Great Blue Wall – Highlevel Segment

Special side event at the UN Oceans Conference (#IBZT28012)

The Great Blue Wall – Accelerating ocean conservation and regenerative economic development in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO)

When and where?
Wednesday, 29 June 2022, 1600 – 2030 HRS

Eurostars Universal Lisboa, Avenida do D. Joao II (13), Lisboa, Portugal.


The Great Blue Wall (GBW) is a Western Indian Ocean (WIO)-led, African driven roadmap to achieve a nature positive world by 2030. It aims at unlocking unprecedented nature-based recovery efforts through the establishment of a transformational movement. Its goal is to dramatically accelerate and upscale ocean conservation actions while enhancing socio-ecological resilience and the development of a regenerative blue economy by catalysing political leadership and financial support. The side event comes at the backdrop of ongoing high-level engagements since launch at the UNFCCC COP26 with an aim to catalyse political momentum, financial support and action commitments towards the acceleration and upscaling of ocean actions under the umbrella of the Great Blue Wall initiative.

Contributing to the theme of the conference “Scaling up ocean-based action” through partnerships and developing and implementing novel solutions, the event aligns with four thematic interactive dialogues, including promoting and strengthening sustainable ocean-based economies, in particular for small island developing States and least developed countries [5], managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems [2], making fisheries sustainable and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets [4], and leveraging interlinkages between SDG 14 and other Goals towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda [8].

This event further contributes to draw attention to the need for increased ocean conservation efforts by pursuing innovative approaches toward achieving the 30×30 biodiversity target and increasing the resilience and capacity of coastal and marine ecosystems to deliver services in a sustainable way that works for both nature and people. At the heart of the GBW approach is a focus to empower local stakeholders, in particular indigenous people and local communities, to become stewards and managers of these coastal regions in order to achieve not only quantity but also quality coastal biodiversity ecosystems.

The success of the Great Blue Wall will also be borne by the leadership of WIO Governments. The event will therefore also showcase the Western Indian Ocean – Resilience and Prosperity Initiative (WIO-RPI). Endorsed by all governments of the WIO through the Nairobi Convention COP-10, its goal is for all WIO governments to co-create a new regional ocean policy and five year strategic plan. The WIO-RPI will provide the critical policy and strategic foundations and architecture for GBW’s success.

The event will also explore how blue economy and livelihood opportunities will be unlocked through turning the blue economy into a driver of social, climate, and ecological regeneration by focusing on ocean-facing value chains and business models that demonstrate the potential to deliver both socioeconomic and conservation outcomes.


Hosted by Thomas Sberna, Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience, Eastern and Southern Africa, IUCN

Moderated by Giuditta Andreaus, Senior Manager, IUCN


1.    Welcome address from UNOC co-hosts – 16:00 ~ 16:20


1.1.    H.E. Minister João Cravinho, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Portugal

1.2.    High Level Representative from Government of Kenya (TBC)


Keynote: German (Jerry) Velasquez, Director, Division of Mitigation and Adaptation, Green Climate Fund


2.    Opening segment – 16:20 ~ 16:55


Keynote: H.E. President Danny Faure, Former President of Seychelles and Executive Chairman and Founder of the Danny Faure Foundation



2.1.    H.E. Minister Flavien Joubert, Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Seychelles

2.2. H.E. Minister Lidia de Fátima da Graça Cardoso, Ministry of Sea, Internal Waters and Fisheries, Mozambique

2.3.    H.E. Minister of State, Dr Selemani Said Jaffo, Union and Environment, Tanzania

2.4.    David Shaw, CEO of Black Point Group and IUCN’s Patron of Nature

2.5.    Ignace Beguin, Ocean Lead, High Level Climate Champion for UNFCCC COP27


3.    Announcements towards achieving the WIO Biodiversity-Climate-Socioeconomic outcomes – 16:55 ~ 17:20


3.1.    Miguel Gonçalves, Administrator, National Administration for Conservation Areas, Mozambique

3.2.    Vahid Fotuhi, Founder & CEO, Blue Forest

3.3.    Romain Riollet, Head of Energy Unit, Expertise France

3.4. Jessie McGrath, Regional Program Officer, Blue Nature Alliance

3.5.    David Del Ser, BFA Global


4.    Panel discussion: One Planet, One Ocean – what is at stake for the decade to come? 17:20 ~ 18:00


Moderator: Nassim Oulmane, Chief Green and Blue Economy, UNECA

Keynote: Joachim Claudet, CNRS-CRIOBE, Senior Scientist, One Planet, One Ocean: what is at stake for the decade to come? 


4.1.    Arthur Tuda, Secretary General, WIOMSA, A regional perspective: the WIO MPA Outlook Report: From recommendations to action

4.2.    Oliver Steeds OBE, CEO, NEKTON, the Western Indian Ocean – Resilience & Prosperity Initiative

4.3.    Barkha Mossae, Blue Economy Technical Advisor, African Union, an African Perspective

4.4.    Alexis Grosskopf, CEO, OHA, Unlocking blue entrepreneurship towards local empowerment in the WIO region

4.5.    Diva Amon, Deep Sea Scientist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Deep Sea: the next frontier of ocean research and conservation

4.6.    Lorely Picourt, POC, Executive Director, Our Ocean, a unique climate solution


5.    Closing remarks – 18:00 – Minna Epps, Director, Global Ocean Programme, IUCN


Convened by:

o Government of Seychelles

o International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

o Danny Faure Foundation


o United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

o High Level Climate Champions

o Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)

o Blue Forest