Friday, August 12 2022

The world must do more to stop the dramatic decline in the health of the oceans, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Sunday, urging young people gathered in Carcavelos, Portugal, toUnited Nations Forum on Youth and Innovation to step up because the leaders of his generation had moved far too slowly.

The two-day event brought together hundreds of young people from some 165 countries around a common goal: to protect the ocean.

I am inspired by the energy and commitment of the young climate activists I met today at @UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon.Youth of the world:We need your passion, your ideas & your action.You are the generation that will help us #SaveOurOcean & our future.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) June 26, 2022

Speaking to 100 young advocates who have come together to inspire, amplify and accelerate youth action for our ocean, Mr. Guterres reaffirmed the need at save the planet.

On the beach of Carcavelos, on the edge of the ocean near the center of his hometown, Lisbon, the Secretary-General apologized on behalf of his generation for the state of the oceans, for the state of biodiversity and for the state of climate change.

Generational responsibility

“My generation, and those who were politically responsible – which is my case – we were slow or sometimes unwilling to recognize that things were getting worse and worse in these three dimensions: oceans, climate and biodiversity” , Mr. Guterres told the lively crowd.

Adding this together, the world is still moving too slowly and must act nowto start rehabilitating the oceans, saving biodiversity and halting climate change, the UN chief stressed that “it is a generational responsibility that goes far beyond political leaders”.

“Do everything” to stop pollution

To tell young audiences that there is a patch of plastics in the Pacific Ocean – a huge floating “dumpster” of plastic containers, bottles and other litter widely referred to as “the Great Pacific Trash Patch” – which is larger than France, Mr Guterres said: “We still throw 8 million tonnes of plastics into the ocean, every year”.

Because of this and more, the young people will inherit a struggling planetthe head of the UN, warned and told the young people gathered that they would need “do everything to reverse everything” – reverse political decisions, reverse economic decisions and reverse individual behavior.

“Let’s be honest, when I look at myself and my own behavior, my footprint on the planet is too big,” admitted the Secretary-General.

time for change

Wishing the participants success in their endeavours, the UN chief called on the younger generation to take action.

“Your generation will be essential now to lead tomorrow to be able to manage and reverse this trend and save the planet,” he concluded.

“Nature’s Staff”

Just before the Secretary-General’s speech, global movie star and ocean activist Jason Momoa made a special appearance alongside UN Special Envoy for the Ocean Peter Thomson.

Under the blazing sun of Carcavelos beach, surrounded on the wide sandy beach by young people, including his own children, Mr Momoa said the work he was doing was “for them and for generations to come”.

Receiving the ‘staff of nature’ from special envoy Peter Thomson, Momoa said the staff, which symbolizes that the global existential challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss are inextricably linked to the state health of the ocean, had been around the world. and he would continue to do so as an enduring symbol for rulers.

“The time to act is now. Our ocean is in trouble, if we combine ambition, dedication and hope, we can change these results,” he said.

“The ocean, where water begins and ends its journey, allows systems to function for the well-being of humans and non-humans. Without a healthy ocean, life as we know it would not exist” , added the actor.

With feet submerged in the waves of the beach, Mr Momoa thanked Mother Nature for her “ocean kisses” and called for a “powerful wave of change to ensure that today’s generations and those to come may receive his gift”.

Respect nature

Surrounded by young people, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean Peter Thomson warned that young people will face a situation of global warming of two to three degrees in their lifetime. “It’s playing with fire,” he said.

Describing ‘Nature’s Baton’ as a symbol of connectedness, he spoke about the importance of respecting nature and finding a balanced relationship with it.

“We have to learn to live with respect for the ocean: not throwing garbage into it and not overheating it,” Thomson added.

The United Nations Ocean Forum and Conference

The Forum was a unique opportunity for young people to contribute to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14), just before the start of the United Nations Ocean Conferencewhich will take place from June 27 to July 1, to seek scientific and innovative solutions to improve the health of our oceans.

Young entrepreneurs, innovators and problem solvers have scaled up their initiatives, projects and ideas through professional training and connection with mentors, investors, private sector and government officials to maximize their impact.

One of the Forum participants – Gabriela Fernandes, 29, from Portugal, has developed a project that aims to study and photograph dolphins and whales.

“Studying them will allow us to understand the interaction between the animals at the top of the food chain and the rest of the marine animals, which will help to discover [the state of] local biodiversity.

The governments of Portugal and Kenya co-hosted the event, organized by the UN Global Compact Ocean Stewardship Coalition in cooperation with CEiiA, the Municipality of Cascais, Nova School of Business and Economics (NOVA SBE) and Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA ) supported by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

During the week, UN News will bring you daily coverage of the Conference as well as interviews, podcasts and reports for you to access. here.


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