16 July 2018
Peace Boat Highlights Opportunities for a Better World
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Peace Boat hosted a Partnership Expo on its ship in concert with the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

During the event, speakers articulated the linkages between peace and sustainable development, and highlighted Peace Boat’s efforts to raise awareness on the SDGs.

12 July 2018: Peace Boat’s inaugural Partnership Expo highlighted the importance of partnerships for peace and sustainable development. Three panels consisting of speakers from civil society, the private sector and the UN system described the context for the evening’s event, articulated the links between sustainability, oceans and climate, and offered examples of public-private partnerships to help deliver the SDGs.

Organized in Partnership with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the UN Global Compact, the event provided new perspectives, including from youth, on how to make the world more peaceful and inclusive. Genevieve Jiva, Fiji, one of the Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors, described the process of a Talanoa dialogue, noting that it seeks to answer three questions: Where are we? Where do we need to go? How do we get there? These are the questions, she described, that the Youth Ambassadors address as they travel with Peace Boat to raise awareness and inspire action on the Goals.

Challenges and Opportunities

Speakers discussed current challenges, raising issues of ocean plastic, elevated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, poverty, food insecurity and food waste, but also identified areas of hope. Cora Weiss, Hague Appeal for Peace, noted that peace makes it possible for sustainable development to happen, highlighting the recent peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea as setting the stage for progress. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, in remarks delivered by video, flagged that more people need to know why the ocean and environment matter.

Echoing Earle, Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, noted that humanity has not been sufficiently taught about the need for action. Thomson cautioned that the world is still on a path to three degrees warming, a “dangerous uncertainty.” He emphasized the need for multilateralism, “now more than ever,” to teach humanity how to implement the SDGs and countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

We are one people on one planet traveling towards one shared future.

Former Astronaut Col. Ron J. Garan described an example of a man on a horse, who, when asked where he was going, responded, “I don’t know, ask the horse!” Drawing comparisons to Thomson’s remarks, he noted that “we are one people on one planet traveling towards one shared future.” He underscored the need for a new perspective, articulating how his experience in space shifted his worldview. We as a global society, he noted, need to move from a model of fragmented nation-states that consume as if there are unlimited natural resources, to one where we are common occupants of a single planet, recognizing our finite supplies.

Going Forward

Andrew Friedman, AJF Financial Services, Inc., expressed his desire to one day live in a world where we don’t have to use the word sustainable, because sustainability is already ingrained into everyday life. To get there, he offered perspective on action being taken outside of the UN system. Friedman emphasized the role of organizations like US SIF (the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) as key to making progress in the private sector, and highlighted the need for shareholder activism.

Robert Skinner, UNOP, highlighted how the Office acts as a gateway and platform to connect and convene actors, including those from the private sector, noting similarities to Peace Boat as a means of sharing information to create a better world. Dan Thomas, delivering remarks on behalf of Lise Kingo, UN Global Compact, also recognized that Peace Boat provides a means for decision-makers and civil society alike to connect informally, outside a more formal UN setting.

Yoshioka Tatsuya, Peace Boat Founder and Marie Chatardová, President of ECOSOC, each highlighted that without peace, we cannot achieve the SDGs. International frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement on climate change, they noted, are both a vision and a means of achieving a sustainable, peaceful world.

Peace Boat is docked in the Hudson River, across town from UN Headquarters where the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is currently underway. Event participants pointed out that it offers an opportunity for networking and idea exchange outside of UN Headquarters. Peace Boat has featured the circular SDGs logo on its hull since 2016, and visits more than 100 countries per year to raise awareness on the 2030 Agenda. [Peace Boat Homepage] [Peace Boat Partnership Expo Agenda] [Partnership Expo Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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