New York: UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the international community to commit and unite around the protection and preservation of our seas, during his participation at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon.
Speaking at the high-level opening of the Conference, Guterres outlined four recommendations to ensure that the tide is reversed.
Among them, the UN chief underscored the urgent need to invest sustainably in economies that depend on the sea.
Highlighting that the ocean connects us all – Secretary-General Guterres said that because we have taken the ocean for granted, today, we face an “Ocean Emergency” and that the tide must be turned.
“Our failure to care for the ocean will have ripple effects across the entire 2030 Agenda,” Guterres said.
At the last UN Ocean Conference five years ago in New York, delegates called to reverse the decline in ocean health.
Since then, some progress has been made, the UN chief maintained, with new treaties being negotiated to address the global plastic waste crisis that is choking the oceans, and advances in science, in line with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).
“But let’s have no illusions. Much more needs to be done by all of us together,” Guterres stressed, before outlining four key recommendations; investing in sustainable ocean economies, replicating ocean success, protecting the people and more science and innovation. UN Secretary-General save ocean UN Secretary General save ocean
Guterres urged stakeholders to invest in sustainable ocean economies for food, renewable energy, and livelihoods, through long-term funding, reminding them that out of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal number 14 had received the least support of any of the SDGs.
Second, he continued, “the ocean must become a model on how we can manage the global commons for our greater good; and this means preventing and reducing marine pollution of all kinds, both from land and sea-based sources.”
This would entail scaling-up effective area-based conservation measures and integrated coastal zone management.
The UN chief also called for more protection of the oceans and of the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on them, by addressing climate change and investing in climate-resilient coastal infrastructure.
“The shipping sector should commit to net zero emissions by 2050, and present credible plans to implement these commitments. And we should invest more in restoring and conserving coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, wetlands, and coral reefs,” Guterres stressed.
Inviting all Member States to joint the initiative recently launched to achieve the goal of full early warning system coverage in the next five years, Guterres said that this would help to reach coastal communities and those whose livelihoods depend on early warning protection measures at sea.
Lastly, Guterres underlined the need for more science and innovation to propel us into what he called a “new chapter of global ocean action”.
“I invite all to join the goal of mapping 80 percent of the seabed by 2030. I encourage the private sector to join partnerships that support ocean research and sustainable management. And I urge governments to raise their level of ambition for the recovery of ocean health.”