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Boris Herrmann meets United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

by Team Malizia 23 Jan 23:03 PST 24 January 2023
Boris Herrmann and UN General-Secretary Antonio Guterres © Team Malizia

Team Malizia is off to a good start. The team embarked on The Ocean Race with two goals: to perform at their best on the water and to spread their A Race We Must Win - Climate Action Now! mission on land. Now, after finishing the first leg in Mindelo, Cabo Verde, in third position, Boris Herrmann had the chance to meet United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and exchange with him about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The symbol of which the team has emblazoned on the sails of their Malizia - Seaexplorer to draw particular attention to SDG 13 - Climate Action.

Guterres is visiting Cabo Verde for the Ocean Summit arranged by The Ocean Race. Speaking to over 300 high-level attendees gathered at the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo (OSCM), a joint facility of GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany) and the IMar - Instituto do Mar, Guterres stated: "Ending the ocean emergency is a race we must win", echoing the message Team Malizia carries around the world.

In 2019, Team Malizia sailed Greta Thunberg to New York in order that she could travel emission-free from Europe to New York for the United Nations Climate Action Summit. Antonio Guterres tweeted about her arrival which was met with huge support. This tweet became his most liked tweet of all time and Greta's arrival and the message she carried around Climate Action had a huge impact in raising awareness and action around the world.

At the Ocean Summit held yesterday, Boris Herrmann handed over The Ocean Race's Relay4Nature Baton to Ulisses Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, Richard Brisius, Chairman of The Ocean Race, and Antonio Guterres. The Baton, which Team Malizia sailed aboard their race yacht from Alicante to Mindelo, symbolically links environmental conferences around the world as it passes through the hands of leaders, innovators and ocean advocates, giving the ocean a voice on the critical issues the planet is facing.

Herrmann told them: "During Leg 1, we first had to fight against the storm upwind before sailing downwind and enjoying the Ocean. In the first part, we were seasick, we were struggling, it was hard, sails ripped and broke... I think this is the state we are in regarding the fight for ocean preservation and against climate change. We need to change our sails and our course, and I would like to kindly urge you, all leaders, to spread the message, that we take on this racing attitude that we as sailors have out there to perform, and that is demanding everything from us.

"It's an existential experience and very tough but let's all do what we need to do in this fight against climate change." The German skipper later participated in a panel discussion with other athletes, such as Capeverdean kitesurfing world champion Mito Monteiro, highlighting how sport can be used to inspire ambitious climate action.

In the meantime, Team Malizia invited 22 children from the Ribeira Bote school of Mindelo to the race village to discover the adventure of sailing on Malizia - Seaexplorer, to learn about the important role of the Ocean in climate change, and to write a wish for the children of the next stopover in a book that sails onboard throughout the entire race.

Today, the team also welcomed a group of students enrolled in the WASCAL master programme on climate change and marine sciences in cooperation with GEOMAR. The students originating from twelve West African countries stepped on board Malizia - Seaexplorer to see its scientific instruments: the Ocean Pack, a mini-laboratory continuously measuring Ocean CO2 levels, and the Argo float which they signed and the team will deploy during Leg 2.

Their signatures have been added to that of the Alicante school the team meet a few weeks before and will carry their legacy through the ocean for the next four years.

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