The ocean acts as a giant carbon and heat sink. As a result, it is warming and acidifying, polar ice is melting and global weather patterns are changing,” UN chief António Guterres explained in his video message to the One Ocean Summit in the French port city of Brest for intensifying international efforts to protect the seas and oceans from negative effects resulting from climate change.
One Ocean Summit is being organised by France from February 9 to 11 in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Bank. Its goal is to raise the collective level of ambition of the international community on marine issues and to translate our shared responsibility to the ocean into tangible commitments, and aims to mobilise the international community to take tangible action towards preserving and supporting a healthy and sustainable ocean.
In his remarks at the One Ocean Summit, the Prime Minister said India is committed to eliminating single-use plastic and will be happy to join France in launching a global initiative on single-use plastics.
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As this year marks 40 years since the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, António Guterres asserted that “legal certainty in the oceans is essential”, UN chief underlined that more than three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. He painted a bleak picture citing the decline of marine species, the disappearance of coral reefs, the transformation of coastal ecosystems “to waste water and nutrient dumps, creating vast dead zones” and the smothering of nutrients and plastic waste choking the seas. He also pointed out the fish stocks being threatened by excessive and destructive fishing practices, as well as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
For the UN chief, the second United Nations conference on the oceans, to be held in Lisbon from June 27 to July 1 this year, is “an opportunity to cement the role of the oceans in the global effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change”.
The UN chief called on the international community to step up efforts to protect the ocean. “A sustainable blue economy can drive economic progress and job creation while protecting the ocean and the climate.”
He advocated “more numerous and more effective partnerships to combat land-based sources of marine pollution,” the urgent deployment of renewable energies at sea, “which can provide clean energy and jobs”, as well as reducing the use of fossil fuels in the ocean economy, knowing that “the maritime transport sector is responsible for nearly 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions”.