Aniol Esteban, Director of the Marilles Foundation

Aniol Esteban, Director of the Marilles Foundation. Archive photo.

28-03-2019DANIEL ESPINOSA

A marine forum of reference.

On September 27, the first Marine Forum of Ibiza and Formentera took place. International experts and local actors discussed marine conservation and contributed ideas for potential implemention in Ibiza and Formentera. More specifically, the forum focused on three objectives: to raise the ambition of marine protected areas; to contribute to the effective implementation of the Balearic waste law to reduce the use of single-use plastics; and to end spills of dirty waters into the sea.

The Marine Forum of Ibiza and Formentera intends to become an annual reference event in marine conservation; a platform where ideas and projects for the conservation of the marine environment are generated and promoted. In its first edition, it has achieved one of its main objectives: to create a debate between all sectors of society and propose solutions to reverse the serious situation facing the marine environment.

Rising the ambition of Marine Protected Areas
The marine protected areas panel was moderated by Aniol Esteban, Marilles Foundation director and counted with the participation of Pierre Yves Cousteau and Miquel Sunyer a long-distance swimmer. This session emphasized a key message: MPAs are a critical tool that is delivering good results in the Balearic Islands but with lots of margin for improvement. Miquel Sunyer inspired the public with his project Vías Bravas - marine itineraries for swimming and snorkeling - a proposal that captured the attention and interest of both the public and political representatives; and Pierre-Yves Cousteau shared his vast experience in conservation across the Mediterranean.

Different islands, same challenges
The waters surrounding Ibiza and Formentera hide a great diversity of habitats and species, gorgonian forests, posidonia meadows and rare corals, but this richness is under strong pressure. The same happens in Mallorca and Minorca. Marilles Foundation supported the forum because we share its constructive, positive and inclusive character; and also, because it promotes collaboration between the public sector, private sector and civil society without which it will not be possible to make the Balearic Sea a world-leading conservation reference.

For a day the Marine Forum has been the ideal scenario to explore new ideas, review ongoing projects and propose solutions to the challenges facing the Balearic Sea. But the important work is in the other 364 days of the year. The Marine Protected Area LABs led by Marilles, the Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera, and the Water Alliance are existing platforms throughout which to advance the objectives set by the forum. Now the challenge is to reach the 2020 Foro with clear progress made on all fronts!

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