Science to save the oceans

The fourth day of the United Nations Ocean Conference focused on The role of the scientific community in making the blue shift possible From the human relationship with the sea.

with More than 3 billion people depend heavily on marine ecosystems For their food and sustenance, deploying solutions to meet ocean-related goals depends on the actions of present and future generations.

Coral Reef Image Bank / Alexander

Fish swim around coral reefs in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt.

Science for sustainable development

In recent years, there has been greater scientific innovation and progressive recognition of the importance of oceanography in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030.

Many initiatives have been developed and implemented not only by the United Nations, but also by governments, civil society and the scientific community.

The commitment and participation of stakeholders are essential to making the most of the unique opportunity it offers United Nations Decade of Oceanography for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) and making the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a reality.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) is the body that promotes international cooperation in ocean science and ocean research, a task that no country can undertake alone.

critical moment

Scientists at the conference praised recent developments in marine research, and stressed the need for immediate action.

The Veteran marine biologist and oceanographer Sylvia Earle Participate throughout the week in the Lisbon event.

“Use your power and get others to use their power to protect nature, to reciprocate, to stop the killing, and to understand that we can stop the pollution we are doing,” Earl said, adding, “This is the time, now is the time…or never, a critical time to take action.” It is the best opportunity to find a place within the natural systems to keep us alive.”

Emmanuel Gonçalves, Board Member and Chief Scientist at Blue Ocean Foundationalso reiterate the need to act now:

“We can’t wait another 30 years to protect 8% of the ocean, which we have now, even 8% isn’t adequately protected. Only 2-3% is fully protected, so we need to get this agenda right now, not public 2030,” Gonçalves said.

A marine biologist examines a coral reef aquarium inside a laboratory at the Australian Institute of Oceanography.

© Giacomo Dorlando

A marine biologist examines a coral reef aquarium inside a laboratory at the Australian Institute of Oceanography.

Law of the Sea and the High Seas

Promote ocean science recognized by United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seawhich sets out the obligations of states and international organizations to promote international cooperation in marine scientific research, to create optimal conditions for scientists and to promote the dissemination of scientific data.

Since the high seas account for more than half of the oceans, Gonçalves emphasized the urgent need to solve the problem of governing in them.

Existing mechanisms do not allow us to create protected areasWithout the high seas, 30% of the oceans cannot be protected. “We must make sure that the High Seas Convention progresses not only now, and that we put it on the right track so that institutions can ensure that protection is up and running,” the expert said.

Elvira Alvarado, a marine biologist dedicated to saving coral reefs, snorkeling with colleagues in Colombia.

Ecomaris / Andrés Obregón

Elvira Alvarado, a marine biologist dedicated to saving coral reefs, snorkeling with colleagues in Colombia.

And what can you do?

For Sylvia Earle, life depends on the oceans: “The ocean keeps us alive, and we have to keep the ocean alive‘, he said, asking each of us to do something to save them: ‘In your own backyard, what would you do to grow native plants, flowers, and trees that could help the ocean? Protecting nature is everyone’s job.

Gonçalves suggests three things to help save the ocean: vote, promote problem-solving and change our consumer behavior.

Also when talking about the initiative Rise for the ocean (Joint call from civil society, fishermen, indigenous peoples and charitable organizations to governments and businesses to adopt measures to protect the ocean) Gonçalves claimed that what the world needs is to move from appeal to action, to a concrete plan of action.

For his part, Liu Zhenmin, head of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said the political declaration to be adopted on Friday, following the agreement of member states reached before Lisbon, shows that the world is in full swing. Track to take urgent action to prevent further damage to the oceans, describing the outcome as “reassuring and profound.”

Until Friday, UN News will provide you with daily coverage of the conference, as well as interviews, podcasts and reports, which you can access here.

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