Antonio Guterres urges the world to rise to the challenge of restoring the marine environment
The Secretary-General gave an impassioned speech to mark the start of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The UN chief said it comes as oceans face ‘unprecedented’ threats from human activity. António Guterres was addressing the Brave New Ocean virtual gathering of world leaders, scientists, philanthropists and ocean advocates.
The UN’s First World Ocean Assessment, published in 2016, cited inaction as the greatest threat to ocean protection. It stated that as the global population continued to rise, demands on marine resources were soaring. It also warned that as many parts of the ocean were being degraded, pollution went unabated. Sewage, garbage, oil spills and industrial waste were destroying a provider of oxygen, food and water for humanity.
Protecting and sustainably managing the ocean is essential for food, livelihoods and mitigating climate disruption and related disastersAntónio Guterres – United Nations Secretary-General
The UN chief noted that funding in marine science is critical, but ‘miniscule.’ UN officials are urging nations to embrace a commitment to support marine science and jump start initiatives to protect oceans for the next ten years.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the fragility and vulnerability of our societies,” said Guterres. “To recover stronger and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must stop degrading the environment we depend on.”