22 Jan 2020 - Global summits this year could be last chance to tackle crises of ocean, fisheries, biodiversity and climate.
“Our house is on fire,” said Swedish activist Greta Thunberg at the beginning of 2019. Her statement resonated throughout the year, with temperature records broken in many countries, an unusually intense wildfire season in the Amazon, and the ocean continuing to lose oxygen.
Millions took to the streets to vent their feelings at governments for not doing enough. In December, protesters inside the COP25 UN climate change conference in Madrid summed up a year of growing boldness, and frustration.
While society and many sectors of the economy will continue to take their own action to help protect the environment in 2020, there is still time to accelerate last year’s slow progress in the international arena, at landmark global summits on the oceans, biodiversity and climate change.
The global ocean In June, a UN “high-level meeting” will be held in Lisbon, Portugal to advance the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 14 on life below water.
There is a total of 17 SDGS, designed to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity. Agreed by UN member countries in 2015, each objective has specific targets attached to it.
Some of the SDG 14 targets are supposed to be met in 2020. These include putting an end to unsustainable fishing of all kinds; prohibiting fishing subsidies that encourage overfishing; and conserving at least 10% of coastal and marine areas.
“Several of the goals are far from being met,” said Loreley Picourt, director of politics and international affairs at the Ocean and Climate Platform. “In addition to evaluating them, we will begin to discuss the next ones by 2020. But we must see what is the point of doing it if many were not fulfilled.”
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