On 16 and 17 March 2017, the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, attended the Launch of the Oceano Azul Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal.
Oceano Azul Foundation (oceanoazulfoundation.org) is an initiative of Sociedade Francisco Manuel dos Santos that looks at the planet’s sustainability from the ocean’s point of view, aiming at bequeathing a clean and productive ocean to future generations. Its three pillars of action focus on ocean literacy, ocean conservation and capacity-building aimed at promoting integrated ocean governance. The Foundation is based in Portugal, a large maritime nation, but aims for a global outreach, promoting ocean conservation and sustainability programmes in cooperation with international public and private institutions.
On 16 March 2017, Mr. Serpa Soares was the guest speaker at the lunch of the Directors of the Foundation and members of the Board of Trustees, to whom he presented the work of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations in the area of the law of the sea. In particular, Mr. Serpa Soares emphasized in his speech the central role of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and related instruments, including Goal 14 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which places special emphasis on conserving our oceans and using our marine resources in a sustainable manner. The Legal Counsel expressed his appreciation to the Foundation for its vision in creating a forum dedicated to establishing a network of institutional partnerships with the purpose of promoting and achieving ocean sustainability, which in turn furthers the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. Serpa Soares with the Chairman of Oceano Azul Foundation, Mr. José Soares dos Santos, at the Launch of Oceano Azul Foundation.
The Legal Counsel also took part in the meeting with the members of the “Group of Estoril”, an assembly of ocean experts from Europe, the United States of America and Australia. Following the meeting, Mr. Serpa Soares joined the commemorative dinner of the launch of the Foundation, in the presence of His Excellency the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa.
On 17 March 2017, Mr. Serpa Soares attended the public presentation of the Oceano Azul Foundation, in Convento do Beato, Lisbon. The following speakers participated in the event: His Excellency the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the Trustees of the Oceano Azul Foundation, Chairman José Soares dos Santos, Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien van Oranje-Nassau, Jane Lubchenco and Nuno Vieira Matias, the Special Advisors of the Board of Trustees, Julie Packard and Viriato Soromenho-Marques, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Oceano Azul Foundation, Tiago Pitta e Cunha.