NATION

Surge In Voluntary Commitments For Ocean Action

A surge in the number of voluntary commitments to take action to improve the health of the ocean by coun­tries, businesses and civil soci­ety groups has been recorded, and more
04 Jun 2017 10:50
Surge In Voluntary Commitments For Ocean Action
Reducing plastic pollution is one of the many voluntary commitments taken by countries, businesses and civil society groups to help improve the health of the ocean.

A surge in the number of voluntary commitments to take action to improve the health of the ocean by coun­tries, businesses and civil soci­ety groups has been recorded, and more are expected as the Ocean Conference gets under­way tomorrow at the United Na­tions Headquarter in New York.

The commitments, now num­bering over 600 and still increas­ing, come as heads of state and government and ministers will join ocean leaders, experts, busi­nesses, and civil society organizations to discuss solutions that restore the health of the world’s ocean.

The commitments target a wide range of ocean problems, ranging from protecting coral reefs, strengthening sustainable fisheries, reducing plastic pollu­tion, and addressing the impacts of climate change on the ocean.

“The Ocean Conference is where we truly begin the process of reversing the cycle of decline into which our accumulated ac­tivities have placed the Ocean,” said Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly. “By adding to the conference’s register of voluntary commit­ments; of producing practical solutions to Ocean’s problems at the Partnership Dialogues; and through the affirmation of the conference’s Call for Action, we have begun that process of re­versing the wrongs.”

The Conference will result in a Call for Action that has just been agreed to by countries, http://bit.ly/2rzRT2q, and will be for­mally adopted at the conclusion of the Conference on Friday. Ad­ditional outcomes include the results of seven partnership dialogues that will focus on so­lutions, and the voluntary com­mitments to action.

“The Conference will explore how to achieve Sustainable De­velopment Goal 14, which seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine re­sources for sustainable develop­ment,” said Wu Hongbo, Con­ference Secretary-General and Under-Secretary-General of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

“Among other things,” he added, “the Conference will comprise plenary meetings and seven interactive, multi-stake­holder partnership dialogues, which will focus on the targets of SDG 14. These dialogues will aim to scale up and replicate existing successful initiatives. And they will launch new part­nerships that will advance the implementation of Goal 14.”

The Call for Action stresses the need for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly Goal 14, that addresses marine issues.

In the Call for Action, coun­tries agree to implement long-term and robust strategies to reduce the use of plastics and micro plastics, such as plastic bags and single use plastics.

Countries also agreed to de­velop and implement effective adaptation and mitigation meas­ures that contribute to ocean and coastal acidification, sea-level rise, and increase in ocean temperatures, and to addressing the other harmful impacts of climate change on the ocean. The Call takes note of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Call for Action includes measures to protect coastal and blue carbon ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes, seagrass, and coral reefs, and wider interconnected ecosys­tems, as well as enhancing sus­tainable fisheries management, including to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield. Countries are called upon to de­cisively prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate sub­sidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The Ocean Conference, the first UN conference of its kind on the issue, is hosted by the Govern­ments of Fiji and Sweden will kick it off with a special cultur­al ceremony at 9am tomorrow, prior to the formal opening.

Please visit the following web­sites for information on the re­spective events:

The Ocean Conference: https://oceanconference.un.org/

World Ocean Festival: https://www.worldoceanfest.org/

World Environment Day: http://worldenvironmentday.global/

World Oceans Day: http://www.un.org/en/events/oceansday/

SDG Media Zone: http://sdgme­diazone.org/oceansconference/

Source: UN media advisory

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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