United Nations Ocean Protection

The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean.

The marine realm is the largest component of the Earth’s system that stabilises climate and support life on Earth and human well-being. However, the First World Ocean Assessment released in 2016 found that much of the ocean is now seriously degraded, with changes and losses in the structure, function and benefits from marine systems.

In addition, the impact of multiple stressors on the ocean is projected to increase as the human population grows towards the expected 9 billion by 2050.

Next week Thailand will be hosting representatives from 24 countries at the inaugral regional conference as countries come together, hopefully, to save our oceans.

“Hosting the conference will help strengthen Thailand’s role as a regional leader in ocean conservation and in realising the UN’s decade actions.

I have told the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to coordinate with United Nations’ Decade Coordination Office, which is responsible for organising the virtual conference.”

Warawut Silpa-archa, Minister of the Thailand Natural Resources and Environment Ministry via The Nation Thailand

Outcomes

The project highlights the “7 Ocean Decade Outcomes Describe the Ocean We Want”:

  • A clean ocean where sources of pollution are identified and reduced or removed.
  • A healthy and resilient ocean where marine ecosystems are understood, protected, restored and managed.
  • A productive ocean supporting sustainable food supply and a sustainable ocean economy.
  • A predicted ocean where society understands and can respond to changing ocean conditions.
  • A safe ocean where life and livelihoods are protected from ocean-related hazards.
  • An accessible ocean with open and equitable access to data, information and technology and innovation.
  • An inspiring and engaging ocean where society understands and values the ocean in relation to human wellbeing and sustainable development.

Challenges

The project also recognises the challenges faced in meeting its aims.

Challenge 1 – Understand and beat marine pollution

Understand and map land and sea-based sources of pollutants and contaminants and their potential impacts on human health and ocean ecosystems and develop solutions to remove or mitigate them.

Challenge 2 – Protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity

Understand the effects of multiple stressors on ocean ecosystems, and develop solutions to monitor, protect, manage and restore ecosystems and their biodiversity under changing environmental, social and climate conditions.

Challenge 3 – Sustainably feed the global population

Generate knowledge, support innovation, and develop solutions to optimise the role of the ocean in sustainably feeding the world’s population under changing environmental, social and climate conditions.

Challenge 4 – Develop a sustainable and equitable ocean economy

Generate knowledge, support innovation, and develop solutions for equitable and sustainable development of the ocean economy under changing environmental, social and climate conditions.

Challenge 5 – Unlock ocean-based solutions to climate change

Enhance understanding of the ocean-climate nexus and generate knowledge and solutions to mitigate, adapt and build resilience to the effects of climate change across all geographies and at all scales, and to improve services including predictions for the ocean, climate and weather.

Challenge 6 – Increase community resilience to ocean hazards

Enhance multi-hazard early warning services for all geophysical, ecological, biological, weather, climate and anthropogenic related ocean and coastal hazards, and mainstream community preparedness and resilience.

Challenge 7 – Expand the Global Ocean Observing System

Ensure a sustainable ocean observing system across all ocean basins that delivers accessible, timely, and actionable data and information to all users.

Challenge 8 – Create a digital representation of the Ocean

Through multi-stakeholder collaboration, develop a comprehensive digital representation of the ocean, including a dynamic ocean map, which provides free and open access for exploring, discovering, and visualizing past, current, and future ocean conditions in a manner relevant to diverse stakeholders.

Challenge 9 – Skills, knowledge and technology for all

Ensure comprehensive capacity development and equitable access to data, information, knowledge and technology across all aspects of ocean science and for all stakeholders.

Challenge 10 – Change humanity’s relationship with the ocean

Ensure that the multiple values and services of the ocean for human wellbeing, culture, and sustainable development are widely understood, and identify and overcome barriers to behaviour change required for a step change in humanity’s relationship with the ocean.

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