By Hannah Schartmann.
Please sit back and relax. I would like to take you on a time journey in the year 2030. How would our ocean look like in 2030?
My dream ocean world would look this:
In 2030, we are surrounded by a clean, healthy, productive and inspiring ocean.
Clean stands for an ocean where sources of marine pollution are identified and reduced.
Healthy stands for a resilient ocean where marine and coastal ecosystems are understood, protected, restored, and sustainably managed.
Productive stands for an ocean supporting sustainable food supply. We have stopped overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices. We have implemented science-based management plans to restore fish stocks.
Inspiring stands for our understanding of the importance of our oceans for the economic, social and environmental well-being of us and our planet.
It’s time to wake up now. We are back in 2022.
How can we make this dream a reality?
We all know the important role of the ocean in our life: We all depend on it, even if we don’t live close to it. The ocean supplies half the oxygen we breathe and absorbs around 25% of all carbon dioxide we produce. Billions of people depend on the ocean for their main source of protein or for economic activities. And our oceans are the largest ecosystems on our planet with home up to 80% of all life in the world; they are too big to ignore.
Although we all know of the important role of our oceans in our life, our oceans are in danger. We are in danger of losing what makes the ocean such an important and special place for us. Our oceans are heavily affected by anthropogenic activities and pressures, including pollution, overfishing, the loss of habitats, ocean warming and sea-level rise.
Well, that’s nothing new. It’s obvious that we have to take actions to recover our ocean.
An important step was the UN Ocean Conference which took place in Lisbon, Portugal from 27th June to 1st July. Politicians, scientists, the business community, change-makers and activists from all over the world came together to work on solutions for the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans, like marine pollution, ocean warming, sustainable fisheries and sustainable ocean-based economies. Beside to the plenary sessions, more than 250 side events were on the conference’s programme.
The outcome of the conference is a Political Declaration, agreed by the participating countries. This declaration contains specific science-based and innovative actions with considering in particular the challenges created by limited capacities in Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. It is important to mention that firstly, these actions are on a voluntary basis and secondly, there is no monitoring of the implementation of these actions. These actions include e.g. to strengthen the role of indigenous people in sharing practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage women and girls’ important participation in the ocean-based economies. In addition, over 700 commitments and calls to action were made by many countries and stakeholders.
And now it is the time to put these actions into practice! Let’s act together!