Friday, February 17, 2017

Roundup of the Day: SDG 14 Prep Meet Comes To A Close

The SDG14 Prep meeting wrapped up early today with all member states, civil society and stakeholders having made their inventions outlining what they would like to see in the final declaration. Co-chairs Portugal and the Philippines will now have the task of taking this information and preparing a zero draft.

Human activities and stressors including marine pollution, ocean acidification, overfishing and illegal fishing are depleting and seriously threatening the health of the ocean. The ocean is interconnected so that what happens in the high seas, eventually has an impact on ocean life in coastal communities and vice versa. A treaty to protect the biodiversity of the high seas is recognised by science as crucial for all ocean health, including coastal areas and NGO’s highlighted the need to bring legal protection to high seas biodiversity and to close this last, massive ocean governance loophole.

NGO’s reaffirmed the importance of reaching the CBD Aichi Targets of protecting 10% of the ocean by 2020, but also to look beyond this by strongly protecting at least 30% of the Ocean through marine reserves by 2030 and ensuring sustainable management in the other 70%. They also called for targets set under the Paris Agreement to be met, recognizing both tools as vital to achieving a healthy marine ecosystem that promotes food security and livelihoods for the millions of people that rely on the ocean for their survival.

In addition, they outlined the needs for transparent reporting of commitments and partnerships recorded at the Conference to ensure accountability and the need to secure additional financing for oceans solutions from public and private sources.

As Stephen Hawking recently reminded us, “we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity due to significant environmental challenges including climate change and ocean degradation…. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.”

The Ocean Conference provides a rare opportunity to make firm, ambitious commitments towards the delivery of the 2030 agenda. Our very existence depends upon the health of the ocean and we must all take urgent action to deliver the SDG14 targets.