UN head calls for an ocean science revolution

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres giving a speech
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres | Image: Michael Gottschalk/Photothek

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.

United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)
United Nations Decade of Ocean Science

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.

Gulls flying above a pristine beach at sunrise
Gulls flying above a pristine beach | Image: Frank McKenna on Unsplash

Protecting and sustainably managing the ocean is essential for food, livelihoods and mitigating climate disruption and related disasters

António 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.”

United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)

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