MEDIA ADVISORY: Preparations for The Ocean Conference


13 February 2017

Preparations for The Ocean Conference get underway in New York, 15-16 February 2017

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 13 February 2017 – With concern mounting that the state of the world’s ocean is rapidly deteriorating, United Nations Member States and civil society groups will gather for a two-day preparatory meeting this week at UN Headquarters in New York to begin planning for The Ocean Conference in June.

This week’s preparatory meeting will allow a broad range of stakeholders to prepare and build momentum for The Ocean Conference, including through discussions on the “Call for Action” – a global declaration that will set the course toward a more sustainable future for our oceans. At the meeting, Member States will also launch the process for registering voluntary commitments for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which calls for efforts to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. A list of such commitments will be among the key outcomes of The Ocean Conference.

Today, more than 3.5 billion people depend on the ocean for their primary source of food and an estimated 40 million people worldwide are employed directly by the US$21 trillion ocean economy. Every day, our oceans contribute to poverty eradication, promote sustainable livelihoods and employment, as well as improve global food security and human health. They are also the primary regulator of the global climate and a vital sink for greenhouse gases.

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. Plastic waste alone kills up to 1 million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals and countless fish each year. Moreover, death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy some US$7.2 billion.

The Ocean Conference, which will take place from 5 to 9 June 2017, will result in a call for action urging Member States and other stakeholders to assess challenges, identify opportunities and spur actions. It will strengthen partnerships to advance the implementation of SDG 14 and will present an opportunity to act now before the damage to the oceans and seas becomes irreversible.

The preparatory meeting will also feature side events on major issues affecting our oceans such as the state of global fish stocks, whale conservation, the blue economy, pollution, ocean science and technology, the ocean impacts of climate change and the resilience of Small Island States and coastal regions.

For more information, please visit: The preparatory meeting will be streamed live on UN WebTV:

For media accreditation for both events, please visit:

Main Speakers at the Preparatory Meeting:

  • Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly
  • Isabelle Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate of Sweden
  • Semi Koroilavesau, Minister for Fisheries of Fiji
  • Alvaro Mendonya Moura, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN and Co-facilitator
  • Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the UN and Co-facilitator
  • Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of The Ocean Conference
  • Stephen Mathias, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs

What: Preparatory Meeting of The Ocean Conference
When: 15 to 16 February 2017
Where: Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Social Media:
Please follow us for updates during the Preparatory Meeting and in the lead up to The Ocean Conference, using the hashtag #SaveOurOcean:

Media contacts:
For more information and interview opportunities, please contact the following contacts at the UN Department of Public Information:
Daniel Shepard, T: +1 (212) 963-9495 | E:
Devi Palanivelu, T: +1 (212) 963-1104 | E:

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