Guterres: Reversing the tides and facing an ocean emergency
[28 Giugno 2022]
opened yesterdayUnited Nations Ocean Conference In Lisbon, Kenyan President Uhuru Mugai Kenyatta reiterated that we expect to leave Lisbon with a clear understanding of financing options and methods. The ocean is the most underestimated resource on our planet: young people must be at the forefront of the debate and they must be part of the solution.”
Speaking to the plenary, Portuguese President Rebelo de Sousa said that “Lisbon is the right place for the Ocean Conference because the ocean is essential to transform Portugal into what it is today.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has urged the international community to commit and unite to protect and conserve the seas. From his country, the former Prime Minister and Socialist President of Portugal outlined four recommendations to ensure a turning of the tide and, quoting Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, said he believed the Congress represented a moment of unity for all member states: It connects us all, but since we have taken the ocean for granted, we are faced with Today is an “ocean emergency” and the tide must be reversed. Our inability to take care of the ocean will have ripple effects on the entire 2030 Agenda.”
At the first United Nations Ocean Conference, held 5 years ago in New York, delegates called for reversing the decline in ocean health. According to Guterres, “Since then, some progress has been made, with new treaties negotiated to tackle the global plastic waste crisis choking the oceans and advances in science, in line with theUnited Nations Decade of Oceanography for Sustainable Development (2021-2030 .)). But let us not be under any illusions. We all have to do a lot.”
Following this premise, the head of the United Nations identified 4 main recommendations:
1 Investing in sustainable ocean economies for food, Renewable energy and livelihoods, through long-term financing. Guterres reminded the ocean conference delegates that “of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),Objective No. 14 (Conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) has received the least support of any of the SDGs. “Sustainable ocean management can help the ocean produce up to 6 times more food and generate 40 times more renewable energy than it currently produces,” the UN Secretary-General said.
2 Repeat Ocean success. For Guterres, “The ocean must become a model for how to manage the global commons for our greater good and that means preventing and reducing marine pollution of all kinds, both on land and at sea. This will include intensifying effective conservation measures based on marine protected areas and integrated coastal zone management.”
3 protect people. The UN Secretary-General also called for “greater protection of the oceans and the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on them, tackling climate change and investing in climate-resilient coastal infrastructure:” Shipping must commit to net zero carbon by 2050 and commit to shipping. With reliable plans to implement these commitments. We must invest more in restoring and preserving coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, wetlands and coral reefs.” Guterres then called on all UN member states to participate inearly warning system‘, an initiative recently launched to achieve the goal of full EWS coverage over the next five years: ‘This would help reach coastal communities and those whose livelihoods depend on early warning protection measures in the marina.’
4 More science and innovation. Finally, Guterres stressed the need for “more science and innovation to drive us toward a new chapter in global ocean action. I urge everyone to join the goal of mapping 80% of the sea floor by 2030. I encourage the private sector to participate in partnerships that support ocean research and management.” I urge governments to increase their level of ambition to restore the health of the oceans.”
The Secretary-General of the United Nations concluded his speech with a Swahili roving: “Bahari itatufikisha popote,” which means “the ocean takes us everywhere,” and called on all people to engage in ocean action.
The President of the United Nations General Assembly, the Maldivian Abdullah Shahid, also spoke in Lisbon, where he reiterated that “the ocean connects us all and the conference is the right place to demonstrate global commitments.”
An island witness recalls: “I am a child of the ocean (…) but far from those who look at the blue horizon every day, all humanity depends on the ocean for half of the oxygen we suppose. That is why we are here this week, to represent a resource that has accompanied us throughout our existence. And we invited everyone to agree to the final movement, Our Ocean, Our Future: A Call to Action.
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