Keeping the momentum to #SaveOurOcean
The UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, but it’s no time to press snooze on ocean issues. In fact, the zoonotic coronavirus makes it clear that we must build our cities sustainably and avoid encroaching on wildlife habitats, to avoid increasing our risks for disease exposure.
Despite current challenges, 2020 is still a super year for biodiversity, and the UN is working hard this June to promote environmental issues in support of World Environment Day (5 June) and World Oceans Day (8 June). And there are a number of ways to participate and get involved!
First up, UN DESA has been organizing a webinar series to keep up the momentum for ocean action and engage different stakeholder groups on the latest in SDG 14 implementation and offer them a place to network and inspire new partnerships. The first webinar in May brought together more than 400 youth activists, and the second was aimed at private sector representatives. Our next webinar takes place on 3 June for Asia-Pacific stakeholders, and one for local and regional governments will take place later. To join our webinar on 3 June, sign up here by 1 June.
We also hope you can join the UN World Oceans Day celebration on 8 June, where special attention will be given to this year’s theme, “innovations for a sustainable ocean.” The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, will kick off a “Spotlight Solutions” segment in which eight ocean scientists and entrepreneurs will present their innovations in a “Shark Tank”-style format. Other speakers include the Secretary-General, the actress Cara Delavigne and the environmental activist Bill McKibben.
Additionally, be sure to check out the Reboot the Ocean event—a global hackathon featuring inspiring young people with innovative and techy solutions to today’s ocean challenges. And don’t miss cooking demonstrations by world renowned chefs using sustainably-sourced seafood, live on the @unworldoceansday Instagram account.
Finally, if you or your organization are making efforts to care for the ocean and its resources, we encourage you to register your commitment with UN DESA. Launched in 2017, ahead of the first UN Ocean Conference, the registry now has more than 1,600 commitments, ranging from sustainable fishery programmes, to mangrove and coral reef conservation projects and marine data collection efforts. Behind each commitment is an inspiring story of ocean action. UN DESA has coordinated all of the commitments into nine active Communities of Ocean Action that are following up on their implementation and facilitating collaboration and knowledge-sharing.
The challenges facing our ocean haven’t stopped with COVID-19, and the UN continues working hard to provide many ways to take ocean action now.
Photo: Henley Spiers, UN World Ocean Day competition 2019