UN ocean conference ends with call for greater ambition and global commitment to tackle dire ocean condition – Global Issues

Recognizing the past “collective failure” in the final statement of the conferenceworld leaders called for greater ambition to ensure the dire ocean condition is addressed, frankly admitting that they were “deeply alarmed by the global ocean emergency”.

At the close, the UN Deputy Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Miguel de Serpa Soares praised the co-hosts – Portugal and Kenya – for the huge success of the conference.

†[The Conference] has given us the opportunity to unpack critical issues and generate new ideas† It also highlighted what work remains to be done, and the need to scale up that work for the recovery of our ocean,” said Mr Serpa Soares, adding that it is essential to turn the tide now.

More than 6,000 participants, including 24 heads of state or government, and more than 2,000 representatives of civil society attended the conference and called for urgent and concrete action to tackle the ocean crisis.

collective failure

Recognizing a “collective failure to achieve ocean-related goalsSo far, leaders have renewed their commitment to take urgent action and work together at all levels to fully achieve the goals as quickly as possible.

Below the challenges facing the ocean are coastal erosion, rising sea levels, warmer and more acidic waters, marine pollution, overexploitation of fish stocks and decline in marine biodiversity.

Recognizing that climate change is “one of the greatest challenges of our time” and the need to act “resolutely and urgently to improve the health, productivity, sustainable use and resilience of the ocean and its ecosystems,” top politicians stressed in Lisbon that science-based and innovative actions, together with international cooperation, are essential to provide the necessary solutions.

The leaders called for transformative change and emphasized the need to address the cumulative effects of a warming planet on the ocean, including ecosystem degradation and species extinction.

Reconfirm commitments

Reaffirming that the ocean is fundamental to life on our planet and to our future, the signatories underlined the particular importance of implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement and last November’s Glasgow Climate Pact to improve health, productivity, sustainable use and resilience of the ocean.

“We are committed to halting and reversing the decline in the health of the ocean’s ecosystems and biodiversity, and to protecting and restoring its resilience and ecological integrity.

Voluntary commitments include:

  • The Protecting Our Planet Challenge will invest at least $1 billion to support the creation, expansion and management of marine protected areas by 2030.
  • The European Investment Bank will provide an additional €150 million in the Caribbean under the Clean Oceans initiative to improve climate resilience, water resources and solid waste management.
  • Portugal is committed to ensuring that 100 percent of the marine area under Portuguese sovereignty or jurisdiction is assessed as being in good environmental condition and that 30% of its national marine areas are classified by 2030.
  • Kenya is currently developing a national strategic plan for the blue economy, including and targeting multiple stakeholders. Kenya has also committed to developing a national action plan against marine plastic marine litter.
  • India is committed to a Coastal Clean Seas campaign and will work towards a ban on single-use plastics.

“We call for an ambitious, balanced, practical, effective, robust and transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework,” the Lisbon Declaration continued.

Resilient and healthy marine environments are the foundation of climate regulation and sustainable development, with the potential to produce food and energy for billions.

at the conference, more than 150 member states have made voluntary commitments to conserve or protect at least 30 percent of the global ocean within the Marine Protected Areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures, by 2030.

“I am impressed with the new commitments [countries made], Mr Serpa Soares said at the closing ceremony, adding that “commitments must be implemented and monitored at a rapid pace”. Some examples are:

  • Protection or exceedance of 30% of national maritime zones by 2030
  • Achieving CO2 neutrality by 2040
  • Reduce plastic pollution
  • Increasing use of renewable energy
  • Awarded billions of dollars to ocean acidification research, climate resilience projects and to monitoring, control and surveillance

After 2030

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) aims to achieve the science we need for the ocean we want.

With the mission to generate and use knowledge for the transformational action needed to achieve a healthy, safe and resilient ocean for sustainable development by 2030 and beyond, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the scientific, educational and cultural organization of the United Nations (UNESCO) is the driving force behind the development of the Decade of Action.

Therefore, the Decade framework is designed to produce more informed ocean management, restore fish stocks; Mobilize actions for sustainable fisheries and sustainable aquaculture for sufficient, safe and nutritious food.

Ocean Image Bank/Thomas Horig

One of the biggest threats to our oceans is man-made pollution.

It is also aimed at reducing all types of marine pollutionof both land and marine resources, and work to protect the sea more effectively, and develop and implement measures to adapt to climate change, reduce the risk of disasters and the impact of sea level rise, together with reducing emissions from maritime transport.

Recognizing that developing countries, especially Small Island States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries, face particular capacity challenges, political leaders commit to step up data collection efforts and strengthen cooperation at all levels to share knowledge.

After Lisbon

Financing is another particular focus of the statement. The seven-page document states that innovative financing solutions need to be found to drive the transformation to sustainable ocean economies and to scale up nature-based solutions, as well as ecosystem-based approaches to increase the resilience, restoration and preservation of coastal areas. support. ecosystems.

Declare that the Conference proved that the blue economy is now a big part of future security of humanity, Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, called for increased funding for it.

Sustainable fishing improves livelihoods in Haiti.

UNDP/Pierre Michel Jean

Sustainable fishing improves livelihoods in Haiti.

He noted that the Secretary-General had pushed for consensus, after launching a red warning to humanity, and Mr Thomson added that 2022 proved to be a “super year”, calling on young people to sit down at the table. sitting for all discussions about the future of the ocean, come on.

Speaking to UN News, Miguel de Serpa Soares added that the UN ocean conference was not the only focus for ocean action this year.

“Over the coming months, we will have several pivotal events that provide many opportunities to demonstrate our commitment and ambition to turn the tide in favor of ocean sustainability.”

Following the event in Lisbon, the path to save our ocean will continue through the Intergovernmental Conference on a Convention on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Outside National Jurisdiction, the negotiations on the Global Biodiversity Framework post 2020 and the negotiations on increased climate finance and adaptation actions at COP27 in Egypt.

Empower youth, women and indigenous peoples

Recognizing the important role of indigenous, traditional and local indigenous peoples’ knowledge, innovation and practices, as well as the role of social sciences in planning, decision-making and implementation, leaders are calling for meaningful participation by local communities.

Young volunteers support the Ocean Conference in Lisbon.

UN news / Eleuterio Guevane

Young volunteers support the Ocean Conference in Lisbon.

“Empowering women and girls, as their full, equal and meaningful participation is essential to make progress towards a sustainable ocean economy and achieve Goal 14,” the statement emphasizes, highlighting the importance of empowering young people to enable them to understand the “need to contribute to ocean health, including in decision-making, by promoting and supporting quality education and lifelong learning for ocean literacy”.

The conference called on stakeholders to take urgent ambitions and concerted action to accelerate implementation to achieve Goal 14, concluding that “restoring harmony with nature through a healthy ocean is critical for the planet.”

Hope and urgency

Encouraged by a renewed sense of hope and urgency about our future ocean, Mr. Serpa Soares concluded, “As we leave, we must fulfill our obligations”.

“As the famous Tongan and Fijian writer Epeli Hau’ofa said: we are the ocean† The ocean is within all of us, it is what sustains us and it is the foundation for our future survival on this planet earth,” he said.

The power of science

Building on the week’s scientific focus, UNESCO launched its flagship State of the Ocean Report on Friday.

The report was developed to provide new and revealing data on the current state of the ocean, structured around the first 10 challenges of the decade.

Henrik Enevoldsen, head of UNESCO’s Department of Ocean Science, spoke to UN News and said the report complemented the conference’s scientific work and expanded our ability to manage the ocean.

Speaking about the outcome of the conference, he said it “highlighted the areas where we need more knowledge to provide a good foundation for decision-makers.” [and to] manage the ocean better.

UN News is on site all week in Lisbon, Portugal, bringing you multimedia coverage of the Ocean Conference. You can access all our reports and interviews here.

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