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Youth movement to join global ocean experts at key Italian conference

by The Ocean Race 17 Sep 17:28 BST
Porto Antico di Genova © The Ocean Race

At the start of the global week of climate action, members of Fridays For Future are taking part in The Ocean Race Summit in Genoa.

They will share the stage with politicians, professional sailors, business leaders and a host of experts examining the vital role business has to play in stemming the flow of plastic into our seas.

This is the first in an international series of events, organised by the prestigious round-the-world sailing race, dubbed 'sport's toughest test of a team'.

Speakers at the event in the Porto Antico area of this historic maritime city include Marco Bucci, Mayor of Genoa; Giulio Bonazzi, Chairman and CEO of Aquafil; Olympic Sailor Francesca Clapcich; two-time Ocean Race co-skipper Mark Towill; and Anne-Cécile Turner, Sustainability Director, The Ocean Race.

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will give a video address and the conference is also being broadcast to a global audience through an interactive live stream service.

Francesca Ghio, Genovese leader of Fridays For Future will deliver the closing address whilst other members of the movement will be participating in the Centro Congressi event on the 20 September.

This comes as people around the world are set to take to the streets during a global week of action to demand ambitious commitments on climate action. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate and the health of our seas is also set to be published in the coming days.

Francesca Ghio said: "The Ocean Race Summit represents a community of people who can make a difference and in turn inspire other communities. We cannot wait anymore so we are tackling the issue by asking politicians and other leaders to adopt solutions.

"Working together it will be easier and there will be more possibilities to cooperate and create a network to deal with the issues and find solutions."

The summits build upon the award-winning series from the last edition of the race and form a key element of the 'Racing with Purpose' Programme, in collaboration with Premier Partner 11th Hour Racing and the support of Official Partner Bluewater. The programme includes a roadmap to inspire action and create tangible outcomes that have a positive impact on the marine environment.

Anne-Cécile Turner said: "Alongside renowned influencers and leaders in their field, we felt it was vital to provide a platform for future leaders at this crucial moment, as we continue our important mission to act as a catalyst to drive forward ocean health restoration."

Italian sailor Francesca Clapcich added: "Being part of the Ocean Summit is an amazing opportunity to better understand what we can do to make our oceans cleaner and safer. Companies, political influences, and academics will bring new ideas to avoid the use of plastic at such a pivotal moment in time."

Mark Towill, who recently announced his involvement with the 11th Hour Racing Team as it sets its sights on the next edition of The Ocean Race in 2021-22, will share his first-hand experience on the effect plastic pollution is having on our seas.

Other speakers include renowned sustainability expert Dr. Wayne Visser; Anders Jacobson, Co-founder & CEO of the impact-led investment company Blue; and Angela Wiebeck, Head of the UBS in Society Program Office. All are expected to offer their expert insights into how wide-ranging collaboration is vitally important to address the challenge of restoring ocean health.

"Whether they are Millennials, Generation Y or Generation Z, young people today are the driving force who will shape the future of the planet by adopting shared solutions such as the simple trend towards refillable bottles that can halt the tsunami of single-use plastic bottles filling our oceans with microplastics that threaten human health," said Anders Jacobson of Blue.

To complement The Ocean Race Summits, an Innovation Workshop concept has been introduced as part of the programme of events. These seminars challenge industry leaders and experts to find new ways of working on a range of issues that link their value chain with ocean pollution. The topics to be examined in Genoa are 'Sustainable Fashion & Textile' and 'Sustainable Boat Building'.

Five of The Ocean Race Summits will take place before the next edition of The Ocean Race sets off from Alicante, Spain, in autumn 2021, with at least five more scheduled during the race period.

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