OSPAR elects Carien Van Zwol (Netherlands) as Chair

19 August 2016

OSPAR elected Carien Van Zwol of the Netherlands as the new Chair at its annual meeting. Carien said...

Growing up in Rotterdam, I have always been aware of the beauty and importance of the sea; how it connects us to distant countries and provides employment. Through my education as a biologist, and subsequent work and travel I became convinced that our oceans need proper management if we want to ensure a sustainable marine environment, food security and livelihoods for the future generations.

During my career I have worked on many different aspects of marine issues: from regulating offshore activities in the Dutch Continental Shelf to MPA management in the Indian Ocean; starting out in science and later moving into policy areas.

Working on marine issues implies working in an international context. I strongly believe that the need for fruitful regional cooperation is more urgent now than ever if we are to address global environmental challenges such as transboundary pollution, climate change and responsible ocean governance. OSPAR has a clear mandate which allows us to play a strong role in addressing these issues and we will continue to contribute to sustainable solutions. At a regional level, OSPAR is key in developing a coordinated approach to implement the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

For me, the strength of OSPAR is the many functions that it serves, and its resulting connections to multiple stakeholders. It allows Parties to share experiences, jointly assess the state of the marine environment, set the future political agenda for our seas, take action, and develop innovative and effective ways for cooperation to achieve our goals.