‘We face a global emergency’ over oceans: UN chief sounds the alarm at G7 Summit event

G7 Canada/Xavier Dachez
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres is greeted by officals as he arrives in Canada for the G7 meeting.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Unless there is a change of course, the amount of plastic waste in the world’s oceans will outweigh the fish that live in them, by 2050, said the United Nations Secretary-General on Saturday, declaring that the world now faces a “global emergency” over the oceans.

“The facts are clear.  Our oceans are a mess,” said António Guterres at an outreach event, that was part of the Group of Seven – or G7 – Summit of industrialized nations, taking place over two days, in Charlevoix, Canada.

The G7 group of advanced economies, consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“Plastic waste is now found in the most remote areas of the planet.  It kills marine life and is doing major harm to communities that depend on fishing and tourism,” he added.

Pointing out that one mass of plastic in the Pacific is now bigger than France, Mr. Guterres welcomed the G7 Plastics Charter, agreed on Saturday, which is being seen by some observers as a Paris-style watershed moment for cleaning up ocean garbage, referencing the 2015 Agreement on climate change.

“But we all need to do so much more,” Mr. Guterres underscored, “not just on plastic waste but on all ocean issues.”

“Make no mistake, we are in a battle. And we are losing on every front,” he stressed.

The UN chief painted a picture of fish stocks being crippled by overfishing, vast coastal dead zones from pollution and untreated waste being discharged into the sea.

“And, to compound these issues, we have the growing impacts of climate change,” he asserted.

Ocean acidification is disrupting the marine food chain and record-level ocean temperatures are killing coral reefs and creating fiercer, more frequent storms.

Moreover, 40 per cent of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometres of a coast – leaving them vulnerable to storms, sea level rise and coastal erosion.

Low-lying island nations and many coastal cities are in jeopardy of inundation, the Secretary-General spelled out.

“Thankfully,” continued Mr. Guterres “we have a battle plan.”

“Our guide is the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], and especially Goal 14 with its 10 targets from addressing marine pollution and acidification, to ending overfishing and protecting ecosystems,” he elaborated.

“Our legal framework is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – the world’s ‘constitution for the oceans,’” he added.

Mr. Guterres noted that while last year’s Ocean Conference at UN Headquarters registered more than 1,300 commitments and partnerships, none of the initiatives and declarations are worth anything “unless we accept that we face a global emergency.”

“And that is why I am here today.  To sound the alarm.  To inject a sense of real urgency in your deliberations and decision-making,” he said.

“Your leadership is needed now, more than ever – on combatting land-based pollution; on creating marine protected areas; on reviving fisheries; on building the resilience of coastal ecosystems and communities, and, especially, on climate change,” he added.

He flagged that if our seas and oceans are not protected, and we lose the battle against climate change, all the assumptions on which our policy-making has been based “will be worthless”.

“Take seriously these threats to our global environment and understand that our collective future and security is at stake,” he concluded.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

A new world that demands new doctors in the fourth industrial revolution

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

“Beyond the beach: tackling plastic pollution upstream”, a Sting Exclusive by Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

International community makes important progress on the tax challenges of digitalisation

Copyright: European Union , 2017; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Frank Molter

EU hits deadlock on the future of glyphosate a month before deadline

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commissioner Mimica looks at how the private sector can better deliver for international development

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

3+1 issues to haunt tomorrow’s EU Summit

UN lauds special chemistry of the periodic table, kicking off 150th anniversary celebrations

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

Another 170 migrants disappear in shipwrecks, UN agency reiterates call for an end to Mediterranean tragedy

Counting unemployment in the EU: The real rate comes to anything between 16.1% and 20.6%

Idea of ‘homogenous’ Polish culture is a myth: UN human rights expert

Mali not fulfilling its ‘sovereign role’ in protecting its people: UN human rights expert

Syria: ‘Violence, displacement’ and cold kill 11 infants ‘in the past two days’

EU finally agrees on target for 40% greenhouse emission cuts ahead of Paris climate talks

‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’

Did young people just kill television?

At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, first UN global study shows

Korea must enhance detection and reinforce sanctions to boost foreign bribery enforcement

Iceland won’t talk with Brussels about EU accession

Security Council imposes arms embargo on South Sudan

UN chief ‘commends’ leadership of Greece and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as name dispute draws to final close

Asian and Pacific economies: decreases in tax revenue highlight need to broaden tax bases

The remote doctor, can it ever work?

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

Guatemala: UN anti-corruption body will continue working, as Constitutional Court blocks Government expulsion

Can the US deal a blow to EU and Russia together over Ukraine?

How do we build an ethical framework for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Greenpeace’s saints and sinners in the tech world

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

MEPs commend Ukraine‘s reform efforts and denounce Russian aggression

UN launches plan to promote peace, inclusive growth in Africa’s Sahel

New report says better metrics could have prompted stronger response to the crisis

EU Parliament semi worried over democratic deficit

Summer 2018 Interim Economic Forecast: Resilient Growth amid increased uncertainty

FROM THE FIELD: Enduring freezing winter in a war zone

Why this is the year we must take action on mental health

Celebrating the Customs Union: the world’s largest trading bloc turns 50

EP leaders call for negotiations on upgraded Transparency Register to continue

Reflections on the the biggest refugee crisis since World War II

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

Parliamentary bid to democratize Myanmar constitution a ‘positive development’ says UN rights expert

UN chief encourages victims of terrorism to ‘raise up their voices’

‘Deteriorating’ human rights in Belarus amounts to ‘wholescale oppression’: UN expert

Businesses succeed internationally

As human genome editing moves from the lab to the clinic, the ethical debate is no longer hypothetical

A Valentine’s Special: heart has nothing to do with it, it’s all Brain

Force used against protestors in Gaza ‘wholly disproportionate’ says UN human rights chief

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about to hit the construction industry. Here’s how it can thrive

UN expert calls for international investigation into ‘evident murder’ of Jamal Khashoggi

Azerbaijan chooses Greek corridor for its natural gas flow to EU

Unlock the value proposition for Connected Insurance

South Korea: A cherished partner for the EU

More billions needed to help Eurozone recover; ECB sidesteps German objections about QE

Moving from a promise made in Sweden towards hope for peace in Yemen

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