Ocean Conference Produces Broad Policy Recommendations
True to our name, we are always looking for ways to build alliances that lead to thoughtful and effective long-term conservation strategies. We were particularly pleased to participate in a recent conference that exemplified that approach, held last month in Washington, D.C., by the National Council for Science and the Environment.
Our Changing Oceans, the 11th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment, brought together a broad range of participants to share current science and find ways to link science to policy, communicate key messages, and establish long-term collaborations. CORAL's Rick MacPherson joined more than 1,000 scientists, conservation professionals, policy makers, academics, and interested citizens who attended the conference, and had the chance to work with a diverse group of colleagues during smaller breakout sessions.
One of the conference's most important outcomes came from these breakout sessions, which provided a venue for developing recommendations that would help inform an emerging U.S. National Ocean Policy. Over the course of an afternoon, groups led by experts in the field created sets of actionable recommendations addressing twenty-four different topics. Subjects included the impacts of increased carbon dioxide levels on the ocean, connections between the ocean and human health, and strategies for managing changing ocean and coastal conditions.
The resulting recommendations will be passed on to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and ultimately the Obama Administration through the National Ocean Council, which was created as part of the first-ever comprehensive, integrated U.S. national policy on oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes. (Learn more about the National Ocean Policy ») Although the recommendations are aligned with this new official policy, enacting and funding them will present a significant challenge given the inclinations of the recently-elected Congress. Regardless of government action, though, the process of creating these recommendations was a very valuable opportunity for the conservation community to clarify its goals and collaborate on unified strategies.