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UN Ocean Conference ends with call for greater ambition and global commitment to address dire state of the Ocean |


Found past “collective failure” in the Conference’s final statementWorld leaders call for greater ambition to ensure that the dire state of the oceans is addressed, and frankly admit to being “deeply alarmed at the global emergency facing the oceans.” “.

At the closing ceremony, the UN Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Miguel de Serpa Soares, commended the co-hosts – Portugal and Kenya – for the enormous success of the conference.

“[The Conference] gave us opportunity to unpack important issues and generate new ideas. It also clarifies the work that remains, and the need to scale that work up to restore our oceans,” said Serpa Soares, adding that what is needed now is to turn the tide. .

More than 6,000 delegates, including 24 Heads of State and Government, and more than 2,000 representatives of civil society attended the Conference, advocating for urgent and concrete actions to tackle the ocean crisis. .

Collective failure

Realize a “Collectively failed to achieve Ocean-related targets” hitherto, innovation leaders committed to urgent action and cooperation at all levels to fully achieve the goals as soon as possible.


Among the What are the challenges facing the Ocean? These are coastal erosion, sea level rise, warmer and more acidic waters, marine pollution, overexploitation of fish stocks and reduced marine biodiversity.

Acknowledging that climate change is “one of the greatest challenges of our time”, and that it is necessary to “act decisively and urgently to improve health, productivity, sustainable use and resilience of the oceans and its ecosystems”, leading politicians in Lisbon stressed that innovative and science-based actions, along with international cooperation, are essential. needed to provide the necessary solutions.

Calling for transformative change, leaders emphasized the need to address the cumulative effects of a warming planet on the oceans, including ecosystem degradation and the extinction of oceans. species.

Reconfirm commitments

Reaffirming that the ocean is fundamental to life on our planet and for our future, the signatories stress the special importance of implementing Paris Agreement of 2015 and of last November Glasgow Climate Pact to help ensure the health, productivity, sustainable use and resilience of the oceans.

“We are committed to preventing and reversing the decline in the health of the ocean’s ecosystems and biodiversity, while protecting and restoring its resilience and ecological integrity.

Voluntary commitments include:

  • The Protect Our Planet Challenge will invest at least $1 billion to support the creation, expansion and management of marine protected areas by 2030.
  • The European Investment Bank will extend an additional EUR 150 million to the Caribbean as part of its Clean Oceans Initiative to improve climate resilience, water management and solid waste management.
  • Portugal is committed to ensuring that 100% of the marine area under Portuguese sovereignty or jurisdiction is assessed as in a Good Environmental State and classifies 30% of its national marine areas by 2030.
  • Kenya is currently developing a national, inclusive and multi-stakeholder green economic strategic plan. Kenya is also committed to developing a national action plan on marine plastic waste.
  • India is committed to the Coastal Clean Seas Campaign and will work towards a ban on single-use plastics.

“We call for a global post-2020 biodiversity framework that is ambitious, balanced, practical, effective, robust and transformable,” continued the Lisbon statement.

A healthy and restorative marine environment is the cornerstone of climate regulation and sustainable development, with the potential to produce food and energy for billions of people.

At the conference, more than 150 member countries have made a voluntary commitment to conserve or protect at least 30 percent of the global ocean in Marine Protected Areas and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2030.

“I am very impressed by the new commitments [countries made]Serpa Soares spoke at the closing ceremony, adding that “commitments must be made with speed and monitored”. Some examples include:

  • Protect or exceed 30% of national waters by 2030
  • Achieving carbon neutrality by 2040
  • Reduce plastic pollution
  • Increase use of renewable energy
  • Allocate billions of dollars for ocean acidification research, climate resilience projects, and monitoring, control and monitoring

Beyond 2030

The United Nations Decade for Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to achieve the science we need, for the ocean we want.

With a mission to generate and use knowledge for the transformational actions needed to achieve a healthy, safe and resilient ocean for sustainable development by 2030 and beyond, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is driving development for the Decade of Action.

Therefore, the Decade framework is designed to better manage the oceans, restore fish stocks; mobilize actions for sustainable fisheries and sustainable aquaculture for quality, safe and nutritious food.


One of the biggest threats to our oceans is man-made pollution.

Ocean Image Bank / Thomas Horig

One of the biggest threats to our oceans is man-made pollution.

It is also aimed at reduce marine pollution of all kindsfrom sources on land and at sea, towards more effective marine protection, development and implementation of climate change adaptation measures, disaster risk reduction and impacts of sea level rise, along with reducing emissions from maritime traffic.

Recognizing that developing countries, in particular small island developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries, facing specific capacity challenges, political leaders are committing to intensifying data collection efforts and increasing cooperation at all levels to share knowledge sharing.

After Lisbon

Finance is another specific focus of the statement. The seven-page document says that innovative financial solutions must be found to accelerate the transition towards sustainable ocean-based economies and scale up nature-based solutions, as well as ecosystem-based approaches to support the resilience, restoration and conservation of coastal ecosystems.

Declare that The conference proved Green Economy is now an important part of future security of humanity, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Oceans, Peter Thomsoncall for more funding for it.


Sustainable fishing is improving livelihoods in Haiti.

UNDP / Pierre Michel Jean

Sustainable fishing is improving livelihoods in Haiti.

He noted that the Secretary-General promoted consensus, after the launch Red alert for humanityand Mr Thomson added that 2022 is proving to be a “super year”, calling on young people to participate in all discussions about the future of the ocean, moving forward.

Speaking to UN News, Miguel de Serpa Soares added that the UN Ocean Conference is not the only focus for ocean activities this year.

“Over the next few months, we will have a number of key events that provide ample opportunities to showcase our commitment and ambition to turn the tide in favor of ocean sustainability.”


Participants of the 2022 United Nations Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

© Rodrigo Cabrita

Participants of the 2022 United Nations Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

After the events in Lisbon, Our path to save the ocean will continue through the Intergovernmental Conference on the Marine Biodiversity Treaty of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework negotiations and the negotiations on strengthening the Key and climate adaptation actions at COP27 in Egypt.

Empowering youth, women and indigenous peoples

Recognizing the important role of indigenous, traditional and local knowledge, innovation and practice held by indigenous peoples, as well as the role of the social sciences in planning, decision-making and implementation, leaders are calling for meaningful participation from local communities.


Young volunteers supporting the Ocean Conference in Lisbon.

UN News / Eleuterio Guevane

Young volunteers supporting the Ocean Conference in Lisbon.

“Empowering women and girls, for their full, equal and meaningful participation is key to moving towards a sustainable ocean-based economy and achieving Goal 14.” The statement emphasizes the importance of empowering young people to help them understand “the need to contribute to the health of the oceans, including in decision-making, through promoting and supporting education.” quality and lifelong learning for ocean literacy”.

Calling on stakeholders to urgently implement ambition and act in concert to accelerate implementation to achieve Goal 14, the Conference concluded that “restore harmonization with nature through an ocean in Health is very important to the planet.”

Hope and Urgency

Serpa Soares concluded: “As we leave, we must continue to fulfill our commitments with renewed hope and urgency.

“As the famous Tongan and Fijian writer, Epeli Hau’ofa said, we are the ocean. The ocean is in all of us, it is what sustains us, and it is the basis for our future existence on this planet Earth. ”, he said.

The power of science

Based on the science focus of the week, UNESCO has come up with its key Ocean Status Report on Friday.

The report was developed to provide new and revealing data on the current state of the ocean, structured around the original 10 challenges of the Decade.

UNESCO Head of Ocean Science, Henrik Enevoldsen, spoke to UN News and said that the report complements the conference’s scientific work, enhancing our capacity to manage the oceans.


Speaking of the conference’s outcome, he said it “highlights areas where we need more knowledge to provide a proper basis for decision-makers.” [and to] Better management of the ocean.

UN News has been in Lisbon, Portugal all week, bringing you multimedia coverage of the Ocean Conference. You can access all our reports and interviews, here.



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