Land-Oceans Conference Sets Priorities For Conserving Coastal Areas
Our one and only story today comes out of Manila, Philippines where the Global Conference on Land-Ocean Connections took place last week and was co-organized by the Philippines and UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme.The purpose of the four day event was to discuss policies and actions to improve the sustainable management of ocean and coastal areas. The conference brought together environment ministers, marine scientists, NGOs, and representatives from financial institutions.
The topics focused on reducing and controlling wastewater, marine litter, and pollution from fertilizers. The Manila Declaration contains a total of 16 provisions focusing on actions to take between 2012 and 2016.
Normally I don’t take these declarations seriously because all of these international agreements mean nothing unless each country that signs the agreement takes specific actions to achieve the agreement’s goal. Look at the Kyoto protocol that many countries have not followed for whatever reason and of course, Canada promised to have a nation-wide network of Marine Protected Areas by 2012, which won’t happen for another 20 years if we are lucky, especially at the slow pace MPAs are being declared.
BUT, at this latest conference, talks of changing the way we do business started to happen at an international level. Using the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle), nations were discussing actions to use the 3 R’s in wastewater management and renewable energy.
The conference also looked past the debate on climate change and looked to take actions for coastal communities to adapt to climate change impacts such as sea level rise, reducing coastal vulnerability to increased storm surges, reducing human influenced ocean acidification.
Further, the conference looked at discussing ways to do business where bottom line was not only about maximizing financial profits but creating environmental and social benefits.
The conference is not the only place discussing this topic, Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Inc billionaire and author of the book Screw Business as Usual discusses a shift in the classic profit only business model to a more environment, social, and financial profit business model where environmental and social change are included in the bottom line.
What is your take on shifting businesses to a more sustainable model?