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Based on the current rate of MPA creation, a full century would be needed to reach international ocean-conservation commitments. Achieving it in merely seven years requires decisive international action and the support of all coastal and marine stakeholders.
The year 2012 saw a strong international mobilization for the oceans. The United Nations "Rio +20" Conference underlined how important conservation and the sustainable use of marine resources are to human development. In October 2012 in Hyderabad, India, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) reaffirmed global political commitments to marine, coastal and island biodiversity.
France now wishes to continue and lend new impetus to this global mobilization, so that the target might be met of conserving 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020 through a coherent and well managed MPA network, as set by the Parties to the CBD (Aichi Biodiversity Target 11).
The Ajaccio Conference constitutes a key step in preparing the forthcoming political agenda, which notably includes the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, and the 12th Conference of the Parties to the CBD, to be held in 2014.
The programme will address three key strategic areas, as follows.
Each strategic area will be presented by a small panel of experts, drawn from government, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, followed by a ministerial discussion.
A permanent background goal will be to look at cultural issues and to identify means to develop an ocean culture. On 27 October, Ministers and other participants are invited to visit Corsica’s natural and cultural heritage.