Life Below Water 2017
The Life Below Water 2017 Conference was held in Malmö 11-13th October bringing together 250 delegates from four continents to inspire, learn, debate and drive action at a local level for the marine environment.
The conference, opened by Mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, featured inspiring keynote addresses from NGOs, cities, academia and business as well as Sweden’s Minister for the Environment, Karolina Skog. Crown Princess Victoria also participated in the conference before inaugurating the new Marine Education Centre at the beach in Malmö. Technical visits at sea and on land inspired dialogue seminars on diverse topics such as Sustainable Marine Food, Sustainable Vessels and Ports and Plastic Pollution in the Ocean.
At The Ocean Conference at the United Nations in June 2017, organisations across the globe made commitments to take action for the ocean environment as one of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals. The City of Malmö and ICLEI, together committed to use the Life Below Water conference in Malmö as a starting point for a mobilisation of action at a local level led by local governments. We see this as the start of a series of activites to promote, learn and follow-up on local action for SDG 14 and Life Below Water.
At a local level, cities can take action to stop the pollution of the ocean, to protect the coastline and watercourses and work with local communities and businesses for the sustainable management of the local seas and waterways. It is not just coastal communities that are stakeholders in this work, but all local governments can contribute to a positive impact on the marine environment.
Life Below Water 2017 is a first important step in this global initiative for the Oceans, empowering local governments to engage with their communities and stakeholders to drive the Ocean agenda and deliver lasting changes at a local level for the benefit of not only their own communities and businesses, but communities and businesses across the globe.
The conference highlighted the complexity and interrelated thematic challenges linking our activities on land to a range of threats to the ocean environment. The links with work in cities for circular resource management, sustainable food systems, waste management, climate mitigation and adaptation were just some of the most obvious connections. The conference focussed heavily on the opportunities presented for economic development through improved management and use of our ocean resource, creating local jobs and making local economies work for marine protection.
Malmö and ICLEI will together take the findings of the Life Below Water Conference to the United Nations UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn in November 2017 where Ocean Day takes place to highlight the strong interlinkages between climate change and the marine environment. ICLEI and Malmö will participate in Ocean Day and take the findings of Life Below Water forward. In addition, ICLEI and the Global Island Partnership will launch a global island / city initiative for climate which also includes marine related protection, mitigation and adaptation measures. A roadmap for incorporating work for SDG 14 Life Below Water, will be developed in the run-up to the ICLEI World Congress in Montreal 2018.
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