The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, moderated today a High-Level Segment at the second Our Ocean Conference inaugurated this Monday, October 5, 2015 in the Chilean coastal city of Valparaíso.
The event, which ends on Tuesday 6, is hosted by the Government of Chile and is an initiative of the Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry, who in June 2014 organized the first version of this event. It gathers figures from the political, academic and civil society spheres that are committed to protecting the oceans.
At the beginning of the High-Level Segment moderated by Alicia Bárcena, she read a message sent by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
“This is a defining year for our future and that of our oceans. Governments have adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ‘Transforming our world’. The Agenda includes a dedicated Goal 14 on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources,” Ban Ki-moon said in the letter, adding that the good governance of these ecosystems is an underlying factor for the achievement of the other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The panel moderated by Bárcena was attended by Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz; the Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry; Prince Albert of Monaco; Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manuel González; the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), José Graziano da Silva; the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella; and Tone Skogen, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Norway.
Alicia Bárcena underlined the importance of a collective action for the effective protection of the world’s oceans, calling for countries to eradicate illegal fishing by 2020. The senior representative valued the efforts currently made in terms of international cooperation and called for including coastal communities in the conservation plans.
During the panel, the authorities gave an account of the commitments adopted in 2014 in Washington and reported on new projects directed towards protecting the oceans. Announcements to confront illegal fishing as well as the creation of protected maritime areas were emphasized.
Participants welcomed the recent approval of the 2030 Agenda and called for a continued discussion on the sustainable management of the oceans during the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), to be held in December in Paris, France.
According to its promoters, the goal of Our Ocean conference is to achieve solutions in order to confront illegal fishing; the pollution of the seas with plastic; the acidification of the ocean and its relationship to climate change. It also aims to stimulate the creation of protected marine areas as tools to protect the marine ecosystem.