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Life under water, UN calls for action on ocean conservation – Global Issues Issue

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Beachfront Hotel & Yachts at Pigeon Point, St. Lucia. The ocean supports a myriad of livelihoods on the small island states of the OECS – 30% of the labor force in some countries. credit: Alison Kentish/IPS
  • by Alison Kentish (United Nations)
  • Inter Press Service
  • Ahead of World Oceans Day 2021 and the second UN Ocean Conference next year, UN officials stressed the need for ‘clear, transformative and actionable’ solutions to the ocean crisis.

debate, which focused on the sea and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 14: Life Underwater, took place on June 1 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

It comes before the observance of World Oceans Day on June 8 and the second day against the backdrop of pandemic-related postponements. United Nations Ocean Conference A leading international gathering that seeks science-based solutions for sustainable ocean use.

The high-level debate, billed as a ‘drumbeat’ to keep pace ahead of the conference, is now expected to take place in Lisbon next year.

The General Assembly president said the pandemic has revealed a “hunger for change” among those who do not want to live in a world of “one crisis after another”. He said that change is possible.

“As our understanding of the true benefits of a healthy planet grows, policymakers are becoming increasingly aware of how central a healthy ocean is to a healthy economy,” he said.

“We’ve seen it in countries and cities that prioritize coastal and marine areas over tourism, we’ve seen it in protected wetlands, we’ve seen it to address illegal, unrestricted and unregulated fishing, and to regulate shipping and resource extraction. So why can’t we increase our efforts together?”

The United Nations has been at the forefront of efforts to mobilize financial, scientific, volunteer and community support for the oceans, through initiatives such as 2021-2030 Decade of Ocean Science.

The high-level debate is based on those ocean conservation and sustainable use measures.

Peter Thomson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on the Oceans, told the forum that although there has been improvement on this front, including increased marine protected area coverage and a better understanding of the issues affecting the ocean, progress has not been enough to address is. ocean crisis.

“How can we claim success when a third of the assessed global fish stocks are running out? Why have we dumped some 150 million metric tons of accumulated plastic waste, microplastics and fishing gear into the ocean when no concrete end is in sight? And while the rate of ocean acidification, deoxygenation and warming are all heading in the wrong direction?”

With 97 percent water on Earth’s surface, the ocean is vast. It serves as a source of food and energy, facilitating commerce, transportation and communication. Sustainable Development Goal 14 lists specific goals to reduce pollution, protect marine ecosystems, combat illegal and over-fishing, and monitor sustainable resource use.

One region to take action to address maritime issues and achieve SDG 14 is the eastern Caribbean.

In 2012, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) established an Ocean Governance Group, a regional body that oversees work on the governance of the oceans. the team helped develop Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (ECROP) which explains the countries’ approach to the ocean and the principles of ocean governance.

One of the major ECROP initiatives is Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project, which is known as crop. Through a partnership with the World Bank, CROP, with its tagline ‘Champion of Resilient Oceans for Prosperity’, is helping transform the Caribbean into a blue economy.

“We focus on economic growth, but we also make sure that we are conserving resources, so that we do not harm them and impair our future benefits. It’s actually the same sustainable development agenda, focusing on economics, the environment, and social aspects related to the oceans,” said Susanna Deubiville-Scott, Project Manager in the Ocean Governance and Fisheries Unit at the OECS Secretariat, located in St. Lucia. Told IPS.

For the Caribbean, the goal is to promote discussion on ocean issues and take action to conserve and use its resources. The unit is overseeing initiatives such as Building Resilience in the Eastern Caribbean through Marine Pollution Reduction (ReMLit) to tackle marine waste.

The ‘Tag an Artist’ campaign, based on the theme of ‘more than just the islands’, is expected to encourage entertainers in the region to sing about the oceans and promote the islands’ blue space as a role model for a flourishing blue economy .

The unit hopes to highlight the vital importance of oceans and engage journalists through a special journalism challenge.

Deubiville-Scott told IPS that the unit is gearing up for a virtual event on June 8 – World Oceans Day. This activity will focus on mapping maritime wealth and marine spatial planning data and tools for better decision making in the Caribbean.

© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service

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