An international conference on global warming and the preservation of the oceans faced protests by dozens of activists today in Brussels.
Members of the citizen collective ‘Extinction Rebellion’ booed international leaders upon their arrival at the Palais d’Egmont palace.
“They are preparing to sign a declaration which in and of itself does not go far enough. We reject their lack of ambition for the sphere,” said one activist.
The conference – organised by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, Marie Christine Marghem, and the Belgian Minister for the North Sea, Philippe De Backer – included attendees from countries directly affected by the health of our oceans. These include the Marshall Islands, among others. Senior officials of international organisations were also invited, as well as Prince Albert of Monaco.
During his opening speech, Prime Minister Charles Michel was briefly, and abruptly, interrupted by an activist who had infiltrated his way into the crowd of attendees. Standing on a chair, he shouted “Climate emergency” to some 500 participants, before being forcibly ejected from the building.
— Extinction Rebellion Belgium (@ExtinctionRebe6) February 19, 2019
As part of the event, the representatives from the various states signed the “Brussels Declaration”, an inventory of political initiatives around climate change and the preservation of the oceans. The declaration stresses the significance of scientific research, calling for a reduction in shipping emissions, whilst also reaffirming the international commitments already undertaken within the field.
In the activists’ view, the text of the declaration is not “sufficiently ambitious”.
The Brussels Times