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On Monday, Oct. 21, in Marseille, organizers and major partners warned that protecting the oceans was a daunting yet vital task. They urged participants to tackle it head-on with new solutions.
Jean-Claude Gaudin, mayor of Marseille, stressed that protected areas are not necessarily forbidden sanctuaries: they usually allow for human activities such as fishing – and may even, in some cases, save them from collapse. He speaks from experience: Calanques National Park includes densely populated areas.
Pierre Ghionga, President of the Corsican Environmental Authority, showcased the island's experience in international conservation projects, making it an appropriate venue for the Ministerial Conference for Ocean Conservation that concludes the congress.
Jihyun Lee, Chief Environmental Officer for Marine and Coastal Biodiversity at the Convention on Biological Diversity, delivered a statement by Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias underlining the role of IMPAC3 in meeting the CBD's Aichi Target of protecting 10 percent of the oceans by 2020.
Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director General of IUCN, stressed that though the congress lasts only one week, participants must prepare for an intense 7 years leading up to 2020 to catch up with the 10 percent target – currently only approximately 3 percent of the world's seas are protected. This meeting should be seen as a starting point to build lasting networks.
Paul Giacobbi, president of the French MPA Agency, quoted a line penned by French poet Paul Valéry just after WW1: "We now know that our civilizations are mortal", adding "In this day and age, we know that the ocean, too, is mortal. We must fight to keep it alive."