UN chief urges countries to meet goals on climate change as they recover from global pandemic

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 08 (APP):United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Monday urged governments to commit to the conservation and sustainability of the world’s oceans amid the continuing global fight against coronavirus pandemic.
“I urge governments and all stakeholders to commit to the conservation and sustainability of the oceans through innovation and science,” Guterres said in his message for the World Oceans Day, an international day that is observed annually on June 8.
“As we work to end the pandemic and build back better, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity – and responsibility – to correct our relationship with the natural world, including the world’s seas and oceans”, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres upheld in his message for the day.
“Today, sea levels are rising due to climate change, threatening lives and livelihoods in low-lying nations and coastal cities and communities around the world”, Mr. Guterres reminded.
Moreover, as the oceans are becoming increasingly acidic, marine biodiversity and essential food chains are increasingly being jeopardized, it was pointed out. And plastic pollution has become ubiquitous.
Against this backdrop, ‘Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean’, has been chosen as this year’s theme.
“The upcoming United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will provide impetus and a common framework for action”, the UN chief said, urging governments and all concerned to commit innovation and science to conserve and sustain the world’s oceans.
In that same vein, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the UN General Assembly, underscored in his statement that the unsustainable misuse of this valuable resource threatens “the ability of our oceans to provide for us”.
“As we look towards the Decade, which will begin next year, I encourage everyone to take urgent action by putting protection measures into motion to enable the oceans to create a better world on land and under water, for generations to come”.
In January, the Decade of Action and Delivery opened to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Protection of marine biodiversity is of essential importance as we progress with the implementation of SDG14”, Mohammad-Bande said, referring to the 14th global goal, to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
He also pointed out that four SDG targets pertaining to the goal, expire in 2020.
“This World Oceans Day, we must take a moment to reflect on and appreciate all that the ocean does for us. It is also an opportunity for us to look forward”, he pointed out, exhorting everyone to “harness the potential of blue and green economies”.
Strategic investments can generate 100 million jobs by 2050, facilitating critical global recovery efforts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Assembly president.
“This year we must take action to prevent a further eight million tons of plastic waste from entering the ocean and protect global ecosystems”, he stressed.
In closing, Mohammad-Bande asked all Member States to “commit to protecting 30 per cent of our blue planet by 2030”, in order to safeguard at least 30 per cent of our ocean, through a network of highly protected areas.