His Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Chairman of The Higher Council For Science And Technology (HCST), called on launching a Red Sea Commission, which would allow Red Sea littoral states, along with neighbouring countries, to come together to not only deliberate, but more importantly to listen to each other’s interests and concerns, and then fashion common solutions, thus, advancing regional creative commons.
Prince El Hassan's remarks came in a speech delivered on his behalf by Dr. Adnan Badran, HCST Vice President, at the closing activities of First International Conference on the Red Sea Ecosphere: Conservation and Management of the Red Sea Marine Environment on Sunday, in the city of Aqaba.
Prince El Hassan noted our main challenge, however, remains translating science into practical policies that transform our quality of life and the environment.
Prince El Hassan also said a regional framework based on the notion of showing equal concern for the well-being of all people and our environment is an act of safeguarding human dignity and is central to the health of our ecosphere.
Choosing solidarity, interdisciplinary cooperation, and multilateralism is vital for the betterment of all. There is, therefore, a collective and intergenerational responsibility to advocate for evidence-based policy, rather than politics, Prince El Hassan added.
For his part, HCST Secretary-General, Dr. Abdullah al-Mousa, said the Interdisciplinarity and a unique depth of knowledge were a commonality amongst all the discussions.
"It is my hope that this conference underlined, above all, the importance of evidence-based scientific roadmaps that are both de-politicised and neutral and aim for the betterment of all, " al-Mousa noted.
He added: "Only then will we be able to tackle the challengesthat face all of us, including both man-made and natural disasters, from climate change to the destruction of our marine environment."
He said the timing of the conference is crucial, not only does it mark the "UN Ocean Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development," but more importantly, it can set the tone for COP27 at Sharm Al-Sheikh.
Over a 3-day period, Jordanian, Arab and foreign researchers went over variety of topics related to the coastal and marine environment of the Red Sea, the impact of climate change, physical and chemical studies, pollution and other topics.
In the final statement of the conference, participants unanimously agreed on the need to implement transboundary coordination and cooperation in the restoration and conservation of marine ecosystems in shared water basins. Through this interdisciplinary research, action can begin to gradually heal the Great Rift Valley.
The conference also recommended developing a Red Sea Barometer, which would make data accessible, as a public good, to all stakeholders in the region, specifically for the Red Sea littoral countries (exchange of data policy).
The conference proposed joint research projects on the impact of climate change on biodiversity, coastal erosion, rising sea water level, rising surface water temperature and acidity, and coastal zone management. Ensure that environmental sustainability is the leading theme of all research programmes and policies.
The conference collectively called on developing and fostering strategies on the conservation and restoration of marine habitats and ecosystems and urged promoting sustainable blue and green economies in the region to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.
Participants also encouraged applied research to facilitate technological innovation.
They called on empowering and enabling local communities to engage, as stakeholders, in the restoration, conservation, and management of natural resources.
They also urged incorporating the significance of marine ecosystems into education at all curriculum levels and develop policies that promote collective social responsibility, expressing support to regional monitoring and observation facilities to develop risk assessment and mitigation policies.
They urged implementing a regional baseline survey to establish parameters for sensitivity mapping of coastal areas and seabed and monitoring coral reefs resources to assess their ecological state and level of resistance in response to changing environmental parameters.