The Ocean Conference
Ocean warming, sea life depletion and pollution from plastic are on the agenda for next week’s ocean summit at the United Nations, UN, which will call for urgent action to improve the health of the oceans, while also creating jobs and helping people out of poverty.
“Human activities have a major impact on the ocean, affecting everything from the viability of marine habitats and the quality and temperature of the water to the health of marine life and the continued availability of seafood,” the UN organisers said.
The Ocean Conference, the first-ever such summit convened by the UN, is being held from 5th to 9th June. It will focus on the targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by governments in 2015. In particular, among the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, is Goal 14 that highlights the need to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources to benefit present and future generations.
“Ocean deterioration has broader implications as it affects poverty eradication, economic growth, sustainable livelihoods and employment, global food security, human health and climate regulation,” the organisers said.
Thousands of people are expected to attend the conference. This includes the heads of states and governments, civil society representatives, entrepreneurs, actors, and ocean and marine life advocates.
A big showing is expected from small island developing states, particularly in the Pacific Islands, and the African coastal states, which are on the frontlines of climate change. Their economies are especially vulnerable to changes in the ocean and marine life.
The current President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, said he is “very confident” that there is an appetite to take action to aid oceans and marine life.
Speaking to journalists in New York on Friday, Thomson, whose home country, Fiji, is co-hosting the Conference along with Sweden, said, “Every second breath you take comes from the ocean-produced oxygen. Without a healthy ocean, we are in deep trouble. Whether it is food or our climate, we have to have integrity for the ocean the source of life.”
The Conference will focus on a political call to action, partnership dialogues and voluntary commitments.