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Paramaribo, 31 May 2014

Celebrating World Oceans Day with Argentinian Embassy

Paramaribo – On Sunday, June 8th, Green Heritage Fund Suriname again celebrates World Ocean Day with a movie. This year, in collaboration with the Argentinian Embassy in Suriname and the GEF Small Grants Programme the Argentinian movie "Gigantes de Valdes' will be shown. Through this film, the foundation wants to make people sensitive to protecting the ocean and life in it. As this year the International Whaling Commission meets in September, there is also some extra attention for whales with an 18 m inflatable whale which will travel through the country.

Gigantes de Valdes, a movie offered by the Argentinian Embassy, highlights one of the ocean provinces in Argentinia, Patagonia, known for its natural beauty. Globally, Puerto Piramides and Puerto Madryn, are known as the best sites to engage in sustainable whale-watching. Watching whales and dolphins as a tourist activity is of much importance for developing countries. Coastal communities in South America in particular, and in other locations in the world, have a direct benefit from the presence of cetaceans. This has led to more and more general interest to protect these animals against commercial whaling and other threats, such as by-catch and ship strikes by establishing marine protected areas and sanctuaries.

The Buenos Aires Group

This group was created in 2005 and consists of 17 countries from South America and Central America, 13 of which are members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The Buenos Aires Group is an important platform to take concrete steps for cooperation within the IWC. This group meets regularly to strengthen cooperation. Whale Watching as an economic alternative is an important issue within the Buenos Aires Group. In December of last year Colombia organized a technical meeting having as theme “Sustainable Management of Cetaceans in Latin America and the Caribbean”. The Buenos Aires Group lobbies as one group within the Whaling Commission for achieving complete elimination of whaling. At the next meeting of the International Whaling Commission, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil will present a proposal for the establishment of a sanctuary for cetaceans in the Southern Atlantic Ocean supported also by countries in Africa. In preparation of this submission an international workshop was organized this year in March in Brazil. Suriname is still not a member of the Buenos Aires Group (

GHFS and the Ocean

The ocean, the biodiversity it harbors, and its health is crucial for humans – since one billion people depend on the proteins that healthy ocean ecosystems provide them. It is important in the perspective of the GHFS that parts of our exclusive economic zone will be designated as marine protected area, so that fish stocks will not be depleted and will have the opportunity to recover. Overfishing is the greatest threat to a healthy and productive marine ecosystem. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), more than 75% of the resources of the world are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. In a recent report, however, the FAO warns that harmful practices and poor management, threaten the sustainability of the fishing industry. In an earlier report, the FAO noted that fish and fishery products are among the most traded global food. In 2012, the global fisheries and aquaculture production reached a total of 158 million tonnes, 10 million tonnes more than in 2010. GHFS also advocates a corridor for marine mammals that runs along our coast through the North Atlantic for the protection of marine mammals.

Humpback Whale

A life-size inflatable whale (18 m) will be displayed in front of TBL Cinemas on Sunday. The message this year is again that saving our oceans is still possible if we take measures now to promote integrated management of marine and coastal zones. This would mean, establishing marine protected areas, as well as nearshore protected areas, as well as making land-based pollution ending up in the oceans manageable. Mangrove ecosystems have to be protected as they are important as spawning areas and as protection of our coasts and the human populations in our coastal zone.

The joint partners invite everyone to come and enjoy this special Argentinian movie on World Oceans Day.

Gigantes de Valdes by Alex Tossenberger

This film tells the story of two worlds, the world of commercial bosses who have no regard for the sustainable management of natural resources and the world of communities that deal sustainably with the natural resources that they have. The theme is developed in a compelling way against the backdrop of the natural beauty of Patagonia. This story is about the different possibilities to carry out an activity which can be of vital importance to a country and about the way the world will look upon it. The way a country relates to this industry is the way a country feels and protects its territory and natural resources. The structure of this plot is based upon the social and moral consequences of the way countries deal with the tourism industry.

Date: 8 June 2014

Location: TBL Cinemas, Lalla Rookhweg 79

Time: 19:00 Sunday

Entry: Free (maximum 2 tickets per person to be collected from TBL)