November 06, 2019
Female leaders establish ocean conservation network “Leading Women for the Ocean”
First gathering sees launch of a global education program for youth leaders On November 6, a group of influential female leaders came together in Yokohama, Japan, on the topic of protecting the marine environment, to see the official launch of the “Leading Women for the” Ocean ”network.

Founded by the First Lady of Japan, Mrs. Akie Abe and Ms. Maria Damanaki, Global Managing Director for the Ocean at The Nature Conservancy, the network aims to connect high level influential female leaders, enabling collaboration to undertake bold action and improve ocean health.

To open the forum, Mrs. Abe addressed the room as follows:

“Women must lead the important work around ocean conservation. After the Great East Japan Earthquake when the high seawall was built on the coast, I became more interested in understanding whether it has any effects on the marine environment when I was on the ground.

Compared From this day on, I would like everyone to come together and join forces as women, to think about the global environment. I ask you to lend your powers. ”

Ms. Damanaki continued: “Forty percent of the world's people live in coastal areas, and the sea is important to us. As Mrs. Abe said, women are rich in sensibilities. I see this as a place to showcase a new leadership model. The time to take action is now. ”

Sessions of the forum were divided into three themes: “Fisheries”, “Plastics” and “Leading Women for the Ocean”. Women at the forefront of each area took part in a panel discussion. Ms. Debbie Remengesau, the First Lady of the Republic of Palau, shared her thoughts on the future.

“Palau has traditionally been protecting the sea, and I believe that that our success can lead to success around the world, too. An activity in a small island country is important. We should be aware that every single action we take will affect the world, and I would like this opportunity to encourage more people to think about the marine environment. ”

The latter part of the forum saw the announcement to launch a global education program, led by a youth group. Mr. Toshio Kawasaki from the Yokohama International School said that he took interest in environmental issues after scuba diving in the Philippines. As a result, I found that ordinary people can contribute toward environmental pollution. Even if we make a small positive contribution, it can make a big difference if many people act. ”

To close the day, Ms. Damanaki shared the networks' commitment: “Further forums will be held in Tokyo and elsewhere. I hope that more women and men become interested. For next time, we need results. We will take the results to our next forum. ”

Over the next year, Leading Women of the Ocean will hold forums in Tokyo and Monaco in March, Portugal in June and Palau in August, to create concrete results to address the core ocean pollution problems that we are currently facing globally.

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