sustainable development capacity index for each country. At present, the 2021 Coastal Zone Development Sustainability Report Assessment alongfor Countries along the Maritime Silk Road has been released, and the 2022 Coastal Zone Development Sustainability Report Assessment alongfor Countries along the Maritime Silk Road is being prepared.
Three is the Action for OceanDecade. The action is designed to respond to the call of the United Nations and implement the unified plan of the Ministry of Natural Resources for the “Ocean Decade”. CODF, together with the First Institute of Oceanography of the Ministry of Natural Resources and UNESCO-IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC), jointly applied for the international cooperation project “Accelerate Marine Spatial Planning in the Western Pacific and its Adjacent Areas”, which was approved in April 2022. Its main mission is to promote ecosystem-based marine spatial planning in the Asia-Pacific region.
Four is the Action for Blue Partnership. The action aims to promote China's initiative to build blue partnerships with other countries in the maritime sector. In recent years, the focus of CODF has been to help China build blue partnerships with countries along the Maritime Silk Road and members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and strengthen cooperation in marine protection, blue economy, scientific research, disaster prevention and reduction, maritime rescue, and personnel training.
Five is the Action for the High-quality Development of the Marine Economy. The action aims to help China build a green, low-carbon and circular economic system. In cooperation with the EU “Blue Economy” Innovation Program Office, EU chambers of commerce, and Smadja & Smadja Strategy Consulting Company etc., CODF has connected over 100 large European enterprises with more than 40 prefectural-level cities in China’s coastal areas, negotiated investment and promoted the construction of modern marine industry system.
Six is the Action for International Marine Exchange and Dialogue. The action aims to explore new approaches to ocean governance and promote sustainable ocean development. CODF, together with more than 20 international organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme, UNESCO and the Pacific Islands Development Forum, jointly hold more than a dozen international events every year with the participation of hundreds of countries, building more wisdom, more consensus and more strength for the effective protection and governance of the oceans.
Seven is the Action for the Protection of Marine Ecological Environment. The action aims to mobilize public participation in public welfare activities to protect the ocean. CODF has held national Clean-ups for six consecutive years, and more than 500 activities such as clean-ups, seminars, exhibitions, performances and keynote speeches in over 40 cities and 120 counties along the coast. More than 1000 organizations have participated, and more than 40 marine public welfare organizations and over 100,000 volunteers have been fostered.
Eight is the Action for Marine Youth Talent. The action aims to cultivate young talents in the ocean. CODF has donated over 20 million yuan of ocean books to more than 50 primary and secondary schools across the country to build ocean libraries. Every year, more than 500,000 yuan of “Inspirational Deep Blue” scholarships are distributed, and hundreds of marine knowledge contests, popular science lectures and summer camps are held, benefiting more than 200,000 students. In addition, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, CODF holds a series of lectures on “Ocean-related Diplomatic Knowledge in colleges and universities” in dozens of universities every year.
Nine is the Action for Promoting the Maritime Humanistic Spirit. The action aims to mobilize the public to eulogize the marine achievements and spirit of the new era in various forms. CODF, China Ocean Press and Ocean University of China hold several marine culture competitions every year, and submit more than one million works. Every year, CODF cooperate with Tsinghua University and CYTS-linkage to carry out publicity reports on the achievements of Sino-foreign maritime cooperation (translated into 12 languages for broadcasting), which was watched and clicked by more than one million people abroad.
Ten is the Action for Research on Major Ocean-related Issues. The action aims to provide advice on ocean governance. CODF, Academy of Ocean of China and other organizations have carried out more than 30 studies on global ocean governance, Maritime Silk Road construction, marine carbon sinks, marine microplastics and blue economy, and many of the results have been adopted by the government.
Pan Xinchun said that CODF will actively implement the Declaration of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference “Our ocean, our future, our responsibility” and “Blue Partnership Principles” issued by the Chinese delegation, put the spirit into the action, and work with the Friends of Ocean Action of WEF to make the “Sustainable Blue Partnership Network” platform a success and serve well in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The roundtable has two topics: “Ocean Health, Blue Finance and ESG” and “Blue Carbon, Blue Food and Ocean Innovation”. Nearly 40 outstanding representatives from relevant UN organizations, governments, enterprises, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations held in-depth discussions on the theme. All agreed that it takes concerted efforts to promote sustainable marine development, and expressed the need to make a small contribution based on their own industries.