Preparing for major event to save our ocean
The Ocean Conference will be held at UN Headquarters in New York on 5-9 June 2017, seeking to spur action to ensure the continued health of the world’s oceans. The conference will comprise of plenary meetings, partnership dialogues and a special event commemorating World Oceans Day. To prepare for this major event, the President of the General Assembly will be organizing a two-day preparatory meeting on 15-16 February in New York.
The preparatory meeting will consider the elements of the “Call for Action” – an intergovernmentally agreed declaration to support the implementation of SDG 14 that will be one of the outcomes of the Conference – as well as the themes for the partnership dialogues.
The meeting will be chaired by the two co-facilitators in charge of overseeing the preparatory process, H.E. Mr. Alvaro Mendonya Moura, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN, and H.E. Mr. Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the UN.
Based on the deliberations at the preparatory meeting and other inputs, the co-facilitators will present a concise draft “Call for Action” no later than in March 2017. The intergovernmental consultations on the text will be concluded by May 2017.
Oceans critical to sustainable development
“The Conference will be a great opportunity for Member States and stakeholders to assess challenges, identify opportunities and actions, as well as to strengthen partnerships to advance the implementation of SDG 14,” said Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo at a recent briefing on the Conference.
Mr. Wu, who is also the Conference Secretary-General, also highlighted the significance of Oceans: “Oceans, seas and coastal areas form an integrated and essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem. They are critical to sustainable development. Oceans contribute to poverty eradication by providing opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and employment. Oceans are crucial for global food security and human health. They are also the primary regulator of the global climate.”
He also noted that despite their importance, oceans, seas and marine resources are increasingly threatened, degraded or destroyed by human activities, reducing their ability to provide crucial ecosystem services.
The Ocean Conference and its preparatory meeting will be open to a broad range of stakeholders including non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and other actors.
The conference is co-hosted by the Governments of Fiji and Sweden to support the implementation of SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.