Lycean selected as Philippine Delegate at the 7th Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit and 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens, Greece

Marie Ysabelle Lesava, a student taking up AB Foreign Service major in Diplomacy at Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Manila participated as a Philippine youth delegate in the 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens, Greece.

Marie was selected as one of the 100 youth ocean delegates all over the world to participate in the 7th Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit (OOYLS) and the 9th Our Ocean Conference (OOC) 2024 in Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, Greece from April 15-17, 2024. The theme of the OOC 2024 is “An Ocean of Potential” revolved on six areas of action: advocating for marine protected areas, nurturing a sustainable blue economy, tackling climate change, supporting maritime security, advancing sustainable fisheries, and combating marine pollution. 

Before the Conference proper, Marie and the other youth delegates had joined the beach cleanup on April 14, 2024 organized by Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) in front of the Peace and Friendship Stadium and conveyed a collaborative message to protect and save our oceans. It was then followed by the Official Youth Welcome Reception at the Yacht Club of Greece.

During the 7th OOYLS, Marie advocated for the power of diplomacy in the fields of maritime security and governance and how youths can be ambassadors for a sustainable ocean. As part of the summit, youths were given a chance to partake in the “Networking with Mentors: Blue Horizons on the Spot Mentoring Interactive session”.

Together with her group, they were able to to discuss with Ms. Kelly Kryc, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration about the importance of the involvement of young people in providing solutions to the government and in international negotiations. Additionally, they also talked about the youth combating climate change through the Sustainable Development Goals that can then be translated into policies.

Afterwards, each group had the chance to present pledges of global goals and commitments for the oceans that are anchored on the SDGs. Marie presented their group’s “Youth Pledge for Sustainable Oceans” of reducing 5% of ghost fishing gear in the Mediterranean Sea by 2030.

On April 16-17, Marie had attended multiple plenary sessions and side events in the OOC-9 that was attended by at most 3,800 delegates from different government representatives, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, scientists, and other stakeholders from 119 countries. The plenary sessions had topics stemming from the six areas and main theme, and were followed by pledges of governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders after every discussion. Marie was also able to attend the high-level event entitled “High Ambition and Partnerships for the High Seas” which focused on the call for all nations to prioritize the ratification and implementation of the historic High Seas Treaty.

Marie had witnessed the statements of World leaders and representatives from the European Union and the governments of Belgium, Bermuda, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, Palau, Philippines, and Seychelles. 

Other side events such as “Building Tourism and Sustainable Blue Economies: Partnerships for Ecological, Economic, and Climate Resilience in SIDS” and “Food Security: The Role of Sustainable Aquatic/Blue Foods in the Green Transition” were attended by Marie. In these side events, Marie had the chance to talk to Maria Varteressian about how negotiations and diplomacy can further aid in the sustainable practices for blue food in the green transition in the international arena and meet President Surangel Whipps Jr. of the Republic of Palau that shared a few of their county’s sustainable tourism experience and recovery through the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of the conference a closing ceremony and a high-level panel on OOC Legacy was witnessed by Marie and a cultural event entitled Chorus featuring sounds of the Mediterranean were witnessed by all delegates after.

Marie’s participation in the OOYLS and OOC demonstrates LPU’s commitment to developing globally aware students and empowering youths with their advocacies in line with the sustainable development goals.