The five-day United Nations Ocean Conference beginning on June 27 in Lisbon comes at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of the societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Themed around “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions”, the Conference hopes to unlock ocean-based solutions to address some of the most defining issues of our time, from climate change to economic inequality.
“The ocean is a lifeline for millions of people and economies in the Asia-Pacific region. But the health of the ocean is in serious decline - and we now stand at a critical juncture to mobilize much-needed action, partnerships and innovative science-based solutions to protect our future,” said the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) of the United Nations on Monday (June 20).
Over the past few years, it said the region has taken concrete steps to protect our ocean. The ESCAP has forged consensus among countries in the region, through a resolution adopted in 2020, to collectively work together in conserving and sustainably using the ocean, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, as well as to accelerate implementation of the ten SDG14 target areas.
Countries also recognized the importance of low-carbon solutions for maritime connectivity when adopting a new Regional Action Programme on sustainable transport development last year, and further called for aligning finance with our ocean, climate and broader SDG aspirations.
The ocean is at the heart of our work at ESCAP. This year, ESCAP submitted a new voluntary commitment to continue to convene Governments and other stakeholders in Asia and the Pacific to enhance regional cooperation on ocean work.
This comes on the back of the successful implementation of a similar commitment made at the first Global Ocean Conference in 2017.