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The World Oceans Day event highlights immediate action to protect oceans – global issues

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A powerful video was shown reflecting the theme: awakening new depthswarning of the immediate protection needs and warning that there is no time for an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ sense of complacency.

In a statement marking the Day – which officially falls on Saturday – UN Secretary General António Guterres said that the ocean sustains life on Earth and that the problems are essentially man-made.

“Climate change does causing sea levels to rise and threatening the survival of small island states and coastal populations“, he said.

Mr Guterres also said ocean acidification is destroying coral reefs, with sea temperatures reaching record levels, leading to extreme weather events. Overfishing and other factors are contributing to the destruction of the world’s marine ecosystems.

General Assembly President Dennis Francis attended the event and expressed similar concerns about the current state of the ocean.

“There is still so much to learn about oceans – and, most importantly, about reversing the damage being done to our precious lifeline.”

Mr Francis said the ocean is our strongest ally against climate change and therefore “it is our shared responsibility to set the right course – and recommit to the sustainable management of the ocean’s precious resources – to guarantee their intergenerational availability.”

The Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly said they expect reflections and actions on ways to restore and protect our oceans at the Summit of the Future in September 2024 and the approach of the UN Oceans Conference next year.

State of the Ocean Report

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has released a State of the Ocean Report earlier this week, policymakers urged them to think about “the ocean we need for the future we want.”

The report describes threats to the ocean and trends that can help identify the drivers of change.

It warned that the rate of ocean warming has doubled in 20 years and that coastal species are suffocating due to factors including reduced oxygen levels in the ocean.

One of the conclusions is that “ocean literacy practices and research are a strategic ally to optimize resources, accelerate behavior change, and improve the implementation of ocean conservation programs and sustainability practices.”

Calls to action

Speakers at UN Headquarters on Friday included marine biologist and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who said finding ways to share the importance of protecting our ocean with the world could lead to crucial action to also protect wildlife to preserve the coast.

“Now is the time for governments, companies, investors, scientists and communities to come together in defense of our oceansaid UN Secretary General Guterres.

In a similar call to action, General Assembly President Francis said that we “redouble our efforts to support and promote ocean actionbuild much-needed capacity in (small island developing states) and other developing countries – and promote innovative financing solutions that drive transformation and increase resilience.”

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