Let oceans breathe and people live a better life

The nexus between cleaning up the oceans and reducing inequalities

Over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal resources for their livelihoods, with an estimated market value of EUR 2 600 billion per year. Oceans are threatened. An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic waste and microplastics are discharged annually, threatening ecosystems, people and communities. Clean oceans are crucial for sustainable development and to address economic inequalities by increasing people’s income and improving health. Oceans absorb about 30 % of carbon dioxide, buffering the impacts of global warming. Rivers carry plastic to the oceans. Just 10 rivers are responsible for 90 % of this pollution. They are mainly located in Africa and Asia, which have limited access to regular waste collection and controlled waste disposal. Only when oceans breathe can people prosper.


Organised by


Francoise Jacob
Representative to the EU institutions
United Nations Office for Project Services
Richard Amor
Head of Unit
European Investment Bank (EIB)
Gilles Kleitz
Director / agriculture, water. biodiversity
Agence Française de Développement
Klaus Gihr
Head of Division
Tatjana Hema
Deputy Coordinator Mediterranean Action Plan-Barcelona Convention Secretariat
United Nations Environment Programme