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World Oceans Day: UN chief calls for urgent action to revitalise oceans

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has said that to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the world urgently needs collective action to revitalise the ocean.

Guterres made the assertion on Wednesday in a message to a forum organised by the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) to commemorate the 2022 World Oceans Day in Lagos.

The message of the UN Secretary-General was delivered by Bolanle Olumekor, Knowledge Management Assistant, UNIC, at the event.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Oceans Day is marked yearly to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean and to also develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean.

It is also to mobilise and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.

The theme for the 2022 celebration of WOD is “Revitalisation: Collective Action for the Ocean”.

According to Gutteres, the world must find a new balance in the relationship with the marine environment.

This, he said, means working together with nature, not against it, and building inclusive and diverse partnerships across regions, sectors and communities to collaborate creatively on ocean solutions.

“Momentum is growing. Last November, the Glasgow climate change conference recognised the role of marine ecosystems in achieving the world’s climate goals.

“In March, countries agreed to work together on a new treaty to end plastic pollution, which is threatening the marine environment.

“Later this month, the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon will focus on scaling up action based on science and innovation for the achievement of SDG 14,” he said.

The Secretary-General said the ocean produced more than 50 per cent of the planet’s oxygen and the main source of sustenance for more than a billion people.

He said ocean-based industries employed about 40 million people, noting that the ocean’s resources and biodiversity were being undermined by human activities.

According to him, it is clear that the triple crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution are threatening the health of our oceans, on which we all ultimately depend.

“Ensuring a healthy and productive ocean is our collective responsibility, which we can only fulfill by working together.

“And discussions will continue on a new agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction,” he added.

Also, Mr Akanbi Williams, Director, International Ocean Institute (IOI) in Nigeria said the institute had a mission of promoting education, training and research to enhance the peaceful use of ocean space.

He said IOI- Nigeria continued to successfully promote current issues in ocean governance including Blue Economy, Ocean Acidification, Climate Change, Food Security and Sustainable Trade, among others.

“We are committed to creating awareness on issues such as marine pollution, oil pollution, over fishing and deep ocean mining.

“One of our major activities is the facilitation of Ocean literacy programmes through the education of the populace, especially students on the richness of the ocean and the need for its conservation.”

Williams said that IOI-Nigeria operated at the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) with a number of staff and volunteer experts working towards these goals.

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