Clean oceans key to survival of humanity

Posted June 08, 2017

An official side event of the United Nations Ocean Conference, the event will take place at UN Headquarters in NY on Friday 9 June, bringing together representatives of the private sector, ocean leadership nations, and the education and capacity-building sectors to address the ways in which the private sector is fighting climate change affecting the ocean.

World leaders will convene at the United Nations headquarters this week for the first major bid to solve the toughest problems facing our oceans, ranging from coral bleaching and plastic pollution to overfishing and rising seas.

The conference opened just days after President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. Indeed, the Swedish deputy prime minister Isabella Lovin observed that "we know the ocean is broken" and claimed that the oceans were "30 percent more acidic than in pre-industrial times, big predatory fish stocks have declined by up to 90 percent, the surface waters are getting warmer (while) in some areas there are more microplastics than plankton".

In his opening remarks to the event, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the oceans-which he called "the lifeblood of our planet"-harmed by warming, pollution, and exploitation by industry are now "under threat as never before".

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In addition to marking voluntary commitments, participants this week are also due to adopt, by consensus, a "Call to Action" to protect the world's oceans and seas.

President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson stated that the process to reverse the damage sustained by oceans and their coasts would be implemented in line with the conference.

"We must put aside short-term national gain to prevent long-term global catastrophe", Guterres asserted.

"Oceans are a testing ground for the principle of multilateralism", he said.

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This includes a shift in attention to sustainable development around the use of the world's oceans.

The UN chief called for strong political leadership and new partnerships, based on the existing legal framework, and concrete steps, such as expanding marine protected areas and reducing plastic waste pollution.

This "has made it the main threat to mother Earth and life itself", Morales said.

IMO says the Ocean Conference (5-9 June) will feature a high-level plenary session, several "partnership dialogues" and many more side events during which all aspects of SDG 14and its sub-targets will be analysed and discussed.

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It was for these reasons and others that many have come to share Morales' dim view of US leadership under Trump and the Republican Party.

The high-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development will draw attention to conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

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