UN Ocean Conference opens with call to save planet


Legendary reggae band, Third World is now in New York City, as the group is slated to perform later today at the first ever United Nations Oceans Conference.

By the end of the conference, the 193 countries taking part will announce a "call for action" which will tackle issues facing the oceans and other water sources.

"It symbolizes the deep regard for communal ties and respect for the value of working together to achieve common goals or mutual benefit".

The overarching theme of this UN Conference is "Our oceans, our future: partnering for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14".

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that by 2050 global demand for fresh water is projected to grow by more than 40 per cent and at least a quarter of the world's population will live in countries with a "chronic or recurrent" lack of clean water.

We created these problems. Overall warming trends, acidification, coral bleaching, and sea leve rise, she continued "are affecting ecosystems in all regions, threatening fisheries, food chains and the oceans' ability to act as efficient carbon sinks".

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"We must put aside short-term national gain, to prevent long-term global catastrophe", Guterres told the gathering at the UN General Assembly.

"Human activities are having major impacts on the ocean, affecting everything from the viability of marine habitats to the quality and temperature of the water, the health of marine life, and the continued availability of seafood", the United Nations organizers said about the event being held 5 to 9 June.

Pollution, overfishing and climate change are causing severe damage, he said.

"Here we are in 2017, and it is impossible to talk of anywhere in the world's oceans as being pristine", he said. Those factors, he emphasized, had made the USA the "main threat to Mother Earth and to life itself". The plight of SIDS was well sketched by Micronesia's President Peter Christian who expressed the fears of the Pacific islanders that the ocean was left to deal the insurmountable task of healing itself after being used as "a dumping ground for industrial waste" and for absorbing other forms of pollution.

The Conference will result in a Call for Action that will be formally adopted at its conclusion on Friday. "We will make this great conference the time to which those good stewards of the future will look back on as the turning point, the moment when we began the reversal of that cycle of decline of the Ocean".

On Friday, the almost 200 countries will issue a Call for Action to address marine issues, which urges nations to implement voluntary long-term measures to reduce the use of plastics and counteract sea-level rise that threatens the economies of many island nations, rising ocean temperatures and increasing ocean acidity under U.N.