The Secretary-General today visited the Praslin Bay in St. Lucia, where he saw firsthand the devastating effects of Sargassum seaweed and heard from fishermen and sea moss farmers on the impact it is having in their community.
“I have seen today firsthand the serious impact that Sargassum is having on Praslin Bay and its people, threatening the economy of an entire community and the precious marine ecosystem,” said the Secretary-General.
The Secretary-General, who was accompanied by St. Lucia’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Education and Gender Environmental, Gale Rigobert, was also briefed on national and regional efforts to tackle this issue. This includes not just large-scale clean-ups but also using alternative solutions such as using Sargassum as a fertilizer.
The situation in St. Lucia is emblematic of a problem that is impacting communities across the Caribbean. Sargassum creates a strong stench, kills marine vegetation and creatures, and disrupts coastal activities such as fishing and tourism. It also presents a health hazard as bacteria begin to spread as the seaweed decomposes.
“I was deeply impressed by this landscape that resembled an algae desert for hundreds of metres. Climate change is one of the causes for this, along with marine pollution and phosphates brought into the sea by big rivers. Seeing the Sargassum and the effect it is having on people only reaffirms the urgency of taking climate action and finding sustainable solutions to keep our oceans healthy. Oceans don’t know borders, nor does climate. It is a global collective responsibility to take action now.”
The Secretary-General’s visit to St Lucia comes two months ahead of his Climate Summit, and he has called on world leaders to come to the Summit in New York with concrete, realistic plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. He has also emphasized the need to increase ambition and support to small developing countries in the areas of adaptation, mitigation and access to climate finance. In addition to the Climate Summit, the international community will have a chance to focus on issues concerning the oceans at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon next year.
“Praslin Bay is an example of how climate change is affecting vulnerable communities, but its effects are rapidly affecting people and economies worldwide. I was heartened to see that St. Lucia is working on innovative solutions to the problem and that it is working with other Caribbean countries to lead the way in climate action, adaptation and mitigation. The international community should support these efforts by providing the necessary public and private resources needed to tackle these pressing issues.” the Secretary-General said.
Photos and of the Secretary-General’s visit are available at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/20kjq8twy984rve/AAA-iJ_j07u-ELZqT-3QdpUga?dl=0
Video will be available shortly at: https://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/
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