Africa-Press – Eritrea. The second UN Ocean conference co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Portugal in Lisbon has come to an end.
Deliberations in the five-day conferences were centred on the great opportunities and threats facing the global oceans and sustainable solutions to managing the ocean ecosystem.
Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, opened the conference on June 27, 2022, where heads of state and other policymakers across the globe were in attendance.
The conference was aimed at propelling the needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter for the global ocean action.
The solutions to ocean action are anchored on the sustainable development goal 14 which translates to conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
The conference participants pushed for the youths to be the torch bearers for the innovations needed to achieve the ocean action.
Since the Ocean economies are aimed at having a shared future, the youths were urged to be actively involved in ocean policy-making and come up with science-based innovations.
The private sector has also been urged to join partnerships that support ocean research and sustainable management.
Guterres said that international partnerships have been working to create marine protected areas for the recovery of fisheries and biodiversity.
President Uhuru who was co-hosting the conference alongside Marcello Rebelo de Sousa, the Portuguese president, stated that sustainable management of the ocean could lead to the production of more food and the generation of more renewable energy.
“If we manage the oceans more sustainably, it could produce as much as six times more food, generate forty times more renewable energy than it currently does and help lift millions of people globally out of poverty,” Uhuru said.
Oceans cover 70 percent of the global surface with over 3 billion people depending on the coastal biodiversity for livelihood and are also home to 80 percent of all life in the world.
90 percent of world goods are traded across the oceans too.
Human action threatens ocean life as more than 8 tonnes of plastics are dumped into the oceans each year which contaminates marine life and also destroys and alters the marine ecosystem.
“Nearly 80% of wastewater is discharged to the sea without treatment and some 8 million tones plastic into the ocean every year without drastic action which could overweight all the fish in the ocean by 2050,” Guterres added.
Human action also threatens the stability of fish populations through illegal and unregulated fishing.
Guterres said the climate crisis was also making the ocean more acidic, disrupting the marine food chain.
Human action destroys marine life, threatening the survival of communities that depend on fishing and tourism for their livelihood.
The need for fast action to save the oceans was pointed out as the global heating was rising the ocean temperatures to record levels, creating fierce and more frequent storms, and making the sea levels rise.
Among the recommendations made was the investment in sustainable ocean economies for food, renewable energy, and livelihoods.
This will help manage global problems by preventing and reducing marine pollution.
As a way of combating the impacts of climate change, the UN Secretary-General has advocated that all new coastal infrastructure be climate-resilient and that the shipping sector commits to and implement net-zero emissions by 2050.
This conference was to be held in 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Kenya hosted the 2018 sustainable blue economy conference where untapped opportunities to enhance marine technology and innovation were highlighted.