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The ocean sustains all life on the planet. Mankind depends on a healthy ocean. These are the first two principles contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Oceans presented last week by the delegation of the Municipality of Genoa alongside The Ocean race at the UN headquarters in New York, in the context of the initiatives linked to the UN General Assembly week. The presentation took place in front of about 400 people, heads of state, ministers, ambassadors, opinion makers and representatives of indigenous communities committed to environmental protection. The presentation was followed by further networking, a social event and the technical workshop with insights from industry experts. The results of the mission to the UN and the contents of the Charter of Ocean Rights, already dubbed the Genoa Charter, were the focus of this morning’s presentation at the Genoa Boat Show in the presence of Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci, Deputy Mayor Pietro Piciocchi, Ceo of The Ocean Race Richard Brisius, the Honourable Susy De Martini, Genoa Ambassador to the World and Senior Consultant for International Relations, with a video contribution by biologist Antonio Di Natale.

“We have done an extraordinary job leading up to the big day in New York,” said Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci, “It was a source of great pride for us to be the venue for the meetings that led to the definition of the Oceans Charter. The document we presented in New York contains a great deal of our dear Genoa, our love for the sea and our connection with the blue planet: a fundamental resource for life, sustainable growth, which we have the right and the duty to protect as an integral part of our existence’.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Oceans – the result of a five-year-long work, which started in Genoa in 2018, and which involved more than 150 experts and institutions from 35 countries, through the Ocean Summits and Innovation Workshops – is a key text for discussions and decisions related to the recognition of the inherent rights of the Ocean within the United Nations and other international forums. It also serves as a stepping stone towards a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights (UDOR). 

The long-term goal is the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights by the United Nations by 2030. The short-term ambition is to serve as a basis to advocate for the inclusion of ocean rights in the 2023 UN omnibus resolution on ‘Oceans and Law’, based on a profound respect for the ocean’s inherent right to health and restoration and recognises the ocean’s fundamental role in sustaining all life on the planet.   

The Charter of Rights was developed based on the input of over 150 high-level international experts who met in a series of eight innovation workshops in the ‘Genoa Process’ from March 2022. It outlines the principles behind the ocean rights framework and aims to establish a solid basis for continued dialogue at international level.