Save the oceans to avert 'global catastrophe — United Nations chief

by Fredrick Graves June 8, 2017, 1:37
Save the oceans to avert 'global catastrophe — United Nations chief

Addressing the first worldwide Oceans Conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on Monday, Morales charged that by rejecting the scientific consensus and ditching the landmark agreement, the US -the world's largest driver of greenhouse gas emissions and its "main polluter"-was "denying science, turning [its] backs on multilateralism and attempting to deny a future to upcoming generations".

The five days discussions will focus on how to solve the problems facing oceans, including plastic pollution, overfishing and rising seas due to climate change.

"As a driving force in providing the investments and innovative solutions to address climate change and mitigate risks, business will continue to be a vital partner in collective efforts to seek pragmatic approaches to sustaining oceans and the resources they provide", said ICC Secretary General John Danilovich.

The end of the Conference will see the formal adoption of a Call for Action.

"The Commission on Sustainable Development at its 4th session, as a follow-up to the Rio Conference, noted inter-linkages among the protection of oceans and atmosphere, climate and desertification, maritime transport and energy".

"The issue of conserving and sustainably using our oceans is very complex, as oceans have a direct impact on poverty eradication, health, sustained economic growth, food security and creation of sustainable livelihoods and decent work", Ambassador Shava said.

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Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, is leading a Canadian delegation to the first ever UN Ocean Conference.

These actions are "the main threat to Mother Earth and to life itself", he said. Oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, causing coral bleaching and reducing biodiversity.

Micronesian President Peter Christian said Pacific islanders are concerned that the ocean has been "left to heal itself" after being used as "a dumping ground for industrial waste" and a weapons testing ground, and being polluted by humans on shores and ships at sea.

Targets include protecting at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine environments by 2020, reducing ocean pollution and strengthening ways to fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

Addressing the conference, UNSG António Guterres said the problems of the ocean, all created by human activity, can all be reversed and prevented with decisive, coordinated action.

They can also "promote uptake and long-term storage of carbon from greenhouse gas emissions, especially in coastal wetlands, which helps reduce the rate of climate change", the study said. "We will make this great conference the time to which those good stewards of the future will look back on as the turning point, the moment when we began the reversal of that cycle of decline of the Ocean".

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