The rising stakes for ocean governance

The Daily Star published an article online titled, “The rising stakes for ocean governance.” The article reads in part as follows;

“World oceans play the crucial role of a life support in poverty alleviation, food security, human health, and curbing climate change. But our oceans are increasingly being threatened and degraded by human-induced climate change, natural disasters, depletion of fisheries, loss of biodiversity, etc.

Ocean governance in recent years has become an important area of global diplomacy. The process began with the UNEP-initiated Regional Seas Program (RSP) back in 1974. Today, more than 140 countries participate in 13 RSPs including the South Asia RSP. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 emphasised the “need for a new approach to development and regulation of marine environment and coastal zones.” Then came the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea III (UNCLOS) in 1982, after two unsuccessful attempts before.

The latest high-level UN Ocean Conference held early last month was a move along the envisaged new approach. The event at the UN headquarters attended by 4,000 delegates, which included a number of heads of state and government, was meant for supporting the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” This conference was the first in a series planned to address all the SDGs. SDG 14 consists of 10 targets, related to pollution management, ocean acidification, control of plastic waste and overfishing.

The meeting produced three outcomes: an agreed Call for Action, a registry of voluntary commitments, and key messages from the partnership dialogues. The Call for Action reconfirms the commitment of UN member states to the implementation of SDG 14, and to mobilise adequate resources. The registration of 1,328 voluntary commitments by governments and other stakeholders was celebrated as a major achievement. Finally, the partnership dialogues were instrumental in facilitating knowledge and experience-sharing among conference participants, and clarifying inter-linkages between SDG 14 and other goals.”

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