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« Our Ocean »: the BNP Paribas Foundation works to ensure a future for our oceans.



On the 5th and 6th of October 2017, the European Union hosted the 4th edition of the “Our Ocean” conference in Malta, gathering together leaders, entrepreneurs, associations and scientists to discuss about the future of oceans. On this occasion, the BNP Paribas Foundation presented the research projectsthat it finances on two ecosystems threatened by climate change: coral reefs and polar ecosystems.

This big conference was also the opportunity to raise awareness on the threats that the oceans are now facing. In total, more than 6 billion euros have been engaged by the participating organizations and many countries announced the creation of marine areas protected on their territories

Here is an overview of some of the issues raised during the conference, as well as notable commitments. 

Fight against pollution

According to a study published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundationthere will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Thus, it is important to take action now and fast. This issue was at the heart of the conference during these two days. 

A great number of countries are now committed to take measures in order to limit pollution of plasticsthat can be found everywhere in oceans and fishes often think of them as food. The Sky company announced that it would remove all single-use plastic products from its operations and supply chains, a great challenge that should inspire others to do the same.

Promoting sustainable fishing

We estimate that today, as much as 90% of the world’s fisheries may be over-exploited and one fish out of five is sourced from illegal fishing. While most of the participants agreed on the need to reinforce international legislation on fishing, the issue of monitoring control and surveillance in fishing areas has not yet been answered. 

On this subject, Niue Island sets a good example by announcing the creation of a marine protected area representing 40% of its territorial waters: a real record!

At an individual level, for example, it is possible to take action by making sure that the fishes we consume are sourced by local and sustainable fishing. Consuming varied species also encourage fishermen to use diversified fishing techniques and to avoid complete extinction of a species.

Reducing the impacts of climate change

The ocean plays an incredible role as a global warming regulator. On one hand, it absorbs nearly 25% of all human-produced carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, it also stores the extra generated heat, to its detriment. Thus, water becomes more acid and its temperature rises, generating heavy consequences on marine ecosystems. 

On this particular point, the European Union committed to create innovation centers to promote the creation of more sustainable means of marine transport. For its part, the BNP Paribas Foundationpresented two projects of environmental impact study related to climate change and the services provided by coral reefs (fishing, tourism, coastal protection) and the polar ecosystem

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