Ocean Conference Side Events Highlight Cooperation on SDG 14, Blue Economy, Waste Management
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
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On the second day of the UN Ocean Conference, side events focused on regional governance for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 (life below water) implementation; the ocean economy; Swedish Initiatives for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; global cooperation on ocean science; and environmentally sound waste management, among others.

Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogues also convened.

6 June 2017: On the second day of the UN Ocean Conference, side events focused on, inter alia: regional governance for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 (life below water) implementation; the ocean economy; Swedish Initiatives for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; global cooperation on ocean science; and environmentally sound waste management. Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogues also convened.

On regional governance for SDG 14 implementation, participants stressed the need for increased focus on international ocean governance to ensure effective implementation of SDG 14 and shared examples of cooperation between regional seas. Participants highlighted regionalized approaches to management, urged avoidance of segmentation of policies and underscored the importance of integrated approaches for climate and ocean issues.

On the ocean economy, participants highlighted innovative sustainable technologies and sustainable business and platform models for an ocean-based economy. Sweden’s Minister for Rural Affairs, Sven-Erik Bucht, called for finding the necessary balance between economic growth and environmental protection in a sustainable ocean-based economy. Representing the shipping industry, Carl Carlsson, described the Zero Vision Tool (ZVT) Platform, an industry-driven public-private partnership (PPP) collaboration method and project platform for safer, more environmentally and energy-efficient maritime transport. He underscored the creation of financial mechanisms to ensure profitability as a necessary condition for a transition to greener transport.

On Swedish Initiatives for the 2030 Agenda, panelists showcased projects related to four initiatives: the ZVT Platform; a partnership for a carbon-free steel industry; a partnership for resource-efficient water purification using mineral-based by-products from steel and metal industries; and an innovative technology to achieve clean drinking water. Participants underscored their projects’ support to multiple SDGs, such as by cutting carbon dioxide emissions, reducing ocean acidification and promoting resource efficiency and circular economy.

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, supported by Prince of Monaco, Albert II, called for 2021-2030 to become the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

On global cooperation on ocean science, a presentation ceremony announced the laureates of Ocean’s 8 for Ocean Science: The Seychelles, for innovative financing; Norway, for promoting professional involvement in ocean science; UN Environment, on behalf of 13 countries, for developing science-based solutions to reduce plastic in the ocean; Argentina, for sustained national investment in ocean science; the US for promoting ocean science for the benefit of the global community; Morocco, for promoting gender equality; Portugal, for international cooperation; and the Nippon Foundation (Japan) for education and outreach. The event then discussed whether the ocean needs more science and more action, with participants stressing the importance of science in achieving SDG 14 while also recognizing that policymakers may need to make decisions without all required knowledge available. UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General, Irina Bokova, supported by Prince of Monaco, Albert II, called for 2021-2030 to become the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

On environmentally sound waste management, participants called for action against both land-based and sea-based marine litter and discussed opportunities to address synergies among SDG 14, SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production). Highlighting that 80% of marine litter comes from land-based sources, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Isabella Lövin, said Sweden will commit to targeting marine litter through, inter alia, contributions to the UN Environment’s (UNEP) Global Programme of Action for the Protection of Marine Environment from Land-based Activites (GPA) and the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. She said the government will, for the first time, highlight sustainable oceans in its next global strategy for development, and will scale up capacity building efforts for sound waste management domestically and internationally. Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Maritime Sovereignty in the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Arif Havas Oegroseno, said Indonesia is setting a tax on plastic bags; building 55,000 km of road from recycled plastic; and working with Nordic countries on developing waste energy projects. Participants further supported: a circular economy; plastic deposit schemes; and public awareness campaigns.

During a special high-level reception as part of the SOI Global Dialogue, high-level policy makers and representatives of UN entities and international organizations shared insights on how marine and coastal biodiversity can provide solutions for addressing critical challenges in achieving sustainable oceans. A second SOI Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations (RSOs) and Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) focused on facilitating cross-sectoral regional collaboration to support SDG 14 implementation. The SOI, launched in the margins of the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), aims to provide a holistic approach to marine biodiversity. The Global Dialogue with RSOs and RFBs began in September 2016 to accelerate progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs by identifying opportunities to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration and support achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs.

The UN Ocean Conference is convening at UN Headquarters in New York, US, from 5-9 June 2017. [ENB on the Side (ENBOTS) Coverage of UN Ocean Conference] [ENBOTS coverage of CBD Special Events at the Ocean Conference] [SOI Website]


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