First UN talks to save oceans kick off today

"We must jointly address the problems of governance that have held us back", he said, calling for a new strategic vision on how to govern oceans and marine resources.

The high-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development will be convened at United Nations Headquarters in NY from 5 to 9 June 2017, coinciding with World Oceans Day, to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.

One of the main challenges, he said, is to end the "artificial dichotomy" between jobs and healthy oceans.

He called for strong political leadership and new partnerships, based on the existing legal framework, and concrete steps, such as expanding marine protected areas and reducing plastic waste pollution.

"Human activities have a major impact on the ocean, affecting everything from the viability of marine habitats and the quality and temperature of the water to the health of marine life and the continued availability of seafood", the United Nations organisers said.

Thousands of people are expected to attend - including heads of State and Government, civil society representatives, business people, as well as actors, and ocean and marine life advocates.

Organised by the United Nations to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, the Ocean Conference is open to a broad range of stakeholders including non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector and philanthropic organisations.

The current President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, said he is "very confident" that there is an appetite to take action to aid oceans and marine life.

Co-chaired by Fiji and Sweden, the Conference aims to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Wu Hongbo, under-secretary-general for UN Economic and Social Affairs, stated that "climate change is an undeniable fact". "By adding to the conference's register of voluntary commitments; of producing practical solutions to Ocean's problems at the Partnership Dialogues; and through the affirmation of the conference's Call for Action, we have begun that process of reversing the wrongs".

  • Leroy Wright