Ocean Action Hub

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Oceans as an Investment Priority

25 Oct 2019 - As a key variable in the fight against climate change, the world's oceans cannot be a mere afterthought on the global economic and environmental agenda.

25 Oct 2019 - As a key variable in the fight against climate change, the world's oceans cannot be a mere afterthought on the global economic and environmental agenda. We should invest in protecting the oceans as if our future depended on it, because it does.

OSLO – The Earth’s oceans face many threats, none of which have quick fixes. Still, the solutions are known, and with a sufficiently broad coalition of partners, we can get the ball rolling on a number of fronts.

A wide range of human activities – from burning fossil fuels to over-fishing – have been degrading the oceans for years. By increasing the absorption of carbon dioxide, global warming is acidifying the oceans and reducing oxygen levels, harming or killing marine plants, animals, and other organisms. And as the ice caps melt, rising sea levels are increasingly putting hundreds of millions of people in coastal areas at risk.

Moreover, owing to a lack of modern treatment plants in many cities, especially in Africa and Asia, sewage is being dumped into rivers and canals, where it eventually runs off into the oceans, introducing large amounts of plastic particles and toxins. The tons of trash dumped daily into streets, backyards, rivers, beaches, and coastal areas also end up in the oceans. Many of these products, such as grocery bags and bottled-water containers, contain hazardous chemicals that are eaten by fish and then consumed by people, leading to a wide range of health issues.

Fixing these problems will require cooperation at all levels. It will also require new resources, and not just to repair eroded coastlines and prepare for rising seas and extreme weather. We must crack down on illegal fishing, fund research, and develop lower-carbon sea transportation and sustainable seafood production. Moreover, we urgently need to devise better methods of plastic collection and forms of reusable packaging, while improving wastewater treatment and storm-water management to keep plastics and other waste out of the waterways in the first place.

Saving the oceans should not be an afterthought. More than three billion people depend on the oceans for their livelihoods. Ocean and coastal resources and industries contribute about $3 trillion per year (5% of world GDP) to the global economy and offer huge potential for further growth, job creation, and innovation. Oceans are also a major source of renewable energy and natural resources. Their environmental value is huge. Oceans have taken up between 20-30% of human-induced carbon dioxide emissions since the 1980s. They produce over half of the world’s oxygen, and transport heat from the equator to the poles, thus regulating our climate.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/european-investment-bank-ocean-sustainability-projects-by-emma-navarro-2019-10

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The Fight for Ocean Health - Project Syndicate

15 February 2017 - JOSÉ MARÍA FIGUERES, ET AL call on government, business and citizens to unite and take action to save marine ecosystems.

By José María Figueres, former President of Costa Rica, Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission; Pascal Lamy, a former director-general of the World Trade Organization, a Global Ocean Commissioner and John D. Podesta, Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001 and the founder of the Center for American Progress

15 February 2017 - The ocean is changing – and not for the better. Well-established scientific evidence shows that it is becoming emptier, warmer, and more acidic, putting marine life under serious pressure. But there is good news: evidence also indicates that the ocean can regenerate, and the world has already agreed to enable that outcome.

The Sustainable Development Goal for the Ocean (SDG 14) was adopted by world leaders in September 2015 as part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It includes vital targets, such as mitigating ocean acidification, securing habitat and species protections, reducing pollution substantially, and ending illegal fishing and subsidies that lead to overfishing.

Ultimately, SDG 14 promises to preserve the ocean and ensure its sustainable use in the future. But it can be realized only with bold and urgent action, buttressed by solidarity among governments, citizens, and business.

This week, governments and experts are gathering in New York to begin crafting a global “call for action” to implement SDG 14. The call, which will be launched in June, at the UN’s first-ever Ocean Conference, should include a firm commitment to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030, and ensure that the remaining 70% is sustainably managed. UN member states must also pledge to secure the extension of legal protections to high-seas biodiversity by closing the gaping governance loophole that exposes the ocean to plunder.

There is one more priority area that the call for action must address: climate change. In fact, a healthy ocean will be impossible to secure without also addressing this pressing global challenge. Achieving SDG 14 therefore demands that the international community reaffirm its commitment to the Paris climate agreement, and to announce concrete steps toward achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

To avoid more empty promises, all commitments must be backed up by a clear financing plan and subjected to regular accountability checks. Governments, the UN, and other actors should set a schedule for monitoring and check-ins, to keep delivery of the targets transparent, funded, and on schedule.

To support these efforts, we urge UN Secretary-General António Guterres to appoint a Special Representative for the Ocean, tasked with improving ocean governance and ensuring that the full potential of SDG 14 is realized. Such a representative must be given sufficient resources to do the job.

The ocean has suffered decades of abuse and neglect. It has been treated as a free-for-all garbage bin and race-to-the-bottom buffet. We have financed its destruction, with no regard for the consequences. But those consequences have become impossible to ignore. While we, as previous global ocean commissioners, had to campaign hard in 2014 for the ocean to have its own dedicated global goal, it is now hard to believe that the ocean’s position in the SDGs was ever in question. That is the sense that we should have in 2030, when the targets of SDG 14 are fully met.

The only way to get there is through concerted effort – and not just by the likes of ocean commissioners. People everywhere must stand up and demand real action to ensure the ocean’s regeneration. In short, the ocean must become everyone’s business.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/un-sdg-14-ocean-regeneration-by-jose-maria-figueres-et-al-2017-02