Awareness. Inspiration. Action. Education.

The ocean is a biological and economic engine that fuels planet Earth. It provides half of the oxygen we breathe. It provides food and jobs for billions. It has yielded medicines to treat disease. It is essential to global transportation. And, the ocean is a key player in the battle against global warming.

Despite these many gifts, however, the ocean is in peril. Pollution, coral bleaching, overfishing, coastal development, and erosion are exacting a high price upon our most important resource.

At Rio+20, The Nippon Foundation made a commitment to open a global dialogue to support many communities and countries to improve ocean health. In pursuit of that goal, the Foundation now unites with the Government of Japan, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, to seek answers to these challenges. The result is the first-ever International Symposium on Capacity Building for Sustainable Oceans.

Open to the general public, the Symposium will explore innovative practices in building capacity to improve ocean health. We will profile practical examples of successful programs at the community level, as well as cross-boundary networks to discover what works, what doesn’t, and where there are opportunities to improve how we care for the ocean.

Specifically, we will explore those elements of each practice which are particularly effective at building capacity in relation to issues such as ocean education, fisheries, marine and coastal planning, climate change adaptation, and multi-stakeholder networks. We will also discuss the challenges to building and sustaining increased capacity.

Overall, a sustainable, “blue economy” is possible. It ensures jobs, food, tourism, energy and more for the world, while it protects and preserves ocean health for this and future generations.

It starts with awareness of the ocean’s essential services and contributions to life on Earth. It provides inspiration and action on the part of millions to care for and protect the ocean. It carries on through the education of diverse people around the world to protect the ocean and, in the process, to grow more connected to one another. This Symposium will bring together new partners across science, government, industry, academia, international organizations and civil society to focus on all aspects of what we need to succeed.