On the penultimate day of IMPAC5, attendees were prompted to contemplate the impact of the Congress and ways to preserve its discourse for continued progress towards Ocean preservation and fair conservation efforts in the future. Sean Russell, IMPAC5 Young Professionals Committee, welcomed participants, introducing the day’s theme: Connections between Ocean, culture, and human-wellbeing.
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Stressing that “the Ocean is not a barrier, it connects us, it is our home,” Hinano Teavai-Murphy, Tetiaroa Society, spoke about the importance of protecting the Ocean from harm for the sake of future generations.
Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, stressed that the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted in 2022 “is the most important universal agreement we have.” He also underlined that there cannot be a healthy planet without a healthy Ocean, while noting the Ocean´s health is in decline.
Aminath Shauna, Minister of Environment Climate Change and Technology, Maldives, described her country as a big Ocean state, instead of a small island country. She reflected on the fact that the 110 islands, scattered across 19 atolls in the Indian Ocean, exist because of coral reefs, which provide protection, food, and sustenance. Corals and people in the Maldives live in a symbiotic relationship, which also makes them fragile: if the corals die, the Maldives will as well.
In a session on recovery efforts for Southern Resident killer whales in coastal British Colombia, SUMÉ,t David Dick, W̱sáneć Leadership Council, told of Tahlequah, a killer whale who carried her stillborn calf for 17 days, telling us that she did this to remind us of the harm we are bringing on the Ocean. Among other highlights:
- Members of the Hawaiian and Rapa Nui community announced a sisterhood agreement between Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the Rapa Nui marine protected area;
- Coastal First Nations and Canada announced progress to protect a large unique marine area off the Pacific West Coast; and
- Young congress presenters discussed how to support youth impact after the Congress at the #NatureforAll Fireside Chat.