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The Prince of Wales addresses Our Ocean Conference about climate change and marine pollution

5th October 2017

The Prince of Wales today announced the launch of a new Blue Economy Initiative during his keynote speech at the Our Ocean Conference in Malta.

The initiative, a collaboration between The Prince's International Sustainability Unit (ISU) and the World Resources Institute (WRI), aims to build ocean resilience and encourage ocean related investments and policies to support sustainable development.

In doing so, the Blue Economy Initiative will aim to create a balanced relationship between the ocean and those who benefit from its resources. It will also endeavour to reverse the cycle of decline and pollution which has affected the oceans for too long.

As part of the initiative the ISU has already been working with The European Commission and World Wildlife Fund, of which His Royal Highness is President, to develop financing principles for the Blue Economy, including a working group comprised of banks, insurance companies and NGOs which will be launched next year.

During his keynote speech The Prince of Wales said: "Yet while we should be relieved that the health of the Ocean is now understood, alongside rainforests, to be one of the essential prerequisites for our physical and economic survival, and I'm afraid I really do wonder if the Ocean’s fragility is yet truly grasped and how susceptible it is to the impacts of our economic activities?"

In addition to his keynote speech, The Prince of Wales and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco convened two high-level meetings examining the future of the sustainable Blue Economy and the action required to address the current plight of the world's coral reefs.

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The Prince of Wales delivers a speech at the Our Ocean Conference in Malta

New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize

The Our Oceans conference also saw the announcement of the first round of winners of the $2M New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize, launched earlier in the year by The Prince of Wales and Dame Ellen MacArthur. The aim of the prize is to create new ways to stem the tide of plastic entering the ocean.

The leading ideas included approaches which, when combined, could have significant potential to increase recycling rates and reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.

Circular Design Challenge winners (sharing $1M prize fund)

Six companies from the initiative commit to using 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025

Addressing the issue of plastic in the ocean during the keynote address The Prince of Wales said: "As many of you know so well, the eight million tonnes of plastic that enter the sea every year - through our own doing I might add - is now almost ubiquitous.  As the Prime Minister (of Malta) said, for all the plastic that we have produced since the 1950's that has ended up in the ocean is still with us in one form or another, so that wherever you swim there are particles of plastic near you and we are very close to reaching the point when whatever wild-caught fish you eat will contain plastic. Plastic is indeed now on the menu!"

A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales for the Our Ocean Conference, Malta

Published on 5th October 2017

Prime Minister, Your Serene Highness, Commissioner Vella, Commissioner Mogherini, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I was enormously touched and flattered to have been asked by Commissioner Vella and the Prime Minister to be with you here today at the 2017 Our Ocean Summit and finally able to speak to you in person instead of via the rather disembodied medium of a video message!  In fact I've come to the conclusion  that I'm much more affective as a video message, but unfortunately you've ended up with me in person! So many of you, I know, have contributed so much to the task of sustaining the ocean, upon which all of life on Earth depends, that I would like to start by acknowledging and thanking you for all that you do.

I would also like to offer particular thanks and appreciation to John Kerry for his leadership in establishing this forum and also to Commissioner Karmenu Vella and the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, for bringing this much-needed conversation to this part of the world.

Needless to say, it is a great joy to be back in Malta again so soon after being here during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting two years ago.  I share with my parents a deep affection for Malta and its people, together with countless happy memories of times spent here as a child, as an under-graduate from Cambridge and while in the Royal Navy.

Now I know, ladies and gentlemen, that many of you, like me, have been involved with some of the matters being considered at this summit for more years than I suspect you would care to remem ...

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