Morocco Elected Vice-Pdt of UN Oceans Conference

Posted June 07, 2017

That's what the president of the current session of the United Nations General Assembly and Fiji's Ambassador to the UN, Peter Thomson said in his opening address at the start of the first ever UN conference on Oceans in NY this morning. Sustainable Development Goal 14 contains all targets and indicators to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Recalling the borderless nature of the ocean, Conference Co-President Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, expressed hope for the Conference to be the "game changer" the ocean needs.

Opening a "game-changing" worldwide conference on the health of the world's oceans and seas, top United Nations officials today urged coordinated global action to protect the planet.

"The veracity of that proposition rests on the fact that SDG14, the Ocean's goal, is humanity's only universally agreed measure to conserve and sustainably manage the resources of the Ocean".

Speaking to journalists in NY 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".

From the UN podium, Bolivian President Evo Morales took a swipe at the United States, saying the withdrawal from the Paris accord was "denying science, turning your back on multilateralism and attempting to deny a future to upcoming generations".

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Withdrawing would leave the United States aligned only with Russian Federation among the world's industrialized economies. Hundreds of high-profile businesses have spoken out in favour of the deal, including Apple, Google and Walmart.

"We must put aside short-term national gain to prevent long-term global catastrophe", Guterres said.

Previous global meetings on problems facing the oceans have taken place, but the five-day conference is the first one being held under the auspices of the United Nations.

The conference is expected to deliver a call for action and come up with a list of voluntary commitments made by governments and stakeholder groups to reverse the decline in the health of the oceans.

With conference topics ranging from marine protected areas, overfishing, acidification, climate change, underwater robotics, and plastics and marine debris- there's no shortage of issue areas to galvanize action on. And, he said, the increasing human-caused carbon emissions tied to climate change are causing rising sea levels by warning the oceans and harming marine life by making the seas more acidic with less oxygen.

The conference is expected to give a call for action backed by United Nations member countries, and approve a document already negotiated here in previous months, the organisers of the conference said.

Mr. Wu, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted that everyone must work together - not in silos - to achieve the goals of the Conference.