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On Asteroid Day, UN space agency urges international planning for potential impact threat

30 June 2017 – The potential impact of an asteroid or comet hitting Earth could be catastrophic, a top United Nations official today warned, urging the international community to come together to jointly raise awareness and develop a plan to mitigate the danger.

Marking the first observance of International Asteroid Day, the Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), said today was an opportunity to learn about the technological progress taking place around the world to both identify and counter asteroids.

“International cooperation is the best way to address the potential impact of an asteroid on our planet,” said Simonetta Di Pippo.

“Join us to raise awareness of the value of space technology to address global challenges, no matter where they come from and let’s work together for the benefit of all humankind.”

The Day, which will be marked annually on 30 June, is meant to “raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard and inform the public about the crisis communication actions to be taken at the global level in case of a credible near-Earth object threat,” according to the dedicated UN website.

The General Assembly chose 30 June to mark the date in 1908 when a massive explosion above Tunguska, in Siberian Russia, caused by an asteroid, hit a forested area reportedly flattening some 80 million trees.

The incident was “the Earth’s largest asteroid impact in recorded history,” according to the UN.

UNOOSA has said that it worked for many years to recognize asteroids or comets – both considered near-earth objects (NEOs) – as global issues demanding an international response.

“Addressing such a hazard, including the identification of those objects that pose a threat of impact and planning a corresponding mitigation campaign, requires cooperative action in the interest of public safety on the part of the global community,” the UN agency said.

Among most recent NEOs entering the Earth’s atmosphere, a large fireball disintegrated in the skies over Chelyabinsk on 15 February 2013. The fireball is said to have travelled at a speed of 18.6 km per second and was estimated to carry the equivalent of 440 kilotons of TNT explosives.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57092

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UN marks Day of the Tropics with focus on region’s vulnerability

29 June 2017 – The majority of the world’s most vulnerable communities are in the Tropics, and will be most affected by environmental threats, according to the United Nations, which today marked the International Day of the Tropics.

Loss of biodiversity is greater in the Tropics than in the rest of the world,” according to the Day’s official website, which noted that the region hosts some 80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity and much of its language and cultural diversity.

The UN has projected that by 2050, the region will host most of the world’s people and two-thirds of its children.

The Day “celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the tropics while highlighting unique challenges and opportunities nations of the Tropics face,” according to the website.

For example, nearly 95 per cent of the world’s mangrove forests by area are in the Tropics.

Mangroves – ecosystems located on the interface of land and sea in tropical regions – can play an important role in reducing vulnerability to natural hazards and increasing resilience to climate change impacts, by acting as a form of natural coastal defence.

However, mangroves are disappearing three to five times faster than overall global forest losses, with serious ecological and socio-economic impacts, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Today’s focus on the Tropics is meant to provide “an opportunity to take stock of progress across the Tropics, to share tropical stories and expertise and to acknowledge the diversity and potential of the region,” according to the Day’s website.

Thousands of people have tweeted photos and shared stories under the official hashtags of #WeAreTheTropics and #TropicsDay.

The Tropics stretch from the tropic of Cancer – which runs north of the Equator through Mexico, northern Africa and the Middle East, South and South-East Asia – to the circle of latitude known as the tropic of Capricorn, which runs through South America, the southern part of Africa and Australia.

One of the key characteristics of the region is the prevalence of rain – which is highly affected by climate change.

The Tropics have just over half of the world’s renewable water resources, roughly 54 per cent, the UN said, yet almost half their population is considered vulnerable to water stress.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57084

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Country-level action &#39new frontier&#39 for tackling soil pollution &#8211 UN agriculture agency

23 June 2017 – Nitrogen and metals, like lead and mercury, can strain farmable land by polluting soil, and damaging plants, and ultimately, posing risks to food security, according to the United Nations agriculture agency.

Soil pollution due to human activities that leave excess chemicals in soils took centre stage at the 5th Global Soil Partnership (GSP) Plenary Assembly held at the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) headquarters this week in Rome.

“Soil pollution is an emerging problem, but, because it comes in so many forms, the only way we can reduce knowledge gaps and promote sustainable soil management is to intensify global collaboration and build reliable scientific evidence,” said Ronald Vargas, FAO soils officer and Secretary of the GSP.

Excess nitrogen and trace metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury can impair plant metabolism and cut crop productivity, ultimately putting pressure on arable land. When they enter the food chain, such pollutants also pose risks to food security, water resources, rural livelihoods and human health, underscored FAO.

“The GSP Plenary Assembly is a unique, neutral and multi-stakeholder platform to discuss global soil issues, to learn from good practices, and to deliberate on actions to secure healthy soils for an effective provision of ecosystem services and food for all,” said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources. “Action at the country level is the new frontier.”

The Plenary Assembly endorsed three new initiatives aimed at facilitating information exchange: the Global Soil Information System; the Global Network of Soil Laboratories, set up to coordinate and standardize measurement across countries; and the International Network of Black Soils, launched to increase knowledge about the world’s most fertile agricultural soils, which are also known for their high carbon content.

Soil pollution under scrutiny

The term soil pollution refers to the presence in soils of chemicals that are either out of place or at higher-than-normal concentrations. It is an insidious risk because it is harder to observe than some other soil degradation processes, such as erosion.

Agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides – and antibiotics contained in animal manure – are major potential pollutants, posing special challenges due to the fast-changing chemical formulas employed.

The GSP endorsed a global symposium on soil contamination and pollution, for April 2018, and supported data networks to share information and harmonize standards to ease the burden.

Black soils

“Black soils” are far from uniform. The new International Network of Black Soils defines them as containing at least 25 centimetres of humus and with soil organic carbon content above two per cent; by this definition they cover about 916 million hectares, or seven per cent of the world’s ice-free land surface.

The Network will promote their conservation and long-term productivity by producing analytic reports and serving as a platform for knowledge sharing and technical cooperation.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57055

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Record high temperatures grip much of the globe, more hot weather to come &#8211 UN agency

20 June 2017 – Extremely high May and June temperatures have broken records in parts of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States, the United Nations weather agency reported today, warning of more heatwaves to come.

The heatwaves have arrived unusually early, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said, noting at the same time that average global surface temperatures over land and sea are the second highest on record for the first five months of 2017, according to analyses by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Raging wildfires in Portugal

In Portugal, extremely high temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius contributed to the severity of the devastating, fast-moving weekend wildfires that ripped through the country’s forested Pedrógão Grande region, some 150 kilometres (95 miles) north-east of Lisbon, leaving dozens dead and more injured.

WMO reported that Portugal is not the only European country experiencing the effects of the extreme weather, as neighbouring Spain – which had its warmest spring in over 50 years – and France, have seen record-breaking temperatures. France is expected to continue see afternoon temperatures more than 10 degrees above the average for this time of year.

VIDEO: UN World Meteorological Organization expresses concerns over climate change and long-term warming, noting high temperatures recorded across parts of Europe, the Middle East and the US in the past two months.

Plane traffic halted in southwestern US

On the other side of the Atlantic, the US is also experiencing record or near-record heat. In parts of the desert southwest and into California, temperatures have hovered near a blistering 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). Media reports suggested today that some plane traffic was halted in and out of Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport in Arizona because it was too hot to fly.

The flight cancellations came amidst of one of the hottest days in the past 30 years of record keeping in the US state.

Death Valley National Park in California issued warnings to visitors to expect high temperatures ranging from 100 to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to over 49 degrees Celsius), WMO added.

WMO will set up an international committee of experts to verify the temperature and assess whether it equals a reported 54 degrees Celsius recorded in Kuwait last July, what was then the highest temperature for Asia, as well as for the entire Eastern hemisphere.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57024

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UN urges &#39reboot&#39 of drought responses to focus more on preparedness

19 June 2017 – Investing in preparedness and building the resilience of farmers is fundamental to cope with extreme drought, because responding to such situations when they hit might be too late, the head of the United Nations agricultural agency said today.

“People die because they are not prepared to face the impacts of the drought – because their livelihoods are not resilient enough,” Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva told an international seminar in Rome, Italy, recalling that more than 250,000 people perished from hunger in the 2011 drought in Somalia.

“Saving livelihoods means saving lives – this is what building resilience is all about,” he added, noting that for years, the focus has been responding to droughts when they happen, rushing to provide emergency assistance and to keep people alive.

While these emergency responses are important, investing in preparedness and resilience puts countries on a footing to act quickly before it is too late, meaning that farmers and rural communities are better positioned to cope with extreme weather when it does hit.

The need for a global drought re-boot is pressing. The many impacts of drought drive not only hunger and instability but cause economic losses up to $8 billion each annually.

As the planet’s climate changes, severe dry-spells are becoming more and more frequent. Since the 1970s, the land area in the world affected by situations of drought has doubled.

People die because they are not prepared to face the impacts of the droughtFAO Director General

The burden is especially high in developing countries, where agriculture remains an economic mainstay. Over 80 percent of damage and losses caused by drought are born by agriculture in the developing world, FAO studies have shown.

And Africa in particular has borne the brunt. Between 2005 and 2016, 84 droughts affected 34 different African nations.

At today’s event, FAO and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen their cooperation. They will cooperate in improving agro-meteorological data, tools and methods as well as enhancing access by small farmers to products and services to help them anticipate and proactively prepare for droughts.

“WMO provides guidance and scientific information to strengthen national services responsible for addressing drought risks to agriculture,” said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas. “We encourage countries to take early action against drought and to move towards a more proactive approach.”

International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) President Gilbert F. Houngbo in his remarks emphasized the need break the cycle of crisis, disaster and relief, calling on the international community to be proactive and to think not just of today’s emergencies, but also of how to prevent tomorrow’s.

“This means investing in smallholder farmers to help them address productivity challenges, give them access to markets and finance and most importantly encourage climate-smart agriculture so that when the drought inevitably comes, they have the tools they need to survive and thrive,” said Mr. Houngbo.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57007

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Help preserve land &#8211 our &#39home and future&#39 &#8211 UN urges on World Day to Combat Desertification

17 June 2017 – With hundreds of millions of people around the globe directly affected by desertification – the degradation of land ecosystems due to unsustainable farming or mining practices, or climate change – United Nations agencies have called for better management of land so that it can provide a place where individuals and communities “can build a future.”

“Population growth means demand for food and water is set to double by 2050 but crop yields are projected to fall precipitously on drought affected, degraded land. More than 1.3 billion people, mostly in the rural areas of developing countries, are in this situation,” said Monique Barbut, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) secretariat, in her message on the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

“So this year, the Convention is calling for a focus on making the land and life in rural communities viable for young people […] let us give them better choices and options.”

According to estimates, nearly 500 million hectares of once fertile land – close to two million square miles – have now been abandoned.

The UNCCD believes that with access to new technologies and to the knowledge, these lands can build resilience to extreme weather-elements like drought and with the right, feed a hungry planet and develop new green sectors of the economy.

“Let us give young people the chance to bring that natural capital back to life and into production [which can then] develop markets for rural products and revitalize communities.” added Ms. Barbut, calling for increased and relevant investments in land, rural infrastructure and skills development so that “the future can be bright.”

The role of environment change is also increasingly clear in motivating or compelling people to migrate or become displaced.

Desertification is a global phenomenon that threatens everyoneUNESCO chief Irina Bokova

With more land getting lost to desertification, rural populations – relying on pastoral livelihoods, agriculture and natural resources – will face additional vulnerabilities, compounding poverty, poor levels of education, lack of investment and isolation, voiced Irina Bokova, the head of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

To address this growing threat, Ms. Bokova called for a two pronged approach: first, better land management to arrest desertification as well as for preserving its productivity; and second, strengthening resilience of vulnerable populations by supporting alternative livelihoods.

“We must recognise that desertification is a global phenomenon that threatens everyone and we must start to act globally to build a sustainable and stable future for all,” she underscored.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) also highlighted the challenges noted by Ms. Bokova.

Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UNEP, added: “[Desertification and land degradation] drives human displacement by threatening lives over the short term and making people’s livelihoods untenable over the long term, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.”

Given the significant challenges that loss in arable land and their impact in overall socio-economic conditions of affected populations, the subject also features prominently in the 2030 Agenda‘s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Goal 15, in particular, calls for combatting desertification, and undertaking efforts to halt and reverse land degradation.

In August this year, countries from the Latin American region will be meeting in Bolivia’s in Santa Cruz de la Sierra where they will discuss better drought management and preparedness.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – the UN agency that closely monitors global weather and climate patterns and provides member States with climate information to make effective decisions – is one of the organizers of the meeting along with UNCCD.

“Providing state of art climate information [is key] for climate change adaptation in vital sectors such as agriculture, food security and social well-being,” said WMO Secretary-General Peter Taalas in his message on the World Day, warning: “Increased frequency of droughts can lead to land degradation and eventually, if unchecked, to increased desertification.”

Commemorated annually on June 17, World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought seeks to promote public awareness of land degradation and to draw attention to the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification – the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.

This year’s commemoration focuses on the theme “Our Land. Our Home. Our Future.”

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57002

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At EXPO 2017, UN agencies highlight benefits of clean energy for all

13 June 2017 – Showcasing the centrality of the energy sector to address global sustainable development challenges, United Nations agencies in Kazakhstan at EXPO 2017 have urged the global community for new momentum to ongoing efforts towards transition to clean energy.

“I hope EXPO 2017 will advance dialogues between governments, climate scientists and engineers to find practical solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while generating energy,” said Cihan Sultanoðlu, the UN Commissioner-General for the Organization’s participation at the EXPO, currently underway in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

“We need to maintain, strengthen and support the transition in all possible ways,” she added.

At the EXPO, which kicked off on 10 June, UN entities have been highlighting the importance of ensuring universal access to energy, global best practices in reduction of carbon emissions, greening the economy, and adaptation of innovative technologies. They have also setup interactive models of energy and irrigation systems that are powered by hydro-, solar and the wind power for visitors to get a first-hand experience on how these work.

The energy sector, accounting for more than two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions is at the heart of efforts to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, as envisioned in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Furthermore, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by all UN Member States in September 2015 also calls including a specific goal (Goal 7) on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

These are the bases for a clear roadmap, drawn by the international community towards a clean and sustainable future, noted a news release issued by the UN team at EXPO 2017.

The release also highlighted the role that cities around the world are playing in shaping the evolution of energy markets.

“The influence of cities ranges from support for smart grid investments in urban infrastructure, to the setting of ambitious renewables targets in cities like San Diego and Copenhagen,” it added.

This is all the more important given that experts have forecasted that renewable energy could become cheaper than fossil fuels within a few years, freeing resources for use in other initiatives.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56963

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Catastrophe of Aral Sea shows &#39men can destroy the planet,&#39 warns UN chief Guterres

10 June 2017 – Continuing his visit to Central Asia, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today visited the Aral Sea – once the world’s fourth largest inland sea, that has now shrunk to about a quarter of its original size due to human mismanagement – where he urged the world to take lesson from the catastrophe and to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated.

“The Aral Sea’s progressive disappearance was not because of climate change, it was mismanagement by humankind of water resources,” said Secretary-General Guterres after visiting Muynak, the ‘cemetery of ships’ – once a port city but now devoid of all water.

“It also shows that if in relation to climate change, we are not able to act forcefully to tame this phenomenon, we might see this kind of tragedy multiply around the world,” he warned.

The environmental disaster was precipitated by diversion of tributary rivers which drained into the Aral Sea for irrigation projects nearly half a century ago. Lack of fresh water feeding the sea slowly dried it up, increasing the salinity of the area, with serious impact on human health and agriculture.

Terming the catastrophe “probably the biggest ecological catastrophe of our time,” one that demonstrated that “men can destroy the planet,” the Secretary-General called on everyone to make the Aral Sea a lesson and to mobilize the whole international community to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and to make sure that such tragedies will not be repeated.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Guterres held a meeting with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, where they discussed collaboration between the UN and the country in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and regional matters.

The UN chief also met with representatives of the civil society and visited Samarkand, one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia.

Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan

Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan

Source: Twitter

Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan

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Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56949

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Catastrophe of Aral Sea shows &#39men can destroy the planet&#39, warns UN chief Guterres

10 June 2017 – Continuing his visit to Central Asia, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today visited the Aral Sea – once the world’s fourth largest inland sea, that has now shrunk to about a quarter of its original size due to human mismanagement – where he urged the world to take lesson from the catastrophe and to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated.

“The Aral Sea’s progressive disappearance was not because of climate change, it was mismanagement by humankind of water resources,” said Secretary-General Guterres after visiting Muynak, the ‘cemetery of ships’ – once a port city but now devoid of all water.

“It also shows that if in relation to climate change, we are not able to act forcefully to tame this phenomenon, we might see this kind of tragedy multiply around the world,” he warned.

The environmental disaster was precipitated by diversion of tributary rivers which drained into the Aral Sea for irrigation projects nearly half a century ago. Lack of fresh water feeding the sea slowly dried it up, increasing the salinity of the area, with serious impact on human health and agriculture.

Terming the catastrophe “probably the biggest ecological catastrophe of our time,” one that demonstrated that “men can destroy the planet,” the Secretary-General called on everyone to make the Aral Sea a lesson and to mobilize the whole international community to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and to make sure that such tragedies will not be repeated.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Guterres held a meeting with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, where they discussed collaboration between the UN and the country in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and regional matters.

The UN chief also met with representatives of the civil society and visited Samarkand, one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia.

Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan

Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan

Source: Twitter

Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan

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Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56949

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UN chief Guterres highlights importance of sustainable energy in message to EXPO 2017

10 June 2017 – Underlining the importance of energy, in particular for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for urgent action to ensure that everyone has access to clean, affordable and efficient energy so that they can rise to their full potential.

“Energy is vital to our lives […] Access to energy helps children to study at night, farmers to grow more crops and hospitals to provide better care,” said the Secretary-General in his message to EXPO 2017, which opened today in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.

In his remarks, the UN chief also noted that the theme of this year’s Astana EXPO, ‘Future Energy’, is all the more important given that energy in today’s world comes from many sources that contribute to climate change.

“It reminds us that the world must take urgent action to ensure that everyone has access to clean, efficient and affordable sources of energy […] I hope this EXPO will help us resolve to contribute to more sustainable world,” added Mr. Guterres.

Being held from 10 June to 10 September, the World’s Fair EXPO 2017 explores the possibility of scaling up the world’s sustainable energy production, promoting energy security and efficiency, as well as encouraging the use of renewable energy around the globe.

VIDEO: UN Secretary-General’s message to EXPO 2017

The UN exhibit, a particular highlight at the EXPO, showcases technology and ideas that help the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through sustainable energy.

“Given the urgency of the situation, the focus is going to be squarely on practical solutions,” said Cihan Sultanoðlu, the UN Commissioner-General for the Organization’s participation in EXPO 2017, reminding participants of the simultaneous need to make sure every woman, every man, every girl, and every boy has access to affordable and clean energy by 2030, while keeping temperatures within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Several UN entities, including the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will host events, release findings and showcase their work on how to mobilize investments to achieve breakthroughs on universal access to energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56948

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UN Ocean Conference wraps up with actions to restore ocean health, protect marine life

9 June 2017 – The first-ever United Nations summit on oceans today wrapped up with a global agreement to reverse the decline of the ocean’s health, and more than 1,300 pledged actions for protecting the blue.

“The bar has been raised on global consciousness and awareness of the problem in the oceans,” the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, told journalists in New York.

Mr. Thomson, whose native Fiji co-sponsored the event along with Sweden, said the organizers got what they wanted from the conference: “I’m 100 per cent satisfied with the results of this conference. Our aim was high. Our aim was to start the reversal of the cycle.”

The Ocean Conference ends today with the adoption by consensus of a 14-point Call for Action where the participating Heads of State and Government and senior representatives “affirm our strong commitment to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources tor sustainable development.”

Speaking alongside Mr. Thomson, the Secretary-General of The Ocean Conference, Wu Hongbo, said the negotiated document lists specific measures “to galvanize global commitment and partnerships” for the oceans.

The main points from the political document and this week’s discussions will be part of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the UN’s central body for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in September 2015. The HLPF is scheduled to meet next month in New York.

In addition to the political Call for Action, participants – who also included thousands of civil society representatives, academics, artists, financial institutions and other practitioners and activists – pledged actions to conserve and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources. This is the goal of SDG14.

By Friday afternoon, more than 1,300 voluntary commitments had already been registered.

Calling the figure “truly impressive,” Mr. Wu, who is also UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, underscored that the commitments now comprise “an ocean solution registry.”

‘It’s all of us or nothing’

The week-long conference, where some 6,000 people participated, was the first time that the UN brought everyone together to discuss the challenges facing the world’s oceans.

“When it comes to the ocean, it’s the common heritage of humankind. There’s no North-South, East-West when it comes to the ocean,” Mr. Thomson said. “If the ocean is dying, it’s dying on all of us.”

The senior official underscored that by “getting the wheels turning” on SDG 14, the conference helped push forward action on all 17 SDGs. finance ocean science, but much more is required to fill the capacity gaps,” he explained.

Topics that were discussed ranged from plastic pollution in the oceans and seas to ocean acidification and illegal fishing – which tie in with topics of alleviating poverty, ending hunger, promoting health, ensuring access to water and sanitation, and so on.

Mr. Thomson attributed the success of the conference to the “wonderful way” in which all the different participants came together to discuss and work together.

He lauded the “openness to civil society, to the science sector, to private society” in breaking down the typical divisions between governments and other sectors. “There’s no them and us. It’s all of us or nothing.”

In addition to eight plenary meetings and seven partnership dialogues, The Ocean Conference included 150 side events, 41 exhibitions and interviews at the SDG Media Zone.

These included events with New Oceans Advocate and globally-acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter Cody Simpson, as well as Marine biologist Douglas McCauley, Aboriginal artist Sid Bruce Short Joe and Spanish philanthropist Álvaro de Marichalar, for example.

The mix of personalities and strong support for action brought “creativity and a sense of unity” to the action for oceans, said conference co-chairwoman, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden Isabelle Lovin.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56947

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Working together, ‘we can ensure that our oceans remain healthy as our blue home’ – UN chief

8 June 2017 – The future of the planet’s oceans is burdened by threats such as climate change, pollution and destructive fishing practices – and the lack of capacities to address these threats – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has said, calling for joint global action to ensure “that our oceans are peaceful, safe and bountiful, and remain healthy as our blue home.”

On this World Oceans Day, we look to the future. Caring for, and using, our oceans in sustainable ways is critical to achieve ecological and economic goals for communities everywhere,” said Mr. Guterres in a message on the Day.

This year, World Oceans Day is being celebrated alongside the first-ever The Ocean Conference, which has been under way in New York since Monday and wraps up tomorrow, aiming to strengthen commitments to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 14 – to conserve and viably use the ocean.

Mr. Guterres said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious framework which, together, the international community will use to address these threats and improve people’s lives. “World Oceans Day provides an important opportunity to advocate for a sustainable future,” he said, adding that governments, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society in New York are ready to launch a call for action to support implementation of SDG 14.

“Looking forward, the conservation and sustainable use of oceans can be achieved only if we manage to address effectively the threats that oceans face,” the Secretary-General said, stressing that “our future will thus be determined by our collective resolve to share information and find solutions to common problems.”

‘Unite for the ocean we need, for the future we want’ – UNECSO chief

A healthy ocean requires robust global knowledge of ocean science, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has said, marking the Day with a strong call to mobilize and harness the best scientific knowledge to protect our planet’s vital oceans.

“We cannot manage what we cannot measure, and no single country is able to measure the myriad changes taking place in the ocean. From Fiji to Sweden, from Namibia to the Arctic, all Governments and partners must share knowledge to craft common science-based policies,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in her message commemorating the Day.

According to UNESCO, oceans give humankind the keys to its survival, from oxygen to a well-functioning climate, to key elements of our natural and human heritage. “For this, we must nurture, mobilize and harness the best scientific knowledge,” she stressed.

Pointing to the Global Ocean Science Report, which UNESCO launched at The Ocean Conference, she said “[It] records for the first time where and how existing ocean science capacities are empowering society, sustaining the environment and generating knowledge to conserve ocean resources for all. Our message is clear – much has been done to promote and finance ocean science, but much more is required to fill the capacity gaps,” she explained.

With this in mid, she said that UNESCO and partners are calling for 2021-2030 to become the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development “to provide Governments, the scientific community, civil society and all other actors with a framework for coordinating and consolidating the observations and research needed to achieve SDG14.”

‘We can ride the waves of change to a more positive outcome for the oceans’

Cristiana Pasca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) said: “The future of the world’s oceans is our future. Yet the present state of the oceans is troubling.” Indeed, people she has met this week at The Ocean Conference, from places as far flung as Sweden, Fiji, and Costa Rica, told stories of how the ocean they see today is a shadow of its former self.

“Populations of fish, corals and other living creatures have suffered, and there is a great deal more plastic in our oceans. Ocean acidification, marine pollution, and damaging fisheries practices – they are all the result of human activities,” she said, but added: “Humans can also make a difference. And they are.”

Noting that earlier this week, she had reported that as far as marine protected areas coverage is concerned, the world is on track to achieve the global Aichi Biodiversity Target of 10 per cent conservation of coastal and marine areas by 2020. The world can now take the steps to ensure that these areas are effectively managed, representative, and support equitable and inclusive sustainable development.

Ms. Pasca Palmer said that here in New York, she sensed the same enthusiasm, energy and political will that was seen during the negotiations for the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“We are at a point where we can change the tide on the oceans. The discussions this week are about working rowing together, connecting our actions, and learning from each other. We can ride the waves of change to a more positive outcome for the oceans, and the future we want,” she stated.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56930

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Corporate Office: 364 Summit Avenue, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
Phone: 201-489-0419 | Fax: 201-488-2025

For Product & Project Inquiries: Guy Condorelli, VP Business Development
Phone: 201-489-0419 Ext. 2