EU-U.S. Conference Series: "Sustainable Oceans: Reconciling Economic Use and Protection"

Following on from the Dräger Foundation's XVII Malente Symposium in 2008 entitled "More than Water - Oceans and Global Responsibility", the Foundation decided to launch other conferences devoted to the subject of our vulnerable oceans. In cooperation with the Cluster of Excellence 'The Future Ocean', Kiel, and The Earth Institute of Columbia University, New York, and other supporting partners, this EU-U.S. conference series took off in 2011 with the 1st conference in Hamburg exploring "The Use of the Ocean's Energy Resources, Risk Management, and the Need for Regulation". One of the key questions was how the oceans can be researched and their resources utilized for economic growth, while at the same time protected from the consequences of unfettered exploitation.


The 2nd conference will pursue and intensify the debate from the 1st conference on the value of the oceans' ecosystems and biodiversity. While the 1st conference in Hamburg, Germany, focused on economic gains as well as ecological damage from the exploitation of the oceans' energy resources, the 2nd conference taking place in New York City in 2012 will focus on economic gains from fishing and shipping against the backdrop of ecological damage from overfishing, noise, pollution, and acidification.


The 3rd conference, to be held in Lisbon in 2013, aims at developing, fostering and strengthening international cooperation towards good governance and sound maritime policies for sustainable marine development. How can we regulate the use of the oceans' resources and strike a balance between governance and regulatory overkill? An important question will deal with financing the protection of the seas. Will a transaction tax for the oceans be achievable?


All three conferences aim at bringing together international experts and stakeholders from politics, business, science, NGOs and international maritime organizations to discuss these challenges in a comprehensive way and to identify practical solutions to facilitate future sustainable development.


One of the key objectives of this conference series is to help establish the European Ocean Commission of the European Commission and to link it with the U.S. Ocean Commission. We want to help initiate a joint EU-U.S. white paper on the state of the oceans and coasts for politics as well as business and finally encourage an "Ocean Blueprint" for good governance for the 21st century which is meant to propose a remedial action plan towards sustainable oceans to our governments.