Protecting the ocean is a global priority. The ocean represents over 90 per cent of the living space for species on the planet and a stable and healthy ocean is critical to billions of people around the world. It generates oxygen; provides food security, climate resilience and storm protection; preserves biodiversity and creates cultural and economic opportunities for humankind.
As we shift to a post-pandemic “new normal”, there is a great opportunity for peoples and cultures from around the world to embrace a collaborative approach to ocean conservation and sustainability—including Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, communities, leaders, and nations—to reshape our understanding of, and relationships with, nature.
We must re-think our policies, economies, priorities, and processes in ways that reflect the important role nature plays in our own health, equity, well-being and economic sustainability. Doing so will proactively contribute to a healthy blue planet for future generations. Growing back bluer—in a more equitable and just manner will define our collective future.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) and other designations, such as Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMS), Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs)—particularly those with effective management and high levels of protection—are some of the most effective tools for protecting and restoring ocean health. These designated areas create many ecological, social and economic benefits. Specifics of the designation, may include protecting and restoring biodiversity; building resilience to climate change threats; supporting the ecological sustainability of fisheries and increasing fish biomass; and boosting livelihood, security and local economies for coastal communities.
To date, 52 countries and territories have protected at least 10 per cent of their marine areas and it is estimated that 7.65 per cent of the ocean is covered by marine protected areas (World Database on Protected Areas).
IMPAC5 is an opportunity for the global community to come together to chart a course for achieving ocean conservation targets to protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s land and ocean by 2030. To chart this course, Canada, as the IMPAC5 host, is committed to working with other countries to build a fair, nature-positive and carbon-neutral future.
Achieving sustainable and resilient MPA networks depends on an overall commitment to protection, leadership, engagement from stakeholders, institutions, governments and organizations, Indigenous peoples, coastal communities, and individuals in an inclusive and equitable manner to advance ocean protection.
IMPAC5 will provide a forum for sharing knowledge, successes and best practices in an open and respectful environment for the exchanging of ideas among a diversity of views, expertise, opinions, backgrounds and lived experiences reflective of Congress participants. To guide discussions and further dialogue, all aspects of the congress will be informed by five themes and three cross-cutting streams.
- Building a global marine protected area network
- Advancing conservation in the blue economy
- Actively managing marine protected areas and human activity
- Conserving biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis
- Connecting ocean, culture and human well-being
- Indigenous Peoples Leadership
- The Voice of Young Professionals
- Innovation and Transformational Change