Mon. Jul 15th, 2024
UN Ocean Conference 2022Image Credits: AP

Ahead of the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon on the 27th of June, UN Chief Antonio Guterres warned that the world faces an “ocean crisis” and urged the international community to commit to protecting our seas.

Co-hosted by Kenya and Portugal, the event aims to address challenges that the world’s water bodies (oceans and seas, primarily) face.

“Our failures to care for the ocean will have ripple effects across the entire 2030 Agenda,” the UN Chief said.

While elaborating upon how the seas have been hammered by climate change and pollution, he mentions that “we have taken the ocean for granted.”

“I am urging all participants at the UN Ocean Conference to right these wrongs and do our part for the ocean. We must take action and turn the tide,” he added.

According to the United Nations, some major threats to the oceans include acidification, pollution, and global warming.

The five-day Ocean Conference aims to restore the health of the oceans, which cover roughly 70% of the Earth’s surface and provide a living for millions of people.

Furthermore, activists, along with the Ocean Rebellion group, held a demonstration on a Lisbon beach on Monday. Placards that read, “As the sea dies, we die,” can be seen.

According to the UN, the conference offers an “important opportunity” to accelerate steps towards a high seas’ treaty, despite frustration.

The treaty has been negotiated within the framework of the United Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is a fundamental international agreement governing human maritime activities. However, even after 10 years of talks, including the fourth round of negotiations in New York three months ago, an agreement is still not within our sight.

“The world’s largest ecosystem… is still unprotected and is dying as we watch,” the Ocean Rebellion group said.

Scientists have observed that a stark reduction in greenhouse gases is direly needed to restore ocean health.

Additionally, UN chief Antonio Guterres has urged all governments and companies to commit more funds to ensure the creation of a sustainable economic model. As financing models for maritime conservation are also on the agenda this year.

Apart from financing models, global fisheries will be in the spotlight during this conference. As Kathryn Matthews, chief scientist at the United States based non-profit Oceana, told AFP news agency, “at least one third of the wild fish stocks are overfished and less than ten percent of the ocean is protected.”

Recommendations

The Secretary General has made a few recommendations-

He called for investing in sustainable ocean economies for food, renewable energy and livelihoods through long-term funding. Stressing on the 14th Sustainable Development Goal, he said, “Sustainable Ocean management could help the ocean produce as much as six times more food and generate 40 times more renewable energy than it currently does.”

Secondly, he emphasized the global commons. As he said, “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, from all land and sea-based sources.”

In addition, he called for the protection of oceans as well as the people whose livelihoods are directly dependent on them through investments in climate-resistant coastal infrastructure. (UN News)

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