Actionable solutions needed to address ocean crisis
The world must harness "clear, transformative and actionable solutions" to address the ocean crisis, the president of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), or the PGA, said on Tuesday, opening a meeting to generate momentum towards the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, when public health safety measures allow.
"Simply speaking, our relationship with our planet's ocean must change," Volkan Bozkir told a high-level thematic debate on the ocean and Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14): Life Below Water.
Against the backdrop that human activities have threatened to undo the delicate balance of this ecosystem, that supports nutritional, economic and social value to billions the world over, he upheld that there is "simply no scenario" wherein we live on a planet without an ocean.
People do not want to live in "a world of one crisis after the next," said the PGA, preferring instead the "security, sustainability and the peace of mind" that comes with a healthy planet.
"We have seen this in countries and cities that have prioritized coastal and marine areas over tourism ... in protected wetlands ... in efforts to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and regulate shipping and resource extraction," he said.
New governance, policy and market approaches that incentivize both profitability and sustainability - for people and planet - provide an opportunity for a "blue recovery" to build resilience, particularly in small island developing states, upheld the Assembly president.
"Building a sustainable ocean economy is one of the most important tasks and greatest opportunities of our time," he spelled out, urging governments, industries, civil society and others to "join forces to develop and implement ocean solutions."
As the SDG14 targets will be among the first to mature, Bozkir encouraged everyone to "think ahead" and arrive at the second Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, with "demonstrable evidence of progress."
Rather than wait until the Conference opens to re-discuss these issues, he reminded that the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development has already begun.
"Let us choose to arrive in Portugal with accomplishments and progress that inspire hope and optimism for a better tomorrow," the PGA concluded.
Peter Thomson, Special Envoy on Oceans, emphasized the need to improve our relationship with the sea to one of respect and balance.
He underscored the importance of delivering on SDG14, saying that "ocean acidification cannot continue unabated" while pointing out that greenhouse gas emission reductions are "required to meet 2030 goals."
(All images via VCG)
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