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Ocean Conference Strikes More Than 1k Commitments

Ocean Conference Strikes More Than 1k Commitments
Marijcke Thomson with husband, United Nations General Assembly President Peter Thomson of Fiji, and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during a ceremony to say thank you to Mr Thomson and his wife in New York on June 9, 2017. Photo: DEPTFO News
June 11
10:39 2017

The successful week-long inaugural United Nations Ocean Conference concluded at the UN Headquarters in New York on Friday.

It saw more than 1300 commitments from countries, civil society groups and the private sector on what they would do to save our oceans.

Portugal and Kenya have already put forward their offers to host the next Ocean Conference in 2020.

The role Fiji played in facilitating the conference and raising the voice of the Pacific was widely acknowledged by Pacific island and world leaders who attended the conference.

The 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously agreed to a set of measures that would begin the reversal of the decline in the ocean’s health

The outcome document, together with more than 1300 commitments to action, marks a breakthrough in the global approach to the management and conservation of the ocean.

The Ocean Conference, the first UN conference of its kind, raised global awareness of ocean problems ranging from marine pollution to illegal fishing and overfishing, from ocean acidification to a lack of high seas governance.

United Nations General Assembly President Peter Thomson said: “The Ocean Conference has changed our relationship with the ocean.

“Henceforth none can say they were not aware of the harm humanity has done to the ocean’s health. We are now working around the world to restore a relationship of balance and respect towards the ocean.”

Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the Ocean Conference, said the Conference marked a major step forward for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG14 which focuses on Life Below Water.

“Participants from member States, NGOs, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community and academia engaged in wide ranging discussion and shared state-of-the-art knowledge and latest information on marine science and challenges,” he said.

“They showcased and put forward many innovative solutions, which can help us achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14, and through its interlinkages, the other SDGs and targets.”

Once again showcasing Fijian culture at the closing was the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Band when they sang Isa Lei.

Joining them were Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, his wife Mary Bainimarama, Fisheries Minister and Ocean Champion Semi Koroilavesau, Agriculture Minister and Climate Champion Inia Seruiratu, UN General Assembly president and Fiji’s former Permanent Representative to the UN Peter Thomson, the rest of the Fijian delegation and Fijians living in New York. Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola


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