This year, the Conference is hosted for the first time by one of the small island developing countries, focusing on the theme of Our Oceans, Our People, Our Prosperity.
The two-day event is an important moment for countries, civil society and industry to commit to taking concrete and important actions to protect the oceans.
Protecting the oceans, ‘together’
“There is no way to protect the ocean without wading with all the stakeholders involved,” Mr. Shahid told an audience that included two co-hosts – Palau President Surangel Whipps, Jr. and John Kerry, US Presidential Envoy for Climate.
Speaking at the 7th Our Oceans Conference, the President of the Council, who is from the Maldives, said he was delighted that the event was taking place in one of the most at-risk frontline island nations. due to sea level rise caused by climate change. the importance of the problem.
In his speech, Mr. Shahid, the sixth elected parliamentarian from the small island group, outlined four key areas for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and seas.
First, he called for the expansion of protected areas. Although oceans cover about 70% of the planet’s area, less than 8% of it is protected.
“Our Ocean Conference continues to shape the global momentum on this issue,” he continued.
The past six conferences have resulted in more than 1,400 commitments, amounting to more than $90 billion, to protect at least five million square kilometers of ocean.
More data and information
Second, President of the United Nations Council calls for investment in “solid, reliable and accessible ocean science data and information””, which can be used to communicate policies and programs.
The United Nations in 2021, has declared a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
As authorized by the General Assembly, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is working with Member States to strengthen national capacity in science, to better understand and improve the management of oceans, coasts and ecosystems.
This year, several major international summits are also being held to promote ocean health. And at the end of June, Portugal will host the United Nations Ocean Conference, which will seek to foster the much-needed, innovative science-based solutions to start a new chapter of ocean behaviour. global oceanic motion.
A warming planet means a warming ocean
In his speech, Mr. Shahid also emphasized the importance of recognizing and addressing the threats facing the oceans. Mention IPCC The report was issued earlier this month as a “wake-up call,” noting that “a warming planet means a warming ocean” with increased acidification and greater loss of systems. marine ecology and marine biodiversity.
In the past few weeks alone, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) have announced that climate change has caused the Great Barrier Reef’s sixth mass bleaching. .
Meanwhile, UNESCO scientists are considering whether to put the Coral Reef, considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, on the “endangered” list.
Microplastics and marine pollution
The fourth point he emphasized is “addressing plastic pollution”.
“Just last week, researchers found microplastics in human lungs for the first time, highlighting the scale and severity of the problem,” said Shahid in the study. Research published in Science of the Total Environment.
Since plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, it is estimated that only about 20% of the plastic created since the 1950s is successfully incinerated or recycled.
Highlight the importance of enhancing synergy between ocean activity and other activities Sustainable development goals (SDGs), such as poverty alleviation, sustainable consumption and production, Mr. Shahid reiterated the importance of a complete ban on plastic pollution in our oceans.
The President also noted that this year marks the 40th anniversary since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The occasion, he concluded, provides an opportunity to review and renew commitments to the oceans – governance, sustainable use and conservation of the oceans.