Keeping Our Oceans and Seas Healthy

United Nations, New York Headquarters, 4 February 2014

The Delegate of Guinea opened the 4th meeting of the 8th session of the Open Working Group on SDGs and spoke on behalf of the African groups. He explained that African countries would like to emphasize the relations between oceans, seas, and biodiversity with poverty eradication. Plus, fishing is one of the main exports in Africa. Fishing supports sustainable living for over 10 million people in Africa and can generate sustainable economic growth for numerous African countries.

In the last decade, the African Union has taken steps to improve the health of oceans and seas, which inevitably expands the benefits to the fishing industry. The delegate of Guinea asked for the continuous support of the international community in dealing with the perseveration of oceans and seas. The Delegate of Uganda and Tanzania added that oceans and seas provide resources which over half the world’s population depend on.

The Delegate of Singapore spoke on behalf of Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates and recognized that some countries are landlocked and do not have to deal with issues of oceans, and seas, yet, they should support these universal issues. She asked for bio-diversity to be included in the new SDGs because bio-diversity is a cross-cutting issue.

The delegates of Bangladesh and Maldives advocated for healthy oceans because they produce half of the oxygen we critically need in our lives. They advocated for the implementation of healthy oceans, seas, and biodiversity in the new SDGs. The Delegate of Nepal recognized that the high seas have shrunken and this issue must be dealt with.

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National Geographic

The Delegates from the Republic of Korea, Monaco, and New Zealand agreed that while the least developed countries are most vulnerable, oceans, seas, forests, and biodiversity are global issues. They deserve a stand-alone SDG because they coordinate with all three dimensions of Sustainable Development. The Delegate of Monaco elucidated that oceans are in the center of numerous national cultures and contribute significantly to their economics. She asked for better partnerships with private sectors, civil societies, and academia because, “we are all in the same boat.”

Meeting Title: 4th Meeting – 8th Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development: Goals Continuation and conclusion of the interactive exchange on “Oceans and seas, forests, biodiversity”

Key Speakers: The Delegate of Guinea spoke on behalf of the African groups, Delegate from Singapore spoke on behalf on Cyprus and United Arab Emirates, Delegate of Iran, Maldives, Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, South Africa, and Senegal

Written by WIT Representative: Modou Cham

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