Scientific knowledge essential for sustainable oceans, according to the United Nations Ocean Conference |
On the fourth day of the Conference, dedicated to the role of the scientific communityto enable the blue transformation of humanity’s relationship with the ocean.
With over 3 billion people highly dependent on marine ecosystems for food and livelihoods, the deployment of solutions to achieve ocean-related goals, depend on the actions of current and future generations.
Science for Sustainable Development
Recent years have seen increased scientific innovation and growing recognition of the importance of ocean science in contributing to the 2030 horizon. Sustainable Development Goals (ODD).
A wide range of initiatives have been developed and are being implemented not only by the UN, but also by governments, civil society and the scientific community.
Strong commitment and ownership by a wide range of stakeholders is key to maximizing the unique opportunity offered by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 to 2030), and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) is the body that works to strengthen international collaboration in ocean science and research – a task that no country can undertake alone.
“A Critical Moment”
Applauding recent progress in oceanographic research and ocean observations, the scientists present at the Conference stress the importance of not waiting any longer to act.
Veteran marine biologist and oceanographer, Sylvia Earleparticipated in events throughout the week in Lisbon.
“Use your power and ask others to use theirs to protect nature, to give back, to stop the killings and understand the pollution we are causing, we can stop that too,” Ms Earle said.
Describing knowledge itself as a ‘superpower’, Ms Earle added: ‘This is the moment, a critical moment, it’s never before, it’s never again, act. We have the best chance of finding a place in the natural systems to sustain us.”
Participating in an event calling for bold action, Emanuel Gonçalves, board member and chief scientist of the Oceano Azul Foundationreiterated the need to act now and not wait until 2030 to achieve the SDGs.
“We can’t wait another 30 years to protect 8% of the ocean, which we have now, and even that 8% is not sufficiently protected. We only have 2-3% total protection, so we need to get this program in place now, not in 2030,” Gonçalves said. Calling for new annual targets to spur action, he added that “the time has come, and we can’t wait any longer”.
© Ocean Image Bank/Shaun Wolfe
Law of the sea and high seas
The promotion of ocean sciences recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seawhich sets out the obligations of States and international organizations to promote international cooperation in the field of marine scientific research, optimize conditions for scientists and promote the flow of scientific data.
With the high seas accounting for more than half of the global ocean, Mr. Gonçalves, stressed the importance of solving its governance problem.
“Current mechanisms do not allow us to set up protected areas, and without high seas it is not possible to achieve 30% protection. We need to make sure that the high seas agreement moves, not just right now, but also in a direction that empowers institutions to drive that protection and put it in place,” the expert said.
Why should you care and what can you do?
For Sylvia Earle, life depends on the ocean: “the ocean keeps us alive, and we must keep the ocean alive”, she said, asking each of us to implement change “In your garden, what are you going to do to plant native plants, flowers and trees that can help the ocean? Protecting nature is everyone’s business.
According to Gonçalves, each of us can do three things to help save the ocean: vote, promote solutions to problems and change our consumer behavior.
Coral Reef Image Bank/Alexander
talk about the RISE UP for the Ocean Initiative, the marine ecologist and conversationalist said the initiative – which is a joint call from civil society, fishers, indigenous peoples and philanthropic organizations to governments and businesses to agree to bold action to protect the ocean – Mr Gonçalves said the world must move from a call to action to an action plan.
Liu Zhenmin, head of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), told UN News that the political declaration to be adopted on Friday after member states agree before Lisbon proves that the world is on the right track. path to take urgent action to avert further damage to the ocean, calling the outcome “reassuring and profound”.
UN News will have you covered on the final day of the UN Ocean Conference on Friday.