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Ocean Conf. kicks off activities, calls for accelerated action

NEW YORK, June 5 (KUNA) -- World's top body opened on Monday a five-day Ocean Conference calling for accelerated action to revise the deterioration of the ocean.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was joined by world leaders, representatives from civil society, business, academia and science at the Ocean Conference at UN Headquarters.
Guterres delivered a speech warning that the special relationship between people and the ocean that brings untold benefits for life is under threat as never before.
Durning the opening ceremony, the UN cheif told the attendees that the problems of the ocean-all created by human activity, can all be reversed and prevented with decisive, coordinated action.
"Oceans are a testing ground for the principle of multilateralism," he said. "The health of our oceans and seas requires us to put aside short-term national gain, to avoid long-term global catastrophe." He said conserving the oceans and using them sustainably is preserving life itself.
The opening of the Conference has been marked by a surge in the number of voluntary commitments to take action to improve the health of the ocean-more than 700 commitments have been received.
UN General Assembly 71st session President Peter Thomson, stressed that in most probability this conference represents the best opportunity will ever have to reverse the cycle of decline that human activity has brought upon the Ocean.
He added that the central conclusion for humankind at this time is clear: "if we want a secure future for our species on this planet, we have to act now on the health of the ocean and on climate change." The Conference, co- hosted by Fiji and Sweden, began with a solemn Fiji ceremony that is accorded to high dignitaries to formally welcome and receive them into a community. The heart of a Fijian traditional welcome ceremony symbolizing the deep regard for communal ties and respect for the value of working together to achieve common goals or mutual benefit.
The Conference will result in a Call for Action that has just been agreed to by countries and will be formally adopted at the conclusion of the Conference on Friday. Additional outcomes include the results of seven partnership dialogues that will focus on solutions, and the voluntary commitments to action.
The Call for Action stresses the need to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14 and also addresses the interlinkages between this Goal and all other SDGs. In the Call for Action, countries agree to implement long-term and robust strategies to reduce the use of plastics and microplastics, such as plastic bags and single use plastics. (end) mao.bs