UN head declares ‘ocean emergency’ as global leaders gather in Lisbon

António Guterres says the world must turn the tide of rising sea levels, ocean heating, acidification and plastics pollution.

The UN secretary general has declared that the world is in the middle of an “ocean emergency”, and urged governments to do more to restore ocean health.

Speaking at the opening of the UN ocean conference in Lisbon, Portugal, attended by global leaders and heads of state from 20 countries, António Guterres said: “Sadly, we have taken the ocean for granted and today we face what I would call an ocean emergency. We must turn the tide.”

More than 3.5 billion people depend on the ocean for food security, while 120 million work directly in fisheries and aquaculture-related activities, the majority in small-island developing states and least developed countries. Yet SDG (sustainable development goal) 14 (to conserve and sustainably use the ocean seas and marine environment for sustainable development) is the least funded of all the SDGs, Guterres said.

The draft declaration of the conference acknowledges the world’s collective failure to achieve SDG14 and commits to reversing the health of the ocean, but it does not elaborate on how this will be achieved. It also makes reference to the need for financing for developing countries to help implement Marine Protected Areas.

The final draft of the political declaration is expected to be adopted at the end of the conference.

Read full original article UN head declares ‘ocean emergency’ as global leaders gather in Lisbon at theguardian.com

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