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Scientific knowledge essential for sustainable oceans, UN Ocean Conference hears |

Scientific knowledge essential for sustainable oceans, UN Ocean Conference hears |


The fourth day of the Conferences focused on the role of the scientific communityto enable the blue transformation of humanity’s relationship with the ocean.

Emphasizing that this knowledge is a prerequisite for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14scientists call more support for long-term underwater life..

With more 3 billion people are highly dependent on marine ecosystems for food and livelihoods, establishing solutions to achieve ocean-related objectives 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 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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 from a wide range of stakeholders is essential to optimizing the unique opportunity offered by UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 to 2030), and realizing 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) is the body that works to strengthen international cooperation in ocean science and ocean research, a job that no single country can do alone.

A critical time

Hailing recent progress in marine ocean research and ocean observations, scientists at the Conference are stressing the importance of no longer waiting to act.

Veteran marine biologist and oceanographer, Sylvia Earleattended events throughout the week in Lisbon.

Use your power and get others to use theirs to protect nature, give back, stop killing and understand the pollution we’re causing, we can stop it too, said Ms Earle.

Describing knowledge itself as a superpower, Ms. Earle added: this is the time, a critical time, never before, never again, take action. We have the best chance ever to find a place within natural systems to keep us alive.

Taking part in an event that calls for bold action, Emanuel Gonalves, board member and chief scientist of Oceano Azul Foundationreiterated the need to act now and not wait for 2030 to achieve the SDGs.

We cannot wait another 30 years to protect the eight percent of the ocean that we have now, and even that eight percent is not properly protected. We only have two to three percent fully protected, so we need to set this agenda now and not in 2030, said Mr. Gonalves. Calling for new annual targets to spur action, he added that the moment is now and that we cannot wait any longer.

An ocean scientist conducts research while snorkeling in American Samoa.

Ocean Image Bank/Shaun Wolfe

An ocean scientist conducts research while snorkeling in American Samoa.

Law of the sea and high seas

The promotion of ocean science is recognized by United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seawhich defines the obligations of states and international organizations to promote international cooperation in marine scientific research, optimize conditions for scientists and promote the flow of scientific data.

With the open seas representing more than half or the global Ocean, Mr. Gonalves, underlined the importance of solving the problem of his governance.

Current mechanisms do not allow us to set protected areas, and without high seas it is not possible to achieve a 30 percent protection. We need to make sure that the high seas agreement moves, not only now, but also that it moves in a direction that empowers institutions to be able to direct this 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 backyard what will you do to plant native plants, flowers and trees that can help the Ocean? Protecting nature is everyone’s duty.

According to Mr. Gonalves, each of us can do three things to help save the Ocean: vote, promote solutions to problems, and change our consumer behavior.

Fish swim around a coral reef in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt.

Coral Reef Image Bank/Alexander

Fish swim around a coral reef in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt.

Speaking of TO GET UP about the Ocean initiative, the ecologist and marine interlocutor said that the initiative which is a joint call of civil society, fishermen, indigenous peoples and philanthropic organizations to governments and corporations to agree on bold actions to protect the ocean Mr. Gonalves said the world needs to move from a call to action to a plan of action.

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’ pre-Lisbon agreement proves that the world is on the right track to undertake urgent action to avoid increasing damage to the ocean, calling the result reassuring and profound.

UN News will bring you coverage of the final day of the UN Ocean Conference on Friday.




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