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The Ocean Race sails into Athens for the Our Ocean Conference

by The Ocean Race 15 Apr 15:47 BST
Relay4Nature arrives in Athens at the Our Ocean Conference. The UNSG's Special Envoy for Oceans, Peter Thomson, handed Nature's Baton to PM's Special Envoy for Oceans & Coordinator of `Our Ocean 2024` Conference, Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou © Austin Wong / The Ocean Race

UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean hands Nature's Baton to Greece's Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Oceans and Coordinator of the conference

The Ocean Race - the round the world race known as the toughest test of a team in sport and an ongoing platform for making a meaningful difference to ocean health - brought the spirit of ocean racing to the Our Ocean Conference 2024 starting tomorrow at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens, Greece.

Earlier today, "Ericsson 1" one of the 'legend' boats that competed in the 2005-06 edition of the Race, sailed into Marina Flisvos where "Nature's Baton" was handed over by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Oceans, Peter Thomson, to Greece's Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Oceans and Coordinator of the "Our Ocean 2024" Conference, Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou. Greek Olympic medallists Sofia Papadopoulou, Sofia Bekatorou, and Virginia Kravarioti also welcomed the boat at the dock.

The Baton handover is part of the Relay4Nature, an initiative created to help to give the ocean a voice on the critical issues affecting our planet at the landmark events where decisions are made about the environment.

"Carried across land and sea to Athens today, Nature's Baton brings to the Our Ocean Conference its message of connectivity. A universal commitment from around the world is required if we are going to succeed in reversing the decline in the ocean's health. No healthy planet without a healthy ocean!," said Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean.

Nature's Baton, carrying the message of the critical role the ocean plays in regulating climate change and the wider health of the planet, is being delivered to leaders of the Our Ocean Conference as a reminder of the connection between these key ocean events.

Greece's Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Oceans and Coordinator of the "Our Ocean 2024" Conference, Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, said: "It is crucial to have the global ocean community her with us. Passing the message of ocean protection through sports is key as the threat is out for everyone and sport has the power to convey the message to a key audience: the younger generations."

"One of the main objectives of the Our Ocean Conference 2024 and also next year's UN Ocean Conference in Nice is the ratification of the BBNJ treaty for the protection of underwater biodiversity in the High Seas. We also need to keep working to combat ocean plastic and microplastic pollution; make sure the blue economy sectors move towards a sustainable path; the shipping sector moves towards decarbonisation as fast as possible; and take care of the Mediterranean Sea, a very fragile ecosystem."

On 17 April, following the closing ceremony of the Our Ocean Conference, Nature's Baton will continue its journey to pass the message to the delegates of the UN Ocean Conference (UNOC 2025), which will be held in Nice, France in June 2025.

The Ocean Race team is present at the Conference, led by the Race Chairman, Richard Brisius, to continue its advocacy work towards a healthy ocean and to seek further ways to collaborate with the ocean community.

During the boat's stay in Greece - from April 14 to April17 - the 6-member crew will present the boat, her history and the educational program of "The Ocean Race" to Greek and international friends of the sea.

Partners of the event include MARINA FLISVOS, PEMA SHIPPING, EDIT AUTOMATION, SKIPPER ONDECK. The event was held under the auspice of the Hellenic Ministry of Shipping and Insular Policy.

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