The Ocean Race 2022-23 - 1 June 2023. The Ocean Race Summit in Aarhus International Sailing Centre. Nicolai Wammen, Minister for Finance.

The Ocean Race 2022-23 - 1 June 2023. The Ocean Race Summit in Aarhus International Sailing Centre. Nicolai Wammen, Minister for Finance.

Wammen announces new law on nature and biodiversity at The Ocean Race Summit


01/06/2023 - 17:57

Denmark’s Finance Minister, Nicolai Halby Wammen, today announced that the Danish Government will propose a law on nature and biodiversity with a target to protect 20% of the ocean and strictly protect 10% of the ocean.

Speaking at The Ocean Race Summit Aarhus Wammen said: “I am very proud to say that the Danish Government will propose a law on nature and biodiversity and we have set a target to protect 20% of the ocean, and strictly protect 10% of the ocean, meaning that these areas will become essentially undisturbed from human presence.”

“This is a very important step which I hope others will follow, because it is very good to speak and dream about how to protect the ocean, but it is not enough:if we are to make a real difference, if we are to make real change, if we are to protect what we love and what we cherish, real action is needed,” he said.

“As humans, we are here for one brief shining moment, while the ocean has always been here and will remain here. We have not been very good at protecting it, which is something that the city and its people take very seriously,” continued the former mayor of the Danish city (2006–2011). “Let’s fight for the ocean as much as the ocean fights for us,” he said.

The event, held earlier today at Aarhus International Sailing Center during the stopover of the round-the-world sailing race, gathered together over 150 government, civil society and private sector representatives to explore ways in which the international community can come together to protect and regenerate the ocean and recognise its intrinsic rights.

The Summit analysed the power of sailing to influence positive change, the close intersection of science, shipping and sailing, the key role of youth in ocean action, the change needed for a more sustainable fashion industry, and featured innovative solutions.

Boris Herrmann, skipper of Team Malizia, which last week set a new 24 hour monohull distance record as they raced into Aarhus, covering 641.13 nautical miles, spoke at the Summit as part of a panel that examined how boats can be vessels of opportunity. Talking about the team’s work to gather scientific data about the state of the ocean to help grow understanding of climate change, he said: “I like these opportunities we are given, we can contribute to science. This helps us learn about it ourselves and to reach out with a message. Sport has the potential to create attention and emotion.”

Romain Troublé, General Manager of The Tara Ocean Foundation, which is dedicated to exploring the ocean to drive understanding and share science about this critical environment was also part of the panel. He said: “We try to better understand marine life. The ocean is a huge system that we are using in every part of our life. Most of the problems are in the ocean, but most of the solutions are on land. Ocean rights is a very good idea and the first step is to inspire. What you do through The Ocean Race is fantastic.”

Maersk announces the world’s first green methanol-powered vessel

Vice President and Head of Fleet Management and Technology A.P. Moller - Maersk, Leonardo Sonzio, spoke about the opportunities that shipping provides and highlighted the world's first green methanol powered vessel that will do her maiden voyage this year, arriving in Copenhagen in September. “This is the start of a new era for shipping,” he said. “We are committed to deliver our decarbonization targets which are in line with the science based target - 1,5 degree pathway.”

Shipping accounts for 3% of the global carbon equivalent emissions. With Maersk being a “samfundsnyttig virksomhed” (a ‘socially useful company’), Sonzio said the company is committed to being part of the solution to the climate emergency. In 2018 Maersk was the first shipping company to launch a net zero ambition. As part of this commitment they introduced their eco delivery, which provides an opportunity for customers to get their cargo shipped on low carbon fuels and started investments in green methanol enabled vessels.

Toste Tanhua, Senior Scientist at GEOMAR and Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Observation System (GOOS), noted: “We will never be able to measure and understand the ocean to the extent we need to unless we work together. The particular thing about sailing boats is that they take different routes, giving us the opportunity to get the observations we need. We need to combine different measurements and different interfaces. “Let’s work together - industry, science, shipping and sailing to collect the data we need to manage a sustainable ocean.”

At the event, Tanhua announced a new innovation platform based in Germany, which aims to support the development of new instruments, specifically modular sensors, that can be deployed on non-scientific vessels such as sailboats and commercial vessels to collect oceanographic and climate-relevant data. ‘Shaping an Ocean of Possibilities for science/industry collaboration’ (SOOP) was created to help gather observations from large parts of the ocean that are poorly understood. “You cannot manage what you cannot measure,” he said.

Opening the Summit the Mayor of Aarhus, Jacob Bundsgaard, said “Safeguarding the quality of the marine environment is an issue that deeply and genuinely concerns me – globally, nationally and locally. It is under threat all over the world. And that includes life in the inner Danish waters – including our own bay.

The mayor of the first-ever Danish city to host The Ocean Race, noted that in partnership with neighbouring municipalities, amounting to over 620 km of coastline, “Aarhus is taking action: We will put better solutions in place and raise our ambitions for the health of the marine environment. We will, we can and we must lead the way in the fight to save the ocean.”

Addressing the participants, Alexandra Rickham, Head of Sustainability at World Sailing said: “Collaboration is the most important thing for us to realise our Agenda 2030 objectives through and with the help of our special events like The Ocean Race. Collaboration is the only means of us accelerating change within our sport.”

Young voices took centre stage at the Summit and called for recognition of ocean rights:

Willow Campbell, Ripples of Change Rhode Island, said: “Whenever we talk about anything, make a decision, take action, we need to remember that we are not the only ones that we affect: it is time to hear the ocean, it is time to get things done!”

Jacqueline Prawira, Rise Global Winner & Inventor, Cyclo.Cloud, said: “The ocean deserves just as much protection as anyone else and we should protect it and cherish it just as much as anyone else.”

Danish fashion company BESTSELLER calls for fair play: “We are done with guidelines, we need rules and solutions”

The panel, “A sea change in the fashion industry” explored the changes needed in how fashion products are designed and made to safeguard the ocean’s rights and turn a problem into an opportunity.
Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, Materials and Innovation Manager at BESTSELLER, a Danish company present in 70 countries, noted the importance of responsible sourcing in the fashion industry, “so that you can wear garments with a good conscience”. “ We need policies to make it (the fashion industry, one of the world’s most polluting sectors) a fair playing field. It is a massive problem. We are done with guidelines, we need rules and solutions.”

Official apparel and uniform partner of The Ocean Race, Helly Hansen, was also amongst the speakers. Øyvind Vedvik, Helly Hansen VP Ski, Sailing and R&D, said: “When designing sailing jackets, The Ocean Race inspired and pushed us and had a great impact in our collection introducing ocean-bound recycled materials”

Vedvik stressed the need to keep developing better solutions using less resources, with a focus on longevity and functionality. “When you look at how The Ocean Race employee uniform is made, it has no dates and no sponsors on it so that it can be used in multiple editions, as it is timeless.”

In her closing speech, Gesine Meißner, former Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the German Committee for the UN Ocean Decade and EU Mission Board Healthy Oceans / Starfish 2030, highlighted the need to redouble global efforts for “the ocean we need for the future we want”. “The whole society, starting with small kids, should be involved, so that we will finally have a global community of ocean friends ready to contribute for the future of our planet.”

The Ocean Race Summit Aarhus is part of a series of high-level events to promote the recognition of the inherent rights of the ocean, held in some of the stopover cities that are hosting the teams as they circumnavigate the planet during The Ocean Race 2022-23.

​​The Ocean Race and partners - including the Government of Cabo Verde and US-based Earth Law Center - are working to give the ocean a voice and gather global support for the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights by 2030.

Johan Strid, Policy and The Ocean Race Summits Director, wrapped up the event calling for the recognition of the inherent rights of the ocean. “We have heard about fantastic local, national and international actions for the ocean. The amazing bio huts in the harbour here in Aarhus. The fantastic kelp growing at the wind farm. The fascinating data collection by the vessels of opportunity. We have learned from some of the most distinguished experts in these fields. We have met a lot of people with a bold vision here today.”

Strid announced that tomorrow, a global group of experts will meet in Aarhus on the “Genova Process” innovation workshop to finalise principles for ocean rights The Ocean Race and partners, including US-based Earth Law Center present to the United Nations in September.

The Ocean Race - the round-the-world sailing event known as the toughest test of a team in sport - holds these high-level Summits to promote ocean action in some of the stopover cities that will be hosting the teams as they circumnavigate the planet. The Summit’s discussions are later analysed and explored with experts in international law, policy, diplomacy and ocean science in a series of workshops called the Genova Process (named after the host city of the Grand Finale - the finish port of the Race).

The Ocean Race Summits are a key part of The Ocean Race’s multi-award winning ‘Racing with Purpose’ sustainability programme developed in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing, a Premier Partner of The Ocean Race.

The Ocean Race started from Alicante, Spain, on 15 January 2023 and will end in Genova The Grand Finale in June 2023. It consists of seven legs with stopovers in eight cities around the world: Mindelo, Cabo Verde; Cape Town, South Africa; Itajaí, Brazil; Newport, Rhode Island, USA; Aarhus, Denmark; and The Hague, The Netherlands.

The sixth and penultimate Leg of the race sees the VO65 fleet rejoin the IMOCAs for a
three day 800-nautical mile (921-mile/1,482-kilometre) sprint from Aarhus to The Hague in the Netherlands – with the IMOCA fleet making a fly-by visit to the German city Kiel.Sailing.City. while the VO65s race directly to The Hague. Much of the early part of the leg takes place in coastal waters, where making the most of the thermal breezes caused by land heating and cooling – as well as dealing effectively with coastal currents – could be
key to success.

Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus sits on the eastern shore of Jutland in the Kattegat sea approximately 187 kilometres north west of the country’s capital, Copenhagen. The city’s first involvement with The Ocean Race came during the 2017–18 edition when the fleet took part in a popular ‘fly-by’ of the port on the way from Gothenburg, Sweden to The Hague in the Netherlands on the final leg of the race.

Aarhus is ranked ninth on the index of the world’s most sustainable tourist destinations, after being scored on a range of sustainability parameters with a particular focus on events and conferences.


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