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Ajaccio Ministerial Conference for Ocean Conservation

Sanguinaires Islands, Corsica © Sébastien Aude / Balloïde Photos

Sanguinaires Islands, Corsica © Sébastien Aude / Balloïde Photos

Governements and major international institutioons will meet in Ajaccio, Corsica, on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26 and 27, immediately after the week in Marseille that lies at the technical core of the Congress.

They will consider policy initiatives necessary to bring Aichi Target 11 within reach in 2020.

Three roundtables will bring together the most prominent organizations involved in ocean conservation, around governments represented at ministerial level.

The special status of the Ministerial Conference, apart from the rest of the Congress, is highlighted by its neighboring yet distinct location, in Corsica. It will be followed there by the MPA Agency Partnership Summit, on Oct. 28 and 29.

The Conference is open on invitation only.

For further information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You may also download the brochure:

Ajaccio Ministerial
Conference (pdf)

Statement of Purpose

Based on the current rate of MPA creation, a full century would be needed to reach international ocean-conservation commitments. Achieving it in merely seven years requires decisive international action and the support of all coastal and marine stakeholders.

corse reserve lavezzi olivier bonnenfant oec 800x237Pertusato lighthouse, Bonifacio, Corsica. © Olivier Bonnenfant / Office de l'environnement de la Corse

The year 2012 saw a strong international mobilization for the oceans. The United Nations "Rio +20" Conference underlined how important conservation and the sustainable use of marine resources are to human development. In October 2012 in Hyderabad, India, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) reaffirmed global political commitments to marine, coastal and island biodiversity.

France now wishes to continue and lend new impetus to this global mobilization, so that the target might be met of conserving 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020 through a coherent and well managed MPA network, as set by the Parties to the CBD (Aichi Biodiversity Target 11).

The Ajaccio Conference constitutes a key step in preparing the forthcoming political agenda, which notably includes the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, and the 12th Conference of the Parties to the CBD, to be held in 2014.

The programme will address three key strategic areas, as follows.

  • Protection: MPAs delivering benefits for humans and marine life. Justifying the urgent need for MPAs and elaborating on the main principles to create and manage them in a wise way for a wide range of benefits.
  • Conservation at scale: promoting the regional scale as the appropriate framework for effective action.
  • Aichi 11 in the high seas: enhancing the achievement of the MPAs objective through international initiatives.

Each strategic area will be presented by a small panel of experts, drawn from government, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, followed by a ministerial discussion.

A permanent background goal will be to look at cultural issues and to identify means to develop an ocean culture. On 27 October, Ministers and other participants are invited to visit Corsica’s natural and cultural heritage.


The Ajaccio Ministerial Conference for Ocean Conservation is held under the high patronage of Mr. François Hollande, President of France, and at the invitation of Mr. Philippe Martin, France’s Minister in charge of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

Representatives of 130 countries have been invited to meet at the Ajaccio Convention Center together with prominent international organizations such as

  • the Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS)
  • the World Bank and its Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO)
  • the Global Environment Facility (GEF), with support from the French Development Agency (AFD)
  • the Unesco Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
  • the Global Ocean Forum (GOF)
  • the World Ocean Council (WOC)
  • IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA)
  • the Global Ocean Commission (GOC)

Also in attendance will be the standard bearers and signatories of the Paris Appeal for the High Seas, as well as other nongovernmental organizations at the forefront of the international drive for ocean conservation.


Calanche di Piana, CorsicaCalanche di Piana, Corsica. © Boris Daniel / AAMP

The Conference will conclude with the adoption of the Ajaccio Declaration and statements and commitments by participants, associated with cultural interludes (short film screenings, testimonies, awards…). A Cultural Address will also be delivered, summarizing culturally relevant points discussed during the day and reminding us all of the importance of building an ocean culture.

A press conference will follow.

The Ministerial Conference will also clear the way for the 2nd Summit of the MPA Agency Partnership, on Oct. 28 and 29. It provides an informal forum where the directors of national agencies exchange and cooperate for the implementation and financing of marine protected areas. At this point, the Partnership includes 16 countries. Its membership is expected to double at the summit in Corsica.

Provisional Program

26 October 2013 - Ajaccio Convention Center

08:30  Opening session

  • Mr Paul Giacobbi, President of the Corsica Territorial Authority and Chair of the Board of the French Marine Protection Agency (opening and welcome)
  • Ms Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General, IUCN (conclusions from Marseille)
  • Mr Jean-Michel Cousteau, Chair, Green Cross France and Territories
  • Ms Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment and Forests, India (Chair of the Convention on biological diversity)
  • Mr Philippe Martin, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, France (building the global MPA networks together)

9:00-10:10  Ocean Protection: MPAs delivering benefits for humans and marine life               

  • Co-Chair: Mr Pierre Hélé, Minister of Environment, nature protection and sustainable development, Cameroon
  • Co-Chair: Mr Juergen Voegele, Director, Agriculture and Rural Development Department, Sustainable Development, World Bank
  • Co-Chair: Mr Erdogan Bayraktar, Minister of Environment & Urban Planning, Turkey (to be confirmed)
  • Rapporteur from congress:Dan Laffoley, IUCN-WCPA

30’ Panel discussion

  • Mr Victor Manuel Borges, Minister of Fisheries, Mozambique
  • Mr Paul Holtus, World Ocean Council
  • Mr Jim Leape, Director General, WWF International
  • Ms Anne Paugam, Director General, French Development Agency
  • HRH Prince Kahled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, President, Living oceans foundation
  • Mr Mihael Zmajlović, Minister of Environmental and Nature Protection,Croatia (to be confirmed)

40’ Ministerial and Heads of International Institutions discussion

10:10-11:20  Ocean conservation at scale: promoting the regional scale as the appropriate framework for effective action

  • Co-Chair: Mr Rolph Payet, Minister of Environment and Energy, Seychelles
  • Co-Chair: Ms Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF
  • Co-Chair : Mr Andrea Orlando, Minister of the Environment, Territory Protection and the Sea, Italy (to be confirmed)
  • Rapporteur from Congress: Christophe Lefebvre, French Marine Protected Areas Agency

30’ Panel discussion

  • Ms Katarina Poskiparta, State Secretary to the Minister of Environment, Finland
  • Mr Ibrahima Boiro, Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests, Guinea
  • Ms Therezya Hovisa, Minister of Environment, Tanzania
  • Mr Abou Bamba, Abidjan Convention
  • Ms Maria Luisa Silva, Executive Secretary, Barcelona Convention
  • Mr Tuilomi Neroni Slade, Ocean Commissioner, Pacific Islands Forum (to be confirmed)
  • Mr Nelson Andrade, Coordinator, PNUE CAR/RCU

40’ Ministerial and Heads of International Institutions discussion

11:20-11:50  Coffee break

11:50-13:00  Aichi 11 in the high seas, enhancing the achievement of the MPAs objective through international initiatives

  • Co-Chair: Mr Philippe Martin, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, France
  • Co-Chair:  Mr Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment, Australia (to be confirmed)
  • Co-Chair:  Ms Cristina Narbona, Global Ocean Commission
  • Rapporteur: Mr François Simard, IUCN

30’ Panel discussion

  • Mr Luc Oyoubi, Minister of economy, employment and sustainable development, Gabon
  • Ms Sandra Bessudo, councillor to the Colombian Presidency
  • Ms Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, DOALOS
  • Ms Liesbeth Lijnzaad, BBNJ UN working group (to be confirmed)
  • Mr Russel Mittermeier, President, Conservation International (to be confirmed)
  • Mr Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister, France

40’ Ministerial Discussion

13:00-14:15   Official Lunch

14:30-16:00  Closing Ceremony

  • Mr Braulio Ferreira de Sauza Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, on Aichi Target 11 and how will we reach it
  • Ajaccio Ministerial Declaration on Working Together to Build the Global Marine Protected Areas Network
  • Statements and commitments by participants
  • Cultural interludes
  • Final ceremony : toward IMPAC4

16:00-17:00 Press Conference

19:00-22:30 Cocktail dinner at the Convention Center, introduced by traditional Corsican songs



 27 October 2013, 09:00-16:30 - Field Visits

Boat tour of Scandola-Girolata-Calanques de Piana Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site

  • 09:00          Boarding in Ajaccio harbor
  • 11:00          Arrival in the Reserve. Onboard lunch, before returning to Ajaccio
  • 16:15          Arrival in Ajaccio harbor
  • 16:30          Tour ends and transfer to airport if needed

Should the sea prove inclement, a substitute program will be offered.

Bus tour to the Sanguinaires Islands and visits in Ajaccio.


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