Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

WMO/Ulla Nordlinder Norrmjöle Beach out of Umeå in northern Sweden.

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


The second global Ocean Conference taking place in Portugal in a few months’ time promises to be “a critical moment” for the health of life under water and on land, the President of the UN General Assembly said on Tuesday, as preparations got underway.

Life under water is essential to life on land”, said Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. The ocean produces “half of the oxygen we breathe” and provides food for millions of around the world, playing a “fundamental role in mitigating climate change as a major heat and carbon sink”.

The Ocean Conference, which will run in Lisbon from 2 to 6 June, aims to propel science-based innovative solutions in the form of global ocean action.

The worldwide ocean economy is valued at around $1.5 trillion dollars annually, as aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector and 350 million jobs world-wide are linked to fisheries.

“A healthy marine environment holds untold potential for achieving the entirety of the Sustainable Development Agenda”, he said. “Yet the unsustainable use – and misuse – of ocean resources, climate change, and pollution all threaten the ability of our ocean to provide for us all”.

Boosting life under water

In this first year of the Decade of Action and Delivery, acceleration is needed on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) targets that are due to be met this year, two-thirds of which relate to the health of our environment.

Mr. Muhammad-Bande spelled out: “We must reach several targets related to SDG 14: Life Under Water…to reframe our understanding of nature as an accelerator for implementing the 2030 Agenda”.

Life under water and on land have a “symbiotic relationship”, he said, noting that “pollution hampers the ocean’s ability to provide for people”.

He referred to last year’s UN Environment Assembly’s ministerial declaration calling for a reduction of single-use plastic products by 2030 as demonstrating “multilateral commitment to forging a better world” and maintained the importance of emulating this leadership at the Ocean Conference “to ensure that the declaration has a transformative impact on life under water”.

Ocean health

While coral reefs are home to a quarter of all marine life, half have been lost, adversely impacting global food security. And illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing further burdens ecosystems.

Moreover, sea level rise induced by climate-change poses an existential threat, with small island developing States at the frontline.

“We must stand with them in solidarity and support. This is for us all”, the Assembly President stated, further emphasizing improving ocean health as “key to safeguarding our future”.

Transitioning to a green economy is “essential to protect our oceans and our world”, he said, recalling that next year marks the beginning of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Sustainable use of the ocean

Peter Thomson, Special Envoy for the Ocean, and himself a former President of the General Assembly, outlined five major problems facing the oceans.

Pollution – from plastics to industrial agricultural sewerage – and the sustainability of fisheries in the face of harmful practices, are both “eminently fixable by 2030”.

However, more difficult to fix are problems associated with acidification, deoxygenation and ocean warming, all of which are linked to greenhouse gas emissions.

“We find ourselves in a much longer fixing period when it comes to those three”, he said, noting that although they would continue for hundreds of years “even if we do the right thing tomorrow”, indeed we must start doing, so “we can start turning the corner”.

‘Positive tipping points’

Mr. Thomson urged everyone to focus on the “positive tipping points”, claiming they “are closer than you think”.

These include “scaling up of science and innovation” and other solutions “that we will be concentrating on in Lisbon”, he elaborated.

The UN envoy spoke about the “strong will” of developing countries to participate in sustainable agriculture, windfarms and the greening of shipping, stating that “we are now on the cusp of a great positive revolution”.

Vicious climate crisis cycle

And speaking at a press conference for correspondents in New York, UN chief António Guterres highlighted the importance of oceans to the on-going climate crisis, and solutions to alleviate it.

He explained that “as oceans warm, ice melts and we lose the vital service the ice sheets perform – reflecting sunlight, thus further increasing ocean warming”.

And, as ice melts and the oceans warm, sea levels rise and more water evaporates, “fueling ever greater rainfall, threatening coastal cities and deltas”.

The UN chief pointed out that last year, ocean heat and mean-sea level reached “their highest on record”, revealing that scientists now say “that ocean temperatures are now rising at the equivalent of five Hiroshima bombs a second.”

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

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

Property regimes for international couples in Europe: new rules apply in 18 Member States as of today

Why Eurozone can afford spending for growth

The refugee crisis brings to light EU’s most horrible flaws and nightmares

It’s time to disrupt Human Resources if we want talent fit for the digital age

EU commits €9 million in humanitarian aid for the most vulnerable families in Myanmar

The 10 most common types of plastic choking Europe’s rivers

A digital tax sounds like a great idea. Here’s why it might not be universally popular

Island nations on climate crisis frontline ‘not sitting idly by’

The European Green Deal sets out how to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, boosting the economy, improving people’s health and quality of life, caring for nature, and leaving no one behind

Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €127 million to boost EU’s largest ever humanitarian programme

Nearly three million more displaced year-on-year, warns refugee agency chief, but solutions are within reach

Ten reasons to be optimistic in 2019

THE COMMITTEES: From the colonies to the space race – past, present, future converge in Fourth Committee

Why Sweden’s cashless society is no longer a utopia

Light at the end of the Eurozone tunnel

Conflict diamonds and climate change: Cooperate, don’t compete over natural resources urges Guterres

Syria’s Idlib ‘on the brink’ of a nightmare, humanitarian chiefs warn, launching global solidarity campaign

Commission deepens criticism on German economic policies

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

Human rights breaches in Bangladesh, Cuba and Vietnam

European Parliament marks EU accession prospects for Serbia and Kosovo

Eurozone dignitaries play with people’s life savings

These are the world’s healthiest nations

Vegans in France are using extreme tactics to stop people eating meat

Youth leaders share positive visions of the future, as Guterres launches UN75 in New York

The new assembly lines: Why AI needs low-skilled workers too

Africa-Europe Alliance: first projects kicked off just three months after launch

5 reasons why biodiversity matters – to human health, the economy and your wellbeing

July was the hottest month ever – what does that actually mean?

Six children among 53 confirmed fatalities after Libya detention centre airstrikes: Security Council condemns attack

Future EU farm policy: Agriculture MEPs urge fair funding, no renationalisation

Joint UN-Red Cross appeal to end rising sexual violence as a weapon of war

How fungi could save the world

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

Antitrust: Commission publishes study on the application of Interchange Fees Regulation

28 million elective surgeries may be cancelled worldwide: how non-COVID-19 medical care is suffering

Greece will probably stay in the Eurozone but at what cost?

UN allocates $20 million in emergency funding, as Cyclone Idai disaster unfolds

A day in the life of a Venezuelan migrant in Boa Vista, Brazil

Competition: The European Commission launches a process to address the issue of collective bargaining for the self-employed

Don’t take African generosity towards refugees for granted, says UN refugee chief

We need to measure innovation better. Here’s how

The most unlikely innovators are changing ICT for development – it’s time we took notice

The UK option: An overarching alternative for the whole Brexit options

Tackling youth unemployment through the eyes of a European entrepreneur

2014 budget: The EU may prove unable to agree on own resources

Iran protests: Live ammunition reportedly used, says UN human rights office

Brexit uncertainty keeps shaking the world’s financial markets

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

JADE Spring Meeting Live Coverage: Entrepreneurial skills in the digital markets

Rohingya refugee shelters ‘washed away’ in Bangladesh monsoon rains: UN agency

Ursula von der Leyen: ‘We must not hold onto yesterday’s economy as we rebuild’

The end of Spitzenkandidat: EU leaders concluded unexpectedly on EU top jobs

UN recorded 64 new allegations of sexual exploitation or abuse in the past three months

Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders ready for talks with UN chief on improved relations

Storms and snow in Lebanon worsen plight for Syrian refugees

COVID-19: How leaders can create a new and better normal

The Internet of Bodies is here. This is how it could change our lives.

Two out of every five American couples now meet online

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