Mundus maris newsletter: April 2021
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Dear <<First Name>>,

If the number of webinars on various global crises are anything to go by, the world is waking up to the need for more than cosmetic changes after covid. But let’s not trick ourselves, most investments potentially burdening future generations with large public debts are in no way climate proofing our course. Military expenditures are going up, while girls’ education is loosing ground in the pandemic. The European Agricultural policy will still pump out massive subsidies to agro-industrial interest groups which contribute to emissions, coal-fired plants are still being constructed and big energy companies take countries opting out of fossils to intransparent parallel courts under the Energy Charter Treaty. These protracted and very expensive ‘trials’ are for lost future profits from fossils, not compensation for actual investment. That puts the breaks on urgent transitions to renewables and makes it hugely more expensive to leave fossils behind. As if this were not enough, the so-called zombie clause of the Treaty allows companies to sue countries even 20 years after leaving. Italy is finding out that this is not only theoretically possible but being practiced two years after getting out.

Most countries also lack clear contingency planning for the increasing number of extreme events and knock-on effects, particularly on vulnerable people, groups and entire countries. Yet, we ought to expect these as a result of drought, flooding, wild fires or more frequent and intense tropical storms unless disaster planning and preparedness are in place. In a recent comment in Nature, the authors argue that costs of not doing so may be 10 times higher than those of preparedness plans.

Still, something is clearly moving and more people from all walks of life are testing alternatives to what brought us into the current crisis. And that’s the point. We have the technologies and knowledge in most areas. But the change will be brought by the people, who experience the joy and empowerment of cooperation, of mutual respect, of friendship, of innovating together. It’s you and you and us all who go about our business and deal with one another in collaborative and mutually supportive ways, saying yes to one another in exploring alternative courses of action. Imagine, what we can achieve together, just doing it, like supporting an underwater sculpture park to protect coastal fish habitats in Tuscany and a new lease of live for artisanal fishers – Casa dei pesci. That’s just one practical example. There is the small-scale fisheries academy in Senegal empowering women and men along the artisanal value chains against rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

There are lots of opportunities to come out and engage: 5 May is World Environment Day, 5 June is the International Day to fight IUU fishing. 8 June is World Ocean Day, when we and our partners and many others will organise events for ocean literacy and protection – and we’ll announce the winners of Mundus maris Awards 2021 – submissions are still coming in. More is being planned.

Join us making waves for a healthy ocean, productive ecosystems and thriving maritime cultures. Support our work - by donating time, resources, or money.

Mundus maris asbl, Belfius Bank, Rue de Linthout 224, 1040 Brussels, Belgium IBAN: BE54 0688 9178 6297 BIC: GKCCBEBB

Contact us any time at

Cornelia E. Nauen and the entire Mundus maris team

Support our work with a donation

Activities around the world

Silvia Salas speaks at V2V Webinar about Latin American small-scale fisheries

V2V, of which Mundus maris is a partner, regularly holds webinars to discuss fisheries. In the April edition, Dr. Silvia Salas of CIVESTAV in Mérida, Mexico talked about the principles extracted from empirical research to facilitate the transition of small-scale fisheries from vulnerability to viability. Silvia recalled some of the basic principles we need to keep in mind for a better understanding of their current challenges and how to address them adequately. An awareness of the inherent uncertainties helps critical interrogation and risk-minimising strategies.

Find out more

The Fisheries Transparency Initiative FiTI explained, 14 April 2021

The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) is a global multi-stakeholder partnership that seeks to increase transparency and participation for more sustainability in marine fisheries. It provides governments, stakeholders in the fishing industry and civil society with an international framework for quality information. It promotes informed public debate about sector policies. A webinar on 14 April 2021 served to introduce a wider public to developments in the fight against corruption so far and announce the forthcoming national reports of the Seychelles and Mauritania.

Learn more about FiTI

EGU General Assembly 2021, again in virtual space

This year's General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) took again place in the virtual EGU Sphere. Fired up by broad debates in almost all countries about how to start on new, more sustainable footings post-covid there was a notable increase in submissions seeking a stronger explicit connection between asking questions in society and doing research and education in the geosciences. So, the session "Geoethics: Geosciences serving Society" of the International Association for the Promotion of Geoethics (IAPG) was the ideal home of the contribution of Mundus maris.

Find out more

The international jury for Mundus maris Awards 2021

This year's UN motto for World Ocean Day "The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods" is particularly well-chosen as it reminds us that our lives and livelihoods are inextricably connected to the ocean. Human extractions and destruction of nature on land and in the seas are identified by many scientists and ordinary citizens as one of the major reasons why we are afflicted by more viral diseases. The pandemic affects vulnerable people more strongly than others and warrants broad international cooperation. The interesting submissions focus on how to put things right again.

Meet the Jury
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