Friday, 20 October, 2017

UN chief: Save the oceans to avert 'global catastrophe'

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka addresses UN ocean conference Author LBOPosted Prime Minister of Sri Lanka addresses UN ocean conference Author LBOPosted
Heather Davidson | 08 June, 2017, 01:41

"Pollution, overfishing and the effects of climate change are severely damaging the health of our oceans", said Antonio Guterres, marking the start of the first-ever United Nations conference on the oceans and marine resources.

Following the US' decision to leave the Paris Agreement, Bolivian President Evo Morales criticised the nation, saying she was the "main threat to Mother Earth".

With so much on the line with regards to creating more sustainable infrastructures, it is important that we find ways to engage communities and make resources for clean ocean actions accessible.

"The health of our oceans and seas is inextricably linked with the health of our planet and all life on earth", said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"We will follow-up with diligence on the commitments made here at The Ocean Conference; all along, holding ourselves responsible to bequeath a conserved and sustainably managed Ocean to the stewards of the future", said President Thomson. The seas were in a state of crisis because of the pollution, global warming and overfishing, the Secretary General warned, pointing out that plastics dumped in the oceans threatened to outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050.

The call to action is expected to be signed and released at some point during the week-long conference, which will bring government officials, ocean advocates and some heads of state to NY.

The Oceans Conference, which was called for by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), is a unique opportunity for the world to come together and find solutions to these (environmental) problems before it's too late.

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South Africa, with an ocean space greater than its land territory, had earmarked the ocean to promote economic growth and boost job creation, she told delegates at the Oceans Conference in NY.

Guterres said one of the main challenges is to end "the artificial dichotomy" between jobs and healthy oceans: "The conservation and sustainable use of marine resources are two sides of the same coin".

The Ocean Conference is taking place between June 5 and 9.

In South Asia, Rycroft said, 1 billion people across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan rely heavily on just three rivers, but "despite facing similar problems posed by water demand and climate change, regional collaboration between these countries is limited".

"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", Thomson said.

Targets include protecting at least 10% of coastal and marine environments by 2020, reducing ocean pollution and strengthening ways to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

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