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World Ocean Day in Kribi, Cameroon

It all started long before 8 June with awareness raising among youngsters in Kribi on the coast and the capital Yaoundé. The Bénévoles de l'océan and Mundus maris are long-time allies in these efforts to engage people of all ages in ocean protection, particularly pupils and coastal populations.

With the support of the Délégation de l’éducation de base de l’océan the Bénévoles, led by the indefatigable Jeauberte Djamou, have conducted an awareness campaign in 10 schools in both cities throughout May 2019 to encourage pupils also to participate in the Mundus maris Awards contest to celebrate World Ocean Day.

A lot of time was also spent on sensitising different administrative units and private operators in the port area about the importance of moving forward on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 "Life under Water" and its different links to other SDGs as an investment into ocean health and their own future viability.

The objective for next year is to overcome still widespread ignorance about the importance of the ocean for all our lives by reaching into 100 schools next year and how critical it is to fight against overfishing, plastic and other pollution and climate change!

On the day itself, some 150 pupils of the pilot schools in Kribi gathered in front of the Central School Complex.

During half an hour they chanted "Arrêtez ça, la pollution ..." (Stop this, stop this pollution!) a video clip by Vivien Akoa, prize winner in a previous edition of Mundus maris Awards.

They then got going towards the hall of festivities where some 12 traditional leaders were already waiting.

Everybody stood to attention when the national anthem was played. Then, the celebration proper could start with reading the Kribi Declaration.

Between comments and amendments it took a good hour until everyone of the traditional leaders had spoken and the Kribi Declaration for Ocean Protection was finally adopted.

The work ended with the handover of ocean passports to the traditional chiefs and the pupils. A family photo and a cocktail rounded off the programe.

This is the occasion to thank the mayor of Kribi who has enabled the celebrations to take this solemn form and who has carefully accompanied all preparations with advice and wise guidance. While he could not be present that day in person, he sent a representative.

Likewise the traditional chiefs of Kribi contributed much to the scale of the event. We thank them whole-heartedly for their support and hope to extend an even improved collaboration into the forthcoming years.

Our thanks also go to the Autonomous Port of Douala and the DPEI International for their interest in the World Ocean Day celebrations. We hope that the different public administrations concerned and the maritime companies in the port area will become more engaged with ocean protection and WOD activities in the future so as to ensure sustainability of ocean life and their own operations.