The Forum, which Her Highness the Princess Zahra Aga Khan has wanted for a long time, has among its members notable figures from Italian and international academic establishments, namely from distinguished universities and leading scientific organisations specialised in areas linked to the protection of the marine environment.
Promoted by businesses and private institutions, the Forum LABs had as their objective the setting out a “roadmap”, a plan in clear steps to reach the objectives of “marine preservation” and envisaging a debate between representatives of the promoting companies, university students (selected by SDA Bocconi), experts in their relative fields, scholars from all over the world and journalists.
The program was based on four primary themes, representing the areas of most urgency and significance connected with the current state of the oceans:
- Marine Litter & Pollution, namely the enormous quantities of waste present in all the oceans of the planet, capable of causing extreme and lasting damage to the food chain and the marine ecosystem (marine pollution is leading to the extinction of 1,300 species)
- Climate and Global Changes, responsible for the acidification of the waters and its consequential effects on the well-being and conservation of oceanic habitats
- the implementation of Blue Technologies as opportunities for the development of the maritime economy, using innovation and research as the basis for new production and commercial policies.
- Ocean Literacy, namely the dissemination of a culture that leads to understanding the influence the ocean has on our lives and the influence our choices and behavior have on the ocean.
Two further LABs were dedicated to the Charta Smeralda, a document aimed at promoting awareness of the principal aspects of environmental issues connected with the sea and at defining areas of real, tangible and immediate intervention. Designed as just a first step for the organisations promoting and supporting activity connected with the sea, such as yacht clubs, tourist ports, landing places and marinas, the Charta Smeralda is promoted, disseminated and shared in range and content by all manner of institutions and organisations, be they public, private, national, international or supranational. It does de facto stimulate all recipients to adopt an awareness of the most pressing issues and to intervene with solutions that are not only congruent but also immediate.
All the issues examined by the Forum were clear and engaging in an edutainment form. The agenda alternated between scientific papers given by prominent figures from the Italian and international academic communities, to first-hand accounts from well-known personalities connected to the sea by passion or profession.
Adopting the motto “partnership is the new leadership”, ONE OCEAN Forum beared witness to how the moral authority of all the players in the initiative was been crucial in bringing to fruition a program which, far from just ending with the closure of the first event, would stimulate lasting change and show real value over time.