3 February 2021

Secretary-General, Launching Ocean Science Decade, Says Making Peace with Nature Key to Delivering Prosperous, Equitable World

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video remarks at the launch of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, held today:

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the fragility and vulnerability of our societies.  To recover stronger and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must stop degrading the environment we depend on.

The ocean faces unprecedented threats due to human activity.  By 2050, there may be more plastic than fish in the sea.  And all the world’s tropical coral reefs could be dead by the end of the century if we don’t act now.  Protecting and sustainably managing the ocean is essential for food, livelihoods and mitigating climate disruption and related disasters.

More than 80 per cent of our ocean is unmapped and unexplored.  Yet, ocean science accounts for a minuscule amount of funding.  To restore the marine environment, we need knowledge — an ocean science revolution.

Today, we launch the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.  Restoring the ocean’s ability to nurture humanity and regulate the climate is a defining challenge.  It will influence the outcome of our efforts to stem biodiversity loss, implement the Paris Agreement [on climate change] and meet the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals.

We must make peace with nature to deliver a prosperous and equitable world for all, leaving no one behind.  Welcome to the Ocean Decade.  Together, let’s build a brave new ocean.

For information media. Not an official record.