Best Oceans Policies Awarded at UN Biodiversity Summit
Hyderabad, 17 October 2012: In a well-orchestrated ceremony the Future Policy Award 2012 for best policies to protect oceans and coasts was bestowed on the Republic of Palau, the Philippines and Namibia on Tuesday night. In the Hyderabad International Convention Center, Palau was honoured with the Gold Award in recognition of two outstanding marine policies, the Protected Areas Network Act, initiated in 2003, and the Shark Haven Act from 2009. The two Silver Awards were given to the Philippines for its Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act from 2010 and to Namibia for its Marine Resources Act from 2000. The ceremony was convened by the World Future Council, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with support from the Okeanos Foundation.
In his welcome speech Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, stressed the importance of oceans and coasts for the well being of future generations. Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council Foundation, called on the guests of the ceremony to spread exemplary policy solutions: “With our Future Policy Award we champion policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations. I call on you to go out and spread the word that good solutions for the challenges of our time exist.” In his laudatory speech about the two outstanding policies from Palau von Uexkull said: “The Republic of Palau is working for the protection of its oceans and coasts and contributes to ensuring that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the many benefits the world’s oceans provide.” He stressed that the effect of the Shark Haven Act has been powerful and that other countries including Honduras, the Maldives and the Bahamas have since enacted similar laws and banned shark fishing in their national waters. “Palau continues with its ambition to be a leader in shark conservation, by pushing for international regulation banning shark finning and trade of shark products.”
Other high-profile speakers at the event included Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General, IUCN and Peter E. Kenmore, FAO Representative in India.
The Gold Award was handed to Go4BioDiv Youth Messenger Heather Ketebengang from the Palau Conservation Society by Jan McAlpine, member of the World Future Council and Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests. Ketebengang thanked the World Future Council on behalf of the government of Palau. She stressed: “Conserving and protecting our marine and coastal biodiversity is important for sustaining our livelihoods in Palau and globally. It is we youth who will live with the consequences of today’s actions and inactions, and it is good policy that will help create our future.”
The Silver Award for the Namibian policy was handed to the Honorable Kilus Nguvauva, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, by Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Director of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law and member of the World Future Council. In his acceptance speech Nguvauval stressed: “It gives me great pleasure to stand before you today to receive the Future Policy Award 2012 on behalf of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and indeed the entire Namibia. My presence here is a testimony to over twenty years of Namibia’s efforts to rebuild the stocks of its marine resources and manage the fisheries on a sustainable basis as envisaged in the cardinal law of the land, in Article 95(I) of the Namibian Constitution.“
Theresa Mundita S. Lim, Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines, was presented with the Silver Award for the Philippines by Vithal Rajan, Indian writer and member of the World Future Council. On behalf of the Philippine Government Lim said: “The Philippine Government conveys its appreciation to the World Future Council for recognising the efforts in the implementation of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act. The award is symbolic of the Philippines’ commitment to attain the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. We wish to share the award with the international community as a call for the continuation of achievements that shape policies towards the future we want.”