The G7 should take the lead on ocean targets for 2020

United Nations Whale 2018

United Nations Sri Lanka-Image Credit – Aleš Reich / @AlesReich.

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Peter Thomson, United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean, United Nations

Seven of the world’s most powerful heads of state are meeting in Quebec. Fortunately, their host Canada has put saving the ocean at the heart of their discussions. I believe this meeting could be a watershed moment in our race to meet critical Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) ocean targets by 2020. Just two years remain.

My message to the leaders of the G7 on World Ocean Day: this is your chance. If you send a strong signal on the ocean, you will fast-track solutions to our planet’s most pressing challenges: climate change, food security, economic stability and pollution. You will spur the private sector and other non-state actors into innovation, investment, job creation and scaling up existing actions.

The stars are aligned for success in our mission to revive the ocean. Nations, organizations, businesses and citizens are rallying around marine challenges like never before. From marine plastic pollution to protecting the Arctic and conserving coral reefs, the ocean has never been so prevalent in the media. Momentum keeps growing. Global consciousness has been stirred to action, but this is no sudden event. It is the result of decades of awareness-raising by scientists, activists and ocean allies everywhere. If we miss this moment, and this constellation of opportunities, we will betray not only our long-suffering ocean, but also the collective will of humanity. The people have spoken: they want to save the ocean.

I am optimistic that we will succeed, and that by 2030 we will have healed our sometimes toxic relationship with our seas, transforming it to one of respect and balance. My confidence springs from the fact that we have a comprehensive, universally agreed plan: Sustainable Development Goal 14 ‘Life below water’ and its ten specific targets. Thanks to this global framework, I have witnessed an unprecedented swell of initiatives over the last 12 months, since we issued a call to action at the United Nations on World Oceans Day 2017. Around the world, there are myriad solutions that are making a difference. These need to be accelerated and expanded, fast. That’s where the G7 can help.

Four of the SDG14 targets are due to be met by 2020. These should be a priority at the G7 talks. Two of them relate to fishing: the pledge to restore fish stocks to sustainable levels by ending overfishing, IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and destructive fishing practices, and the pledge to prohibit subsidies that contribute to these harmful forms of fishing. The major fishing nations of the G7 can make or break our chances of achieving these targets.

They can set, and meet, an ambitious G7 minimum target for domestic overfishing. They can form and invest in partnerships with developing states to accelerate the transfer of marine surveillance and enforcement technologies to areas most at risk from IUU fishing, and they can take a firm stance on prohibiting harmful fisheries subsidies, both now and at the WTO in 2019. Subsidising harmful fishing with up to $30 billion every year is throwing good money after bad, by propping up destructive fishing that would otherwise be unprofitable. It’s time to pull the plug.

The other two 2020 targets are aimed squarely at marine conservation: to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems, build their resilience and take action for their restoration, and to conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas. Thanks to the creation of huge new marine protected areas (MPAs) by the UK, USA, Chile, Mexico and others, in the last 12 months another 6.6 million square kilometres have been added to the world’s network of MPAs. This now covers 7.26% of the ocean. The G7 countries that are lagging behind on this goal could make up the difference, and give us a clear win to celebrate in 2020.

The G7 wield enormous political and economic power. I hope they will listen to their citizens and scientists, and reaffirm their SDG14 promises. I hope they will commit to initiatives and investments that can turn multiple ripples around the world into a giant wave of action to meet the 2020 ocean targets. Because, whether you are from a small island in the South Pacific like me, or a vast northern land like our G7 hosts, there is no secure, sustainable future possible without a healthy ocean. We all have a duty – and certainly the the world’s most powerful, wealthy nations do – to keep our promises to the blue half of our planet.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Focus on EU’s external action and building our stronger inner core: von der Leyen at the Special European Council

EU to finance new investment projects with extra borrowing; French and Italian deficits to be tolerated

How responsible businesses can step forward to fight coronavirus

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Italy’s populist government appears determined to drive EU economy and markets into recession

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

4 ways governments can support start-ups and save their economies

UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Afghanistan

The Indian miracle state pointing the way to global sustainability

How studying genetics and lifestyle can shape a healthier MENA region

Trade: EU-Singapore agreement to enter into force on 21 November 2019

‘Grave consequences’ await if new deadly escalation of violence in Gaza continues – top UN official

EU Parliament approves CETA: the EU-Canada free trade deal sees the light in Trump’s gloomy era

Writing a new story in gender inequalities: women gaining space and respect in medicine

Asia and Pacific on course to miss all Sustainable Development Goals, says UN region chief

Unanswered questions for Europe’s youth in President Juncker’s State of Union

INTERVIEW: UN’s top official in North Korea foresees ‘surge’ in humanitarian aid

Despite progress, companies face gender equality ‘backlash’: UN business body

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

ITU Telecom World 2016: it’s all about working together

We’re facing a ‘cold crunch,’ and it’s nothing to do with the polar vortex

How we can build our way out of the crisis

Suffering of thousands of war-affected Syrian children ‘unprecedented and unacceptable’

FROM THE FIELD: India’s plastic waste revolution

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

Can the EU afford to block China’s business openings to Europe by denying her the ‘market economy status’?

Worldwide UN family celebrates enduring universal values of human rights

How bad is the Eurozone economy? The ECB thinks too bad

6.1 billion EUR for sustainable fisheries and safeguarding fishing communities

Libya: Attack on foreign ministry, an attack on all Libyans, stresses UN envoy

Coldplay stop touring to save the world: is pop music going sustainable?

These are the world’s most tree-covered countries

Pakistan: UN strongly condemns terrorist attack that leaves scores dead and wounded at election rally

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to Combat Climate Change

First calls under Horizon Europe to be launched by the European Research Council

Women ‘vital’ to peace efforts and ensuring long-lasting stability in Afghanistan

Amazon wildfires are tomorrow’s breathtaker

UN chief condemns explosion at election rally in Zimbabwe that injured dozens, including senior politicians

This incredibly detailed map of Africa could help aid and development

EU Citizenship Report: empowering citizens and protecting their rights

Use “blockchain” model to cut small firms’ costs and empower citizens, urge MEPs

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

115 rejections and no pay. What it really takes to be an entrepreneur

What Mary Poppins teaches us about behavioural economics

The economic cost of anti-vaccination movements in Italy

Medical students and their ability to edify women’s rights

Reconciliation helps ‘repair fractures’, enable lasting peace, Security Council hears

The challenge to be a good healthcare professional

Drought in Europe: Member States agree on support measures proposed by the Commission

State aid: Commission approves €24.7 million of Italian support to compensate Alitalia for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

This is the world’s greenest football club – and you’ve probably never even heard of it

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

11 lessons the history of business can teach us about its future

The road ahead to building a more sustainable world

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

Mental health and suicide prevention: the contradictory access in a reference city of southern Brazil

Coronavirus: a common path to Europe’s safe re-opening

UN launches innovative programme to detect and disrupt terrorist travel

Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antibiotics

The World Bank’s 2020 country classifications explained

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s