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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Implementing SDG 14 with the Communities of Ocean Action

Tuesday, 30 March 2021, NEW YORK – UN DESA brings together key stakeholders to drive Ocean Action on the road to the 2022 UN Ocean Conference.

On 30 March 2021, UN DESA organized an online webinar to follow up on the over 1,600 voluntary commitments forged since 2017 in support of Ocean Action by governments and diverse stakeholders, and to understand the impact that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had on their implementation. 

The event featured an opening session with remarks from H.E. Ambassador Martin Kimani, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations and H.E. Ambassador H.E. Ambassador Duarte Lopes, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the United Nations representing the co-hosts of the upcoming United Nations Ocean Conference, Kenya and Portugal.  Remarks were also delivered by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, H.E. Ambassador Peter Thomson, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Liu Zhenmin, and Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares.

The event presented an in-depth impact assessment of the SDG 14-related voluntary commitments and an update on the work of nine Communities of Ocean Action, with a Keynote Address delivered by Dr. Marjo Vierros, Director, Coastal Policy and Humanities Research and a Senior Associate at the Global Ocean Forum.  

In his opening remarks, the Special Envoy for the Ocean, H.E. Ambassador Peter Thomson, stressed that climate negotiations and ocean action must go hand in hand and urged all actors together involved in this momentous collaboration. The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Mr. Liu Zhenmin highlighted the need for a renewed, strengthened and inclusive multilateralism to ensure a sustainable recovery from the ongoing global pandemic, accentuating that the ocean holds the key to success in tackling climate change, as a sink to carbon dioxide and a home to many species. 

An ensuing panel discussion included presentations by the co-focal points of the nine Communities of Ocean Actions that were created after the 2017 UN Ocean Conference, Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and Assistant Director-General of UNESCO; Ms. Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on the Wetlands, Ms. Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy Dr. David Cooper, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity; Dr. Manuel Barange, Director of the Fisheries Division of FAO; and Dr. Peter Swarzenski, Section Head of the Radioecology Laboratory (REL) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Dr. Takehiro Nakamura, Coordinator, Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Unit, UNEP

H.E. Ambassador Satyendra Prasad, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations and H.E. Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations, closed the event calling for the voluntary commitments to become a part of stimulus and recovery initiatives being undertaken by countries.