Report by Humayun Kabir from Lisbon, Portugal, Sustainable Blue Economy Investment Forum (SBEIF) organized a special event for the 2nd United Nations Ocean Conference Hosted by the Governments of Portugal and Kenya that has taken place at the Estoril Congress Centre in Cascais, Lisbon on June 28, 2022,
UN USG, UN DESA -Liu Zhenmin, President of the Portuguese Parliament- Augusto Santos Silva, President of the Republic of Kenya -Uhuru Kenyatta, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, USA -John Kerry, Director General, WTO – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President of the Libyan Presidential Council – Dr. Mohamed Younis Menfi, President of the Republic of Colombia – Iván Duque Marquez, and UN Special Envoy for the Ocean- Peter Thomson were present among others at the special conference.
While addressing at the conference as Keynote speaker Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, USA -John Kerry said, The science is clear the ocean is facing unprecedented threats as a result of human activities. Its health and ability to sustain life will only get worse as the world population grows and human activities increase. If we want to address some of the most defining issues of our time such as climate change, food insecurity, diseases and pandemics, diminishing biodiversity, economic inequality, and even conflicts and strife, we must act now to protect the state of our once, that’s what. Privat sectors have to come forward to invest in the sustainable blue economy sectors with their business activities.
He added that The ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, is the planet’s largest biosphere, and is home to up to 80 percent of all life in the world. It generates 50 percent of the oxygen we need, absorbs 25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, and captures 90 percent of the additional heat generated from those emissions. It is not just ‘ the lungs of the planet ‘ but also its largest carbon sink – a vital buffer against the impacts of climate change. actually, only 20 rich countries across the world are responsible for all carbon dioxide emissions.
While addressing the conference other speakers said, Ensuring ocean ecosystem health, supporting livelihoods, and driving economic growth requires targeted support for key sectors, including fisheries and aquaculture, tourism, energy, shipping and port activities, and seabed mining, as well as innovative areas such as renewable energy and marine biotechnology.
A blue economy prioritizes all three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social. When talking about sustainable development, it is important to understand the difference between a blue economy and an ocean economy. The term implies that the initiative is environmentally sustainable, inclusive, and climate-resilient. The sustainable blue economy must therefore shift from the model of simple resource extraction and depletion that has defined the last century and transition to a circular and inclusive economic model.
With millions employed worldwide in fishing and fish farming, most in developing countries, healthy and resilient marine, and coastal ecosystems are fundamental to sustainable development. Other sectors that are critical to the resilience of developing countries include the coastal tourism sector, which contributes up to 40 percent or more of the global gross domestic product (GDP) in some SIDS, and the marine fisheries sector, which provides nearly 20 percent of the average intake of animal protein consumed by 3.2 billion people, and more than 50 percent of the average intake in some least developed countries.
Solutions for a sustainably managed ocean involve green technology and innovative uses of marine resources. They also include addressing the threats to health, ecology, economy, and governance of the ocean – acidification, marine litter and pollution, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and the loss of habitats and biodiversity.
It nurtures unimaginable biodiversity and produces food, jobs, and mineral and energy resources needed for life on the planet to survive and thrive. There is a great deal we still do not know about the ocean but there are many reasons why we need to manage it sustainably – as set out in the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water.
The Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal comes at a critical time as the world is seeking to address the many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID – 19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the SDGs. To mobilize action, the Conference will seek to propel much-needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.
Photography by: Md.Aslam Sarker