Jun 8, 2020

8 June 2020 

On World Ocean Day we recall that life under water is essential to life on land. The ocean produces half of the oxygen we breathe. As a major heat and carbon sink, the ocean plays a fundamental role in mitigating climate change. The ocean also provides food for billions around the world.

Yet the unsustainable misuse of ocean resources, climate change, and pollution all threaten the ability of our oceans to provide for us all. Protection of marine biodiversity is of essential importance as we progress with the implementation of SDG14.

As we begin the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, we are focused on nature. A healthy marine environment holds untold potential for achieving the entirety of the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Four SDG targets pertaining to SDG14: Life Under Water expire in 2020. This World Ocean Day, we must take a moment to reflect on and appreciate all that the ocean does for us. It is also an opportunity for us to look forward.

We must harness the potential of blue and green economies. Strategic investments can generate 100 million jobs by 2050, facilitating critical global recovery efforts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year we must take action to prevent a further eight million tons of plastic waste from entering the ocean and protect global ecosystems. We simply cannot stand by while oceans acidify, sea levels rise and pollution increases.

Today I ask all Member States to commit to protecting 30% of our blue planet by 2030. This will safeguard at least 30% of our ocean through a network of highly protected areas.

Ocean action will create a better world on land and under water for generations to come. Together, let us take urgent action as we look towards the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

I thank you.