The Marine Regions Forum 2023 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
“Our ocean transcends borders. The waves carry with them the shared burdens.” This is a quote from Denis Matatiken from the first plenary to kick off the Marine Regions Forum 2023 that took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in November. Little did I anticipate the profound impact these words would have as they set the tone for an enriching exploration of ocean governance through workshops, dialogues, and subsequent plenaries.
I am Madisen Dimacale, a master’s student studying Integrated Natural Resource Management and a student assistant at the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS). As a student assistant who was working mainly on the Marine Regions Forum 2023, I was given the opportunity to attend the conference in person and participate in the current conversation on ocean governance. My involvement in the conference not only allowed me a front-row seat to seeing how cooperation and collaboration get done in the marine science world, but also provided a unique opportunity to actively engage in the global conversation surrounding oceanic concerns.
While the conference presented a wealth of scientific insights and invaluable data, it transcended the statistics and charts. I discovered the incredible value of face-to-face interactions and the exchange of ideas in rooms filled with people from different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. The gathering brought together a diverse group from around the globe, representing various sectors such as government, science and research, the private sector, and NGOs. It showed me how vital it is to pool information to reach an interdisciplinary understanding of oceanic processes and impacts to lay the foundation for sustainable solutions. Overall, the Marine Regions Forum 2023 was an event of shared knowledge, shaping a path toward effective and holistic approaches to ocean governance.
As an early career professional, the conference created space for me to connect with other like-minded young professionals. While this produced a supportive network during the conference, it also laid the groundwork for enduring connections beyond the confines of these three conference days. From connecting on professional networks to sharing funding opportunities, and even traveling together, the contacts made during this time have had a prolonged impact.
In conclusion, the Marine Regions Forum 2023 was not merely a conference but an eye-opening experience that went beyond geographical boundaries, echoing the Matatiken’s sentiment that waves carry shared burdens, but also shared opportunities for the future.