Promoting gender equality a ‘crucial contribution’ in effort to restore, protect our planet’s oceans

Arne Hoel/World Bank Oceans and seas are home to vast biodiversity. A woman in Entebbe, is photographed on the shores of Lake Victoria, Uganda.

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


Women are engaged in all aspects of interaction with our ocean, yet their voices are often missing at the decision-making level, the head of the United Nations cultural agency said on World Oceans Day, emphasizing that “we must ensure diversity and gender inclusiveness at all levels” to set a balanced course for humanity and foster innovative solutions for the ocean.

“We need to empower each and every citizen to take care of the ocean and enable all women to play transformative and ambitious roles in understanding, exploring, protecting and sustainably managing our ocean”, said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, pointing out that this year’s “special edition” of World Oceans Day links the themes of gender equality and ocean preservation.

Women engage in all aspects of ocean interaction, yet in many parts of the world, women’s contribution, both towards ocean-based livelihoods like fishing, and conservation efforts, are invisible and, gender inequality persists “from the marine industry to the field of ocean science”.

The UN says there is also very little data and research on these issues, and a concerted action towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is still needed in all ocean-related sectors to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5).

Not only is the ocean an increasingly important battleground for achieving gender equality, Ms. Azoulay said, “but building a more gender equal society also means empowering women and girls to be the actors of positive ocean change”.

Citing UNESCO’s Global Ocean Science Report, Ms. Azoulay highlighted that women represent only 38 per cent of all ocean scientists. And while women make up 50 per cent of the marine and coastal industries workforce, “their wages continue to be lower than those of men”.

“Mainstreaming gender equality throughout the Ocean Science Decade will help ensure that, by 2030, women as much as men are driving ocean science and management, helping to deliver the ocean we need for a prosperous, sustainable and environmentally secure future”, stressed the UNESCO chief.

Pointing out that it is the source of the world’s fresh water, she recalled in her message on Saturday that the ocean “produces half of the oxygen we breathe, and powerfully affects our climate”.

“Yet the ocean is endangered”, she lamented, saying that global warming, acidification, pollution, dead zones, harmful algal blooms and ecosystem degradation “reveal how far human activities have impacted on our oceans”.

Women segregated to ‘unrecognized labour’

In his message, Secretary-General António Guterres flagged that for too long, “women have also been unable to share equally in ocean-supplied benefits”.

They are often “segregated into low-skilled and unrecognized labour”, such as fish processing, and “denied a decision-making role”, he elaborated, adding that “similar treatment occurs in related sectors”, such as shipping, coastal tourism and marine science, “where the voices of women are frequently not heard”.

The UN chief highlighted that “confronting gender inequality is essential” to achieving the ocean-related Goal and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“We must ensure an end to unsafe work conditions and guarantee that women have an equal role in managing ocean-related activities,” he underlined.

In closing, Mr. Guterres urged governments, international organizations, private companies, communities and individuals to “promote gender equality and the rights of women and girls as a crucial contribution to meeting ocean challenges”.

Preserving our common heritage

Plastic pollution in the ocean is an especially pressing issue, having increased tenfold since 1980, according to the first Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, launched on 6 May in UNESCO.

Moreover, plastic debris leads to the deaths of more than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year.

“This situation should engage us all in the preservation of our common environmental heritage”, Ms. Azoulay said. “It should drive humankind to understand the paramount importance of maintaining a healthy ocean, which we all depend on for life, climate, well-being and, more essentially, our future”.

Against the backdrop, she noted that because “ocean challenges require urgent and collective action to reverse current trends”, the General Assembly proclaimed 2021-2030 as the Ocean Science Decade for Sustainable Development.

Coordinated under UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the decade aims to “encourage international scientific collaboration as well as sustainable management of our oceans and coasts through the interplay of science and policy”, she continued.

It also aims to mobilize citizens across cultures, gender and generations to preserve the ocean “because it is about our very survival as a species”, she maintained.

Combatting plastics on the water

Meanwhile, World Scouting has teamed up with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to create a new movement to battle against plastic pollution.

Since its introduction in five countries across Africa, including Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius and Tanzania, some 27,000 youth from the Scouts, Girl Guides, Junior Achievement and various Universities, have undertaken a new Plastic Tide Turners Challenge Badge.

“The Challenge Badge has made me live by the 3Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Yussif Kamara, a Scout from Accra in Ghana, who also participated in the badge programme.

As part of UNEP and The Youth and UN Global Alliance’s (YUNGA) Clean Seas campaign, the aim is to mobilize a direct youth-led contribution to SDGs 14 and 15, Life Below Water, and Life on Land.

And for the first time in World Scouting’s history, the badges will be made from ocean recovered plastic with the first certificates awarded to young leaders that have completed all three levels of the badge.

At UN Headquarters in New York, storytellers and speakers globally have gathered to share their perspectives on building greater ocean and gender literacy and discovering ways to promote gender equality in ocean-related activities, such as marine scientific research, fisheries, labour at sea, migration by sea and human trafficking, policy-making and management.

the sting Milestone

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

Terrorism ‘spreading and destabilizing’ entire regions, Guterres warns States, at key Kenya conference

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Drones are saving lives in Tanzania’s remote communities

Dignified health for all who live here

Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain receive €279m after natural disasters in 2019

China, forever new adventures

A day that Berlin and Brussels would remember for a long time

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

Climate action ‘both a priority and a driver of the decade’: Guterres

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on guidance for national courts when handling disclosure information

No more lead in PVC to protect public health, say MEPs

Commission reviews relations with China, proposes 10 actions

Available mental health services: is it only about professionals or institutions?

UN rights experts ‘gravely’ concerned at spike in civilian casualties in north-west Myanmar following internet shutdown

COVID-19: Single market must emerge stronger from the crisis, say MEPs

Europe and the tragicomic ‘black sovranismo’

Humanitarian migration falls while labour and family migration rises

Facebook has built an AI-based tool that fixes the social network when it crashes

Africa’s future is innovation rather than industrialization

UN rights expert calls for civilian protection as fighting escalates between military and armed group

East Africa locusts threaten food insecurity across subregion, alerts UN agriculture agency

Migration crisis update: What are the chances of a fair deal at this EU Summit?

2021 EU budget must focus on supporting a sustainable recovery from the pandemic

David McAllister underlines the need for rapid progress in EU-UK negotiations

Prisons are failing. It’s time to find an alternative

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

How to build a digital infrastructure that benefits emerging economies

A rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the war-torn Yemen

Banking Union: ECOFIN and Parliament ready to compromise

4 ways family businesses can lead the pandemic recovery

Could electric vehicles pose a threat to our power systems?

GSMA Announces Final Event Lineup for Highly Anticipated 2019 “MWC Los Angeles, in Partnership with CTIA”

Summer 2018 Interim Economic Forecast: Resilient Growth amid increased uncertainty

“The winner is who can accelerate the transition to a new digital era”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015: a Digital Europe 4.0

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

EU: Divided they stand on immigration and Trump hurricanes

Under-fives’ daily screen time should be kept to 60 minutes only, warns WHO

Preventing the Pandemic of Mental Illness

COVID-19: Emerging technologies are now critical infrastructure – what that means for governance

Mario Draghi quizzed for last time by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee

MEPs and European Youth Forum call on EU to Invest in Youth

EU to host international donors’ conference for Albania to help with reconstruction after earthquake

Manufacturing is finally entering a new era

Business could learn plenty about cybersecurity from the secret state

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

Detecting online child sexual abuse requires strong safeguards

The ‘yellow vests’ undermined Macron in France and the EU

UN conference agrees better ways for Global South countries to work together on sustainable development

How India is solving its cooling challenge

Meet Alice, the battery-powered plane that could herald the age of electric air travel

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

MEPs demand an end to migrant deaths across the Mediterranean Sea

Search Engine neutrality in Europe in danger: Are 160.000 Google filtering requests good enough?

Our children’s career aspirations have nothing in common with the jobs of the future

World Editors Forum President: Credible media vital in the fight against COVID-19 and fake news epidemic

Coronavirus: here’s what you need to know about face masks

Donor countries set international standard for preventing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment in development sector

Can medical students be prepared for Global Health ethical issues?

Merkel refuses to consider the North-South schism of Eurozone

More Stings?

Advertising

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