by Manon Dene, RISE UP coordinator for France
In anticipation of the One Ocean Summit organized by the French government, the RISE UP network initiated an open letter urging France to demonstrate leadership to increase the level of ambition needed to restore ocean health through the High Seas Treaty. The open letter to president Emmanuel Macron, which gathered 28 signatories including renowned NGOs like Greenpeace France, IFAW France, Fondation Tara, BLOOM, One Voice or France Nature Environnement, was published on Ouest France on February 8th. RISEUP shared a media toolkit with all the signatories for them to easily communicate about the open letter’s publication through their social media platforms.
On February, 9th, RISE UP organized a rally of support in the surroundings of the One Ocean Summit to call on EU leaders, and the French government in particular, to adopt an ambitious high seas treaty on behalf of the EU. Early in the morning, while participants were on their way to get their accreditations to enter the One Ocean Summit, thirty-fivecitizens and local activists from different horizons reunited rue du Siam in Brest with placards, banners and handmade flags asking for “A strong High Seas Treaty Now”. Local journalists quickly arrived to cover the rally, took photos and asked questions to the RISE UP’s coordinator who organized the rally. Despite the windy and cold weather, the atmosphere was light and cheerful among the rally participants who expressed high expectations for this One Ocean Summit and hoped for concrete, bold commitments to be taken at the end of the high-level segment chaired by president Macron himself on February, 11th.
Right when the rally ended around 9:30am, the One Ocean Summit’s opening ceremony made its debut, and the forum on ocean governance opened the way to a series of forums and workshops tackling different issues on the ocean’s protection. The ocean governance forum aimed to revive the ambition of a concerted governance of the high seas, and of cooperation in favor of a sustainable stewardship of marine spaces and maritime activities.
On 11th February, the final day of the One Ocean Summit, European and world leaders met to discuss commitments to protect the planet’s oceans from threats such as overfishing and plastic pollution. On that occasion, RISE UP members joined the rally organized by Greenpeace France alerting on the French president’s reluctancy to commit to concrete action to protect the oceans.
By hosting the One Ocean Summit and launching a high-ambition coalition for international waters, France is signaling its political leadership on ocean protection. But for the activists present at the rally:
Words aren’t enough. Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders need to show real ambition to protect the oceans ahead of crucial negotiations at the UN towards a Global Ocean Treaty next month.
You can help efforts to secure a robust High Seas Treaty by adding your name to the petition here and sharing it with your friends and contacts.