Session 5.3

The Ocean and COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 raised many questions about our relationships with nature and biodiversity, including our seas and oceans. Marine ecosystems provide essential services, giving us seafood and half of the oxygen we breathe, trapping our greenhouse gases, and providing a beautiful seascape for our recreation. But these precious habitats are suffering from decades of ill-treatment and neglect. Today, however, seas and ocean are increasingly viewed as part of the solution to our woes, a source of untapped bio-medical opportunities, and home to a blue economic sectors that can help support the economic recovery.

This session will see a panel of speakers reflect on links between the ocean and COVID-19, how the pandemic influenced human uses of the sea and what can we learn from it. The panellists will share their knowledge about marine life and the key human pressures it is facing. They will also reflect on how good management of the marine environment can bring our seas to cleaner, healthier and more productive state. Looking at the positive side of things, the COVID-19 pandemic strengthens the importance of preserving marine ecosystems and biodiversity.

Speakers:

Vera Coelho, Senior Director, Advocacy in Europe, Oceana

Brian O'Riordan, Executive Secretary, LIFE Platform