Ocean Action Hub

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Piracy and high seas crime growing, becoming more sophisticated, UN Security Council told

8 Feb 2019 - International maritime crime including illegal fishing in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans is becoming “increasingly sophisticated” according to the UN anti-drugs and crime chief.

5 Feb 2019 - International maritime crime is becoming “increasingly sophisticated” as criminal groups exploit jurisdiction and enforcement challenges on the high seas and pose “immediate danger to people’s lives and safety”, the UN anti-drugs and crime chief warned the Security Council on Tuesday.

“Two-thirds of the world’s surface is ocean. Nearly all of that is beyond any State’s territorial waters and largely not subject to a single state criminal jurisdiction,” Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said as he briefed the Council’s first-ever debate targeting the global challenge of transnational maritime crime.

Speaking via video conference from UNODC headquarters in Vienna, he spotlighted the root causes of transnational organized crime at sea and the linkages between terrorism, piracy and illegal trafficking.

“The high seas are open for vessels of all countries, both coastal and landlocked, to support international trade and economic cooperation, contact among peoples and the responsible use of natural resources” he maintained. “However, in recent years the freedom of navigation is being exploited by criminal groups.”

“Maritime crime by its nature involves vessels, cargoes, crews, victims and illicit money flows from many regions”, he explained, adding that UNODC’s counter-piracy programme grew from its success off the coast of Somalia, which has been plagued by high-seas crimes such as piracy, robbery and smuggling.

UNODC continues to support trials in Kenya and Seychelles, as well as the humane and secure imprisonment of convicted pirates and has completed the first phase of the Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex, which will be handed over to the Somali Government shortly.

He said that through public/private cooperation, UNODC has made advancements through the Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime, which coordinates the response to heroin and charcoal smuggling that is funding terrorist groups and the Contact Group on Maritime Crime in the Sulu and Celebes Sea.

The agency also supports inter-regional cooperation against criminal activities at sea; is working to secure the container trade supply chain; and is combatting terrorism, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, wildlife and fisheries crime, firearms trafficking and emerging crimes.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/02/1032011?_lrsc=36794fe4-cbdf-4cf8-8906-3e7e07efd1ea

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Coral reefs can’t wait for world to take action, urges UN, at Biodiversity Conference

16 Nov 2018 - New coalition to raise alarm about the urgent need to protect coral reefs from extinction within decades, to galvanize global leadership before it's too late.

16 Nov 2018 - UN NEWS - Sounding the alarm about the urgent need to protect coral reefs from extinction within decades, a new coalition of organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was launched on Wednesday in Egypt during the UN Biodiversity Conference, to galvanize global leadership before it is too late.

“It’s clear to anyone who puts their head below the waves that the fate of the world’s coral reefs is hanging in the balance,” said UNEP chief Erik Solheim. “At the moment these undersea explosions of colour and life face an extremely bleak future.”

Coral reefs provide food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people around the world, support more than a quarter of all marine life, and protect communities and coastlines from natural disasters — and if urgent action is not taken, they could be lost forever.  

Eight international organisations have joined forces to advocate for decisive action to protect these natural wonders: UNEP, the International Coral Reef Initiative, the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Vulcan Inc., the Ocean Agency, and the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

“The expectations for this coalition could not be higher. Coral reef protection must become a global priority. Coral reefs need a better deal,” said Mr. Solheim, who unveiled the new partnership in the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm El Sheikh. Dozens of ministers whose countries are party to the CBD are gathering there, together with experts and representatives of civil society organisations, to start a two-year process to adopt a global framework for protecting biodiversity, including coral reefs, around the world.

The conference, which opened on Tuesday and will continue until 29 November 2018, is a platform for decision-makers from more than 190 countries to make commitments and step up efforts to halt the biodiversity loss and protect the ecosystems that support health, and food and water security for billions of people worldwide.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: 

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At UN, Pacific leaders warn climate change poses security threat to their countries and marine resources
27 Sept 2018 - Ensuring sustainable development and surmounting the ‘devastating impacts’ of climate change were on the top of the agenda at the UN General Assembly.

27 Sept 2018 - Ensuring sustainable development and surmounting the ‘devastating impacts’ of climate change were on the top of the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, where King Tupou VI of Tonga was joined by a host of other Pacific Island leaders calling for action on what they saw as “the defining issue of our time”.

Ensuring Sustainable development and surmounting the ‘devastating impacts’ of climate change were on the top of the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, where King Tupou VI of Tonga was joined by a host of other Pacific Island leaders calling for action on what they saw as “the defining issue of our time”.

“In contributing towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its landmark Goals (SDGs), including the internationally agreed blueprint for the sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS), the SAMOA Pathway, Tonga has made both accords an integral part of its national planning processes,” he said on Wednesday.

He emphasized the importance of the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, which he pointed out will review the SAMOA Pathway in 2019.

“Climate change continues to pose significant security threats to us as island States,” he said, noting with concern “the devastating impacts of climate change on our marine environment.”

He welcomed the establishment at the initiation of German and Nauru of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security “to further highlight the nexus between the threats of climate change with threats to international peace and security.”

He stressed that despite the effects of sea level rise, Tonga’s territorial boundaries, established under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, should remain unchanged.

“Our Sovereignty must not be compromised by climate change and we welcome the work of the International Law Commission on this critically important and timely issue for consideration of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly,” he said, referring to the Assembly’s standing body that deals with legal issues.

He was looking forward to the 24th Session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December to address the adverse impacts of climate change and the need for innovation in adaptation for small island developing States.

“Finally,” he said, “sustainable development, whether it be, [among others], through good health and well-being, climate action, life below water, or affordable and clean energy, can only be realized through international peace and security.”

“We continue to look to the Security Council to protect the innocent from threats to international peace and security in whatever form, be they traditional threats such as armed conflict, or newer threats like climate change, to ensure no one is left behind,” concluded King Tupou VI.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/09/1020811

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Healthy oceans, safe climate imperative for small islands to survive, Pacific island leaders tell UN

20 Sept 2017 – As the high-level segment of the United Nations General Assembly continued today, Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru, expressed deep sorrow and condolences to those who

20 Sept 2017 – As the high-level segment of the United Nations General Assembly continued today, Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru, expressed deep sorrow and condolences to those who have suffered from the recent successive hurricanes in the Caribbean and United States and earthquakes in Mexico, stressing that “your suffering and grief is shared by us all.”

Mr. Waqa agreed that the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) be at the centre of the coming year’s work, underscoring that the five words – ‘people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership’ – which guide the goals, are broad enough to encompass collective ideals, while accommodating tremendous diversity.

“In the case of Nauru, our status as a small island developing State underlies every aspect of the lives of my people,” he said.

Noting that Nauru was among the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement, the President pointed out that “more than most, our prospects depend on a stable planet, including a safe climate and healthy oceans.”

“Climate change will be the defining security challenge of the century and we are simply not prepared for life on a hotter planet,” Mr. Waqa asserted. For that reason, Nauru supports the appointment of a UN Special Representative on Climate and Security.

He also urged that the mounting threats to the health of the world’s oceans be tackled ambitiously. Pointing to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as a great threat and economic loss to his country’s small economy, he emphasized that “security of our Oceans is a problem which must also be tackled by us all.

Read more: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57624#.WcON79OGORt

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UN Ocean Conference wraps up with actions to restore ocean health, protect marine life

9 Jun 2017 – The first-ever United Nations summit on oceans today wrapped up with a global agreement to reverse the decline of the ocean's health, and more than 1,300 pledged actions

for protecting the blue.

“The bar has been raised on global consciousness and awareness of the problem in the oceans,” the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, told journalists in New York.

Mr. Thomson, whose native Fiji co-sponsored the event along with Sweden, said the organizers got what they wanted from the conference: “I'm 100 per cent satisfied with the results of this conference. Our aim was high. Our aim was to start the reversal of the cycle.”

The Ocean Conference ends today with the adoption by consensus of a 14-point Call for Action where the participating Heads of State and Government and senior representatives “affirm our strong commitment to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources tor sustainable development.”

Speaking alongside Mr. Thomson, the Secretary-General of The Ocean Conference, Wu Hongbo, said the negotiated document lists specific measures “to galvanize global commitment and partnerships” for the oceans.

The main points from the political document and this week's discussions will be part of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the UN's central body for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in September 2015. The HLPF is scheduled to meet next month in New York.

In addition to the political Call for Action, participants – who also included thousands of civil society representatives, academics, artists, financial institutions and other practitioners and activists – pledged actions to conserve and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources. This is the goal of SDG14.

By Friday afternoon, more than 1,300 voluntary commitments had already been registered.

Calling the figure “truly impressive,” Mr. Wu, who is also UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, underscored that the commitments now comprise “an ocean solution registry.”

'It's all of us or nothing'

The week-long conference, where some 6,000 people participated, was the first time that the UN brought everyone together to discuss the challenges facing the world's oceans.

“When it comes to the ocean, it's the common heritage of humankind. There's no North-South, East-West when it comes to the ocean,” Mr. Thomson said. “If the ocean is dying, it's dying on all of us.”

The senior official underscored that by “getting the wheels turning” on SDG 14, the conference helped push forward action on all 17 SDGs. finance ocean science, but much more is required to fill the capacity gaps,” he explained.

Topics that were discussed ranged from plastic pollution in the oceans and seas to ocean acidification and illegal fishing – which tie in with topics of alleviating poverty, ending hunger, promoting health, ensuring access to water and sanitation, and so on.

Mr. Thomson attributed the success of the conference to the “wonderful way” in which all the different participants came together to discuss and work together.

He lauded the “openness to civil society, to the science sector, to private society” in breaking down the typical divisions between governments and other sectors. “There's no them and us. It's all of us or nothing.”

In addition to eight plenary meetings and seven partnership dialogues, The Ocean Conference included 150 side events, 41 exhibitions and interviews at the SDG Media Zone.

These included events with New Oceans Advocate and globally-acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter Cody Simpson, as well as Marine biologist Douglas McCauley, Aboriginal artist Sid Bruce Short Joe and Spanish philanthropist Álvaro de Marichalar, for example.

The mix of personalities and strong support for action brought “creativity and a sense of unity” to the action for oceans, said conference co-chairwoman, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden Isabelle Lovin.

CONTINUE READING HERE: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56947#.WT_x1hPyuRs

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Next month's ocean conference eyes cutting $35 billion in fisheries subsidies – UNCTAD

10 May 2017 – Harmful fishing subsidies that contribute to overfishing are estimated to be as high as $35 billion, one of the key issues for discussion at the Ocean Conference. 

10 May 2017 – Harmful fishing subsidies that contribute to overfishing are estimated to be as high as $35 billion, fisheries experts from the United Nations trade and development agency today said, highlighting one of the key issues that will be debated at next month's Ocean Conference. 

“If you consider that the total export of fish and seafood products is $146 billion, we are talking about that of each $5 in fish products, $1 is subsidized,” David Vivas of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) told reporters in Geneva.

“So it's not a small amount. People are paying very expensively for a fish. They pay it by the dish and with their taxes,” continued Mr. Vivas, a Legal Affairs Officer in UNCTAD's Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch.

This financial motivation creates “a race to the bottom” as fleets compete against each other to harvest increasing amounts of fish – at a time when seafood is already a scarce resource.

The subsidies “create incentives to deplete resources faster than if there weren't the subsidies,” Mr. Vivas said.

The international community is harvesting fish at unsustainable biological levels, according to UNCTAD. The Mediterranean Sea is about 70 per cent exploited; the Black Sea 90 per cent.

Roughly 56 per cent of all fish products come from wild harvest, with the remaining amount farmed, according to figures cited by the UN. 

“The demand remains quite strong, mainly from the Asian region. Hence countries are not only going to NY to consider, issuing a political signal,” said Lucas Assunçao in reference to The Ocean Conference, “they are very concerned about this considerable market.” 

The topic of fishery subsidies is “very contentious,” said Mr. Assunçao, who heads UNCTAD's Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch. 

It involves requesting countries to provide information on what subsidies they provide and prohibiting those that contribute to overfishing, as well as potentially giving differential treatment to developing countries. 

UNCTAD is working towards a multilateral fisheries agreement that will be discussed at The Ocean Conference in New York in early June, and finalized at the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires this December. 

The idea of such an agreement has support from a number of countries and regional blocs, including the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group (ACP), the European Union, and Pakistan. 

In addition to fishery subsidies, the UN trade agency is focusing in illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, and access to markets.

“Not all countries participate equally,” Mr. Assunçao said of the nearly $150 billion market for fish and marine products. “[The oceans are] a global common good that is not benefitting all countries that have coasts in equitable ways.” 

Some Governments have said that they will use The Ocean Conference as an opportunity to seek access to bigger markets. The issue is of particular concern for Pacific and Caribbean island states where processing and transporting goods is often more expensive.

The main areas of work at the Ocean Conference will be a political call to action, a segment on partnership dialogues and voluntary commitments. Continue reading: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56725#.WRXqZhiZORu

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UN announces first-ever World Ocean Festival

11 April 2017 – The inaugural World Ocean Festival will kick off The Ocean Conference in June, with activists and enthusiasts taking to the streets – and waterways – of New York.

11 April 2017 – UN NEWS CENTRE - With global leaders heading to the United Nations for a major conference in June on the protection and sustainable use of the planet’s oceans, the UN today announced that the inaugural World Ocean Festival will kick off the week-long event, with activists and enthusiasts taking to the streets – and waterways – of New York City to raise their voices to reverse the declining health of our oceans.

At a joint press briefing at UN Headquarters today, Penny Abeywardena, the Commissioner of the (New York City) Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, joined Peter Thompson, President of the UN General Assembly, to announce the first-ever Festival which will be held on Sunday, 4 June, the day before the opening of The Ocean Conference, which will run from 5 to 9 June.

The Festival, organized by the Global Brian Foundation, will galvanize people across the world to bring public attention to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 14, on conservation and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, “right here in New York City, a premier coastal city,” said Ms. Abeywardena.

“Through these gatherings, people will come together to catalyze specific steps we can take as a community to preserve our oceans and engage our citizens and in particular, our young people,” she said, adding that, with 520 miles (about 835 kilometres) of coastline, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration recognizes the need for cities to lead on protecting the planet from degradation through sustainable consumption and effective management of the world’s natural resources and mitigating the worst impacts of climate change.

For his part, Assembly President Thomson said New York City is a model not only in the United States but around the world of what cities can do in integrating the SDGs with their urban development planning, drawing attention to Mayor de Blasio’s ‘One NYC’ initiative.

As for the Conference, he said “the ocean is in deep trouble,” facing threats such as marine pollution; fishery subsidies at a time when fish stocks are collapsing; and degraded coastal ecosystems planet-wide. “The Ocean Conference is [a timely opportunity] to address these major woes humanity has put upon the ocean,” he continued, adding that it also will provide an opportunity to think about the impacts of climate change. 

“With ocean acidification, we’re already seeing the effects of this; its serious business in Oregon and Washington state and its spreading around the world and is also serious business for the tropics, where because of rising temperatures life is leaving our waters because it is too hot,” explained Mr. Thomson, noting that 40 per cent of the cause of rising sea levels is due to the fact that oceans are heating up. 

And yet “all human problems have human solutions and that’s what the Ocean Conference is about, working to find what the solutions are,” he emphasized, noting that UN Member States are currently making good progress on the ‘call to action’ that would be agreed by the Conference. Further, in addition to a plenary, the Conference would also feature seven partnership dialogues focused on SDG 14. 

Mr. Thomson went on to highlight the registry of voluntary commitments, to which the UN was urging all stakeholders and “everybody who gives a hoot about the ocean” to register to between now and the Conference “so that you stand and be counted in our call to action to reverse the cycle of decline in which the ocean has been caught.” The roll of the media is important in all this, to get the word out about the state of the planet’s oceans “but also that we’re doing something about it.” 

Natalia Vega-Berry, founder of the Global Brain Foundation and Executive Producer of the World Ocean Festival said the event will aim to show world leaders gathering for the UN conference the urgency for taking action. “Our ocean is a connective tissue for the world’s entire population. It makes planet Earth and us all one, as we are surrounded by shores. At the same time, our ocean is at great risk of pollution, overfishing, climate change and more.” 

While coastal cities and island nations feel the most pressing burden of such threats, she said that the Festival will aim to bring together all people who care deeply about the oceans’ future to “raise their voices in support of the ocean and call on world leaders to take action to save it.” 

She said that while the Festival will be held in New York, other cities could also be inspired to organize their own events.

New York’s festival will feature a first-of-its kind grand “ocean march,” which will be a parade of sailing vessels around lower Manhattan and along 10 nautical miles of Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfront from the Hudson to the East River. The second main event will be the Ocean Village, which will be set up at Gentry State Park in Long Island City as a “hub for all things ocean,” and will celebrate art, innovation and exhibits on ocean and climate action.

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In Senegal, UN GA President calls for sustainable management of marine resources in West Africa

28 Mar 2017 – “Understanding and acting upon the perspectives and expectations of artisanal fishers is an important component of SDG 14", he said.

 

28 Mar 2017 – Visiting a traditional fishing community in Senegal, the President of the United Nations General Assembly has called on the countries in the region to prioritize conserving and sustainably managing their marine resources.

“I learned a lot today about how ocean issues like acidification, rising temperatures, overfishing and marine pollution affect the daily lives of fishermen,” said Assembly President Peter Thomson.

Mr. Thomson is currently in Senegal as part of his visit to several African countries to build momentum towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of which specifically deals with the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.

“Understanding and acting upon the perspectives and expectations of artisanal fishers is an important component of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) that will be covered in The Ocean Conference this June,” added the UN official.

Being held from 5 to 9 June at the UN Headquarters, in New York, the Conference aims to reverse the decline in the health of oceans for the benefit of the people and the planet. CONTINUE READING HERE: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56450#.WNz9LBjMyRs

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FEATURE: Humanity at the core as UN readies for first-ever Ocean Conference

22 Mar 2017 – Over a year ago, on 20 February 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston made a category 5 landfall along the north coa

22 Mar 2017 – Over a year ago, on 20 February 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston made a category 5 landfall along the north coast of Fiji's largest, most populous island, Viti Levu, killing at least 44 people, and grounding flights to and from the Pacific Island nation.

“It was one of the strongest cyclones to have hit any country in the Southern Hemisphere,” recalls Mr. Semi Koroilavesau, Fijian Minister for Fisheries. “That was quite catastrophic for Fiji and we are still recovering from it,” he adds, sombrely.

Mr. Koroilavesau was speaking recently at a panel discussion on the margins of the first preparatory meeting – convened by the President of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York – for the first-ever UN Ocean Conference, to be co-hosted by the Governments of Fiji and Sweden, from 5 June to 9 June 2017.

“Our ocean is warming up and changing the pattern of our main product, which is tuna,” said Mr. Koroilavesau underlining the significance of the ocean to the Fijian people.

“The migratory pattern has changed because of the conditions of the water. The degradation of the water is also depleting our resources and creating a lot of havoc in our ocean,” he told the high-level panel, which included Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, and Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General and head of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

“Fiji has about 320 islands. Ocean is quite an important item to us both in our daily lives and… also as transportation between the islands,” said Mr. Koroilavesau.

In the run-up to the June Conference, four themes will shape the focus of the preparations – discussions, networks and partnerships – which, according to the President of the UN General Assembly, “will lay the foundations upon which the Oceans Conference will stand.”

“Our efforts at this time and in the years ahead, will determine whether our children, and those who come after them, will know the joy and the sustenance of the oceans bounty that was provided to us in our youth. Let’s not deny them that bounty,” Mr. Thomson had said earlier, in a message that resonated strongly with the theme for the month of February, which is People and Oceans, with a focus on livelihoods, tourism, food security, maritime transport and trade.

“Whether you look at the declining fish stocks that are reaching a tipping point, or the ocean acidification level or whether you look at the level of plastics in our oceans, I think any sensible person can conclude that time is running out fast and we need to take action fast,” said Mr. Thomson, during the preparatory meeting.

SDG14 and the whole development agenda

Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo underlined the nexus between oceans and people, especially in the context of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which has to do with conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

“When we talk about SDG 14, we are thinking about navigation in the sea, we think about catching fish in the sea for food, we are thinking about doing tourism, but that is not all. Health of the sea and sustainable use of marine resources have a direct impact in the implementation of the many SDGs,” noted Mr. Wu, calling for voluntary commitments to implement Goal 14.

Noting that SDG 14 is one of the vanguards for the whole Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, Mr. Wu also makes the connection between oceans and the goal to eliminate hunger. “We are actually receiving a lot of nutrition and the food from the sea so we have to protect the sea,” said Mr. Wu.

Besides food and nutrition, Mr. Wu pointed out the significant contribution of the ocean to people’s overall wellbeing and in mitigating the effects of climate change.

The ocean and the sea are the natural regulator of our climate and they are good for sanitation,” noted the UN Under-Secretary-General. “People are saying that the oceans sink one third of greenhouse gas emission. If we lose the sea and oceans, just imagine what kind of situation we are going to have,” warned Mr. Wu, who also made a connection between oceans, employment and economic growth.

I think the best or sustainable use of marine resources would really have a big boost to the economic growth and create a lot of jobs,” said Mr. Wu.

Transformative commitments to drive Conference outcomes

The outcomes of the Oceans Conference will, according to the President of the UN General Assembly, include a call to action and a conference report that will constitute the global body’s work plan for implementing the SDG 14.

“We must keep our vision clear. We must universalise our efforts. We must maintain the momentum towards the transformative commitments that will emerge from the Oceans Conference in June,” underscored Mr. Thomson during the first preparatory meeting.

Mr. Thomson places particular significance to the outcomes of the Ocean Conference which, he noted, would constitute “a turning point in history.”

“This is the opportunity for any human being to be a part of the recovery of the ocean. For any human being who cares about the health of the ocean,” said Mr. Thomson, during the meeting.

Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin sees the Ocean Conference as an opportunity to “share experiences, share best practices,” she told the high-level panel. “This Ocean Conference will be the hub where we can actually share this knowledge, also transfer technology, and support developing countries so they will have access and the capacity to share the way that is needed for the oceans because the oceans connect us all,” she said.

Ms. Lövin also expressed concerns about unsustainable exploitation of ocean resources and pollution, warning, “If these trends continue, with the overfishing, with more and more plastic pollution in our oceans, we will have more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050.”

Like her fellow panellists, she made an urgent call to action. “It’s really, really serious so this is what we have to do now in order to leave our planet with good conscious to our children and grandchildren,” she said, adding, “We need to take action now and we can do it. We don’t have any excuses for not doing it.”

The UN has called for voluntary commitments to implement Goal 14 and established an online commitment registry. The voluntary commitments, according to Under-Secretary-General Wu, “underscore the urgency for action and for solutions.”

Other themes in focus every month ahead of the Ocean conference include: Ocean Pollution (marine litter, land-based water pollutants, shipping waste, oil spills); Marine Biodiversity (overfishing, marine habitat loss, species loss); and Oceans and Climate Change (sea-level rise, ocean warming, ocean acidification, coral bleaching).

CONTINUE READING: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56401#.WNPcRRLyscg

Photo: UNEP/ Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR

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UN kicks off preparations for upcoming summit on oceans, launches voluntary commitment website

15 February 2017 – The world dumps the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute, the United Nations heard today at the start of a two-day meeting to prepare f

15 February 2017 – The world dumps the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute, the United Nations heard today at the start of a two-day meeting to prepare for this June's Ocean Conference that will aim to help safeguard the planet's oceans and help them recover from human-induced problems. 

“When leaders from across Governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector, and the scientific and academic communities, gather together in New York, from 5-9 June for The Ocean Conference, we will be witness to a turning point,” the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, told the participants, who also included the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and the Minister for Fisheries of Fiji, the countries co-hosting the conference. 

“We will witness the point in history when humanity truly began the process of reversing the cycle of decline that accumulated human activity has brought upon the Ocean,” Mr. Thomson added. 

The high-level Oceans Conference aims to get everyone involved in conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically  Goal 14

The UN has called for voluntary commitments to implement Goal 14 and today launched an online commitment registry which has its first three commitments – the Swedish Government, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and Peaceboat, a non-governmental organization. The site will be up through the end of the Conference, which starts on World Environment Day, marked annually on 5 June, and includes 8 June, celebrated as World Oceans Day.

The voluntary commitments “underscore the urgency for action and for solutions,” said Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, who heads the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs and serves as the Secretary-General of the Conference. 

CONTINUE READING: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56179#.WKcY4hh0eRs

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