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UN’s Ocean Conference: To safeguard the lives underwater

The Ocean conference held from June 5-9 was the first UN conference of its kind, raising ocean awareness on marine pollution, illegal/over fishing, ocean acidification and lack of governance over high seas or international waters.

The ocean, which covers about 70% of our planet, consists of vast and unique species of marine flora and fauna. The length and depth of the ocean makes it more mysterious as new creatures and plants are still being discovered.

However, the health of this diverse oceanic life is deteriorating and failure to contain the situation may cost our health, economy, resources, marine bio-diversity and a betrayal of the current and future generations.

The sea, which has been a source of providence of food, resources and even a natural clock for seasonal changes, have always had a mutual relationship with its coastal guardians who in turn took care of it with eco-friendly practices.

This however, has changed over centuries with industrial and technological advancement with human activities becoming complex, producing more wastes than the earth’s natural processes can contain.

The conference saw 193 UN member states agreeing to a set of measurements that will be used to safe guard our oceans and restore its health.

“The Ocean Conference has changed our relationship with the ocean,” said the President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson.

“Henceforth none can say they were not aware of the harm humanity has done to the ocean’s health. We are now working around the world to restore a relationship of balance and respect towards the ocean.”

In the Call for Action, countries agreed to implement long-term and robust strategies to reduce the use of plastics and microplastics, such as plastic bags and single use plastics.

Countries also agreed to develop and implement effective adaptation and mitigation measures that address ocean and coastal acidification, sea-level rise and increase in ocean temperatures, and to target the other harmful impacts of climate change on the ocean.  The Call recognises the importance of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

While these steps take the world closer towards a safeguarded ocean, it also contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal number 14: Life Below Water.


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