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BIODIVERSITY: THE OCEAN’S ROLE - A High-level side event on the margins of the UN Biodiversity Summit 2020

On 30 September, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson, in coordination with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), organized a High-Level Side-Event “Biodiversity: The Ocean’s Role” on the margins of the 2020 United Nations Summit on Biodiversity.


Serving as a stepping stone to the forthcoming United Nations Ocean Conference to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, the event highlighted the Ocean’s integral role as the largest planetary reservoir of biodiversity and life and the fact that the decline of biodiversity, the degrading health of the Ocean, and the ongoing climate crisis demand special attention and an Ocean-Climate nexus approach.

The opening segment featured pre-recorded video messages from high-level personalities such as H.R.H The Prince of Wales, H.E. Danny Faure, President of Seychelles and Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

An ensuing panel discussion included addresses by Elizabeth Mrema, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biodiversity, Dona Bertarelli, UNCTAD’s Special Adviser for the Blue Economy, Atsushi Sunami, President of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and Enric Sala, National Geographic’s Explorer-in Residence.  

H.E. Isabella Lövin, Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, closed the event with a powerful video message saying that “make sure that the Ocean is never forgotten or ignored, remember that leaders have proven capable of dealing with global crisis before – expect nothing less. Let us join forces and make sure that we can celebrate some progress when we meet again in Lisbon”.