100 days until the Ocean Conference kicks-off in Lisbon

Winner of the Ocean, life and livelihoods category of the 2021 World Ocean´s Day Photo Competition: Renee Capozzola/USA.

In 100-days the United Nations Ocean Conference starts in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. 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.

 The UN Ocean Conference, which will take place from June 27 to July 1, provides an opportunity to mobilize partnerships and increase investment in science-driven approaches.

“Solutions exist that can help us restore the health of the ocean. But it will require action from all parts of society, from world leaders to the person in the street,” says Ambassador Peter Thomson, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean.

Home to 80% of all life

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 nurtures unimaginable biodiversity and produces food, jobs, mineral and energy resources needed for life on the planet to survive and thrive.

Underwater photo illustrating fish
From the 2021 World Ocean´s Day Photo Competition: Hannes Kolstermann/Germany.

Rising carbon emissions are making the ocean more acidic, weakening its ability to sustain life underwater and on land. In addition, plastic waste is choking the ocean. More than half of the world’s marine species may stand on the brink of extinction by 2100 if we continue on the current track.

The aim of the Ocean conference is to scale up Ocean Action Based on Science and Innovation for the Implementation of Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).

The Ocean stabilizes climate

Illustration of an Island
From the 2021 World Ocean´s Day Photo Competition: Pawel Zygmunt/Poland.

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.

With every breath we take, we are connected to the ocean. The ocean gives us oxygen, provides us with food and livelihoods. It stabilizes our climate, absorbing most of the heat trapped in the Earth’s system. Billions of humans, animals and plants rely on a healthy ocean.

Group photo with the Special envoy Peter Thomson
Special envoy Peter Thomson

“When we protect the ocean, the ocean protects us back,” says Special Envoy Thomson. “But the ocean is in trouble. I urge governments, industries and civil society to join forces and take action to reverse the decline in the ocean’s health.”