As the first day of the SDG14 prep meeting came to a close, member states and civil society alike echoed the need to ensure a robust, determined and ambitious approach to delivering SDG14 in its aim to protect the ocean, and in doing so helping to alleviate poverty, ensure food security, promote sustainable development and secure a healthy, diverse and functioning planet.
During the meeting, NGO’s called for inclusiveness, transparency and a sense of urgency to guide the deliberations, especially on the 7 themes and for these to focus on cross-cutting themes that will help implement the targets in an integrated fashion such as building resilient oceans, sustainable blue economy and integrated ocean planning and management.
In addition, groups emphasized the importance of not only stepping up efforts to achieve the relevant CBD Aichi Targets of protecting 10% of the ocean by 2020, but managing them effectively, financing them securely and going 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 a declaration statement of support for advancing the process to create a new implementing agreement under UNCLOS for the conservation and sustainable use of areas beyond national jurisdiction and thus closing this last, massive ocean governance loophole.
And finally, for fisheries management organizations to adopt modern tools to manage highly migratory species, such as tunas, within science-based limits and to ensure the verifiability and legality of catches.
As the Holy See’s UN representative reminded us during today’s meeting, “The environment is on loan to each generation and must be passed onto the next…” and that “…no valid partner should be left behind”.
Business as usual will not help us achieve the Ocean goal. We need all stakeholders to support a shift towards improved management of ocean resources, healthy ocean ecosystems, and a sustainable Blue Economy.