Equipe Cousteau at French Sea Summit

15 September 2009

Jean-Louis BORLOO, France’s Minister of State and Minister of the Environment, Sustainable Development and Land Management announced on February 27, 2009, that a Sea Summit will call together five groups – the State, elected officials, social partners (employers and employees) and environmental protection organizations—as well as companies and qualified leaders, chosen according to the themes to be addressed.

The Sea Summit is an outgrowth of the Environmental Summit. It will cover basically the themes of sea and shore and will contribute to the development of environmentally sustainable activities. It aims to define a national strategy for the sea and littoral by identifying goals and actions for the short, medium and long terms.
Four working groups formed around transdisciplinary themes will work toward drawing up a report and proposals that are as broadly accepted as possible. The aim will be to resolve existing problems and improve the situation.
The themes of the four working groups will be:
1 : The delicate meeting of land and sea;
2 : Between threats and potential, a fragile sea and promise for the future;
3 : The sea, a passion to share;
4 : The Water Planet: creating new regulations.
Tarik Chekchak, Head of Programs for Equipe Cousteau, will represent the organization at the Sea Summit, participating in Working Group 1, "The delicate meeting of land and sea." Since it was founded by Captain Cousteau, Equipe Cousteau has been especially aware of the stakes involved in the coastal zone and particularly interested in the balance between humans and Nature along the littoral, as reflected by its establishment of Coastal Zone Programs.
Facts about coastal zones in France and throughout the world:
- Two-thirds of the world’s population are found less than 80 km from the coast and most of the major metropolises are found in the littoral zones.
- In France, more than 6 million people reside in coastal communities; that amounts to 10 percent of the population at a density of 315 inhabitants per km2, three times more than the national average.
- In France, 27 percent of the land located less than 500 meters from the sea is developed.
- It is currently acknowledged that 80 percent of pollution in the sea comes from the land.