Ocean Literacy in Practice: participation in the Bizerte Forum and in the Let’s Make the Mediterranean Blue events

The end of September coincides with a bevy of ocean literacy events given the prominence that this thematic has recently gained on the international agenda. Ocean literacy is defined by UNESCO/IOC as “an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean” and it revolves around seven cardinal concepts.

In particular, Ocean Ambassador Prof. Alan Deidun, resident academic within the Department of Geosciences of the Faculty of Science, recently participated within the Bizerte Forum de la mer.

Wedged in the autumn 2021 agenda between the Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – the IUCN (Marseille, France), COP 15 of the CBD (Convention for Biological Diversity – (Kunming, China) and COP 26 of the UNFCCC (Glasgow, Scotland), this fourth edition of the Forum Mondial de la Mer (Bizerte, Tunisia) was entirely devoted to “The Mediterranean of projects” as well as to the European Union’s commitment to the oceans (Starfish Mission).

It was also be an opportunity to announce the Mediterranean Parliament of the Sea, bringing together elected representatives from the different countries of the Mediterranean coast. Prof. Deidun contributed remotely to this high-level programme as a member of the Starfish Mission launched earlier this week by the European Commission, with the noble and ambitious aim of restoring healthy seas and inland waters by 2030. The Forum was also attended by Prince Albert II of Monaco, EU Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius, French Ocean Ambassador Olivier d’Arvour Poitre and Starfish Mission Chair Pascal Lamy, and was followed online by an estimated 10,000 registered participants. Further information about the Forum can be gleaned through online

The Malta National Aquarium hosted the kick-off of the three-day ‘Let’s Make the Mediterranean Blue’ event organised by the EU4Ocean Coalition to commemorate this year’s Mediterranean Coast Day. Besides Prof. Deidun, also present for the launch were former EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia, Christos Economou, Deputy Director Maritime Policy and Blue Economy, DG MARE and Tatjana Hema, UNEP/MAP MEDPOL Programme Officer. The EU4Ocean Coalition is supported by the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, with the Malta event featuring underwater clean-ups, policy fora, seminars for educators and even photography competitions. The event was filmed by a crew from EuroNews and will be featured in a future edition of ‘Ocean’ on the same news portal.

The event was accompanied by parallel events in Tunisia and in Venice. Prof. Deidun has previously organised, under the patronage of the Office of HE The President of Malta and with the support of the International Ocean Institute (IOI) and the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), a national ocean literacy activity with schoolchildren at the Malta National Aquarium on an annual basis since 2014, so as to commemorate World Ocean Day (8 June).

Source: University of Malta

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