Almost 80 international personalities convened to discuss the development and the management of Marine Protected Areas. Among those present were Mrs Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transports and Housing, Mr José Maria Figueres, former President of Costa Rica, Mrs Jacqueline Mc Glade, Executive Director of the European Environmental Agency (EEA), Mrs Sylvia Earle, Founder of the Mission Blue Foundation, National Geographic and Mr Pierre-Yves Cousteau, President of Cousteau Divers.
The creation of Marine Protected Areas is an effective tool to encourage sustainable protection, to enable the restoration and an economically viable use of this natural heritage. Marine areas should not be considered as closed natural areas, but as experiments promoting the sustainable management of oceans and coastal areas.
You will find below the speech delivered by H.S.H. the Prince during the closing of the work session of MBI.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would firstly like to thank you for the quality of your work, your openness and your involvement throughout our debates.
This exciting morning has proved that the subject of marine protected areas is extremely productive. It provides essential strategies for the broader issues of biodiversity protection, preservation of marine areas and, more importantly, man's harmonious coexistence with his natural environment.
As we conclude this morning's work and I propose to adopt the executive summary, it is on this point that I would like to pause: to establish effective and lasting biodiversity management systems, we must, first and foremost, widen our field of vision.
This has been the message expressed by many of you in your discussions.
Widening our field of vision means for example, incorporating marine protected areas into a more general management of marine zones, which considers all the services provided by these ecosystems and their benefit for the mankind.
Widening our field of vision also means, considering new evaluation criteria of the oceans management, beyond scientific parameters, by involving all the sectors concerned.
This also means, therefore, identifying and including the many partners directly or indirectly affected by our approach. These partners, I remind you, must never be the victims of conservation or management measures but conversely, be the first to benefit from them.
Finally, widening our field of vision means strengthening dialogue between the decision makers, organisations and populations in question.
I believe that this morning is a good example of this trend, through the quality and openness of your efforts.
I think that the message that summarises it here is pretty much in that spirit.
I therefore invite you to come and sign it and I thank you once again for your commitment in this work that I know to be vital.
I also hope that you will join me next year so we can assess the impact of our discussions together and continue our combined efforts for the marine world.