From Caesar Zvayi at the UNITED NATIONS, New York
THE world should ramp up efforts to halt the degradation of the marine environment by moving from rhetoric to action, Zimbabwe Ambassador to the United Nations, who is also president of the Economic and Social Council, Frederick Shava said here on Monday. ECOSOC is one of six principal organs of the UN responsible for co-ordinating the economic, social, and related work of 15 specialised agencies, their functional commissions and five regional commissions.
Ambassador Shava, who was addressing the opening session of the Oceans Conference, was elected ECOSOC president on July 28, 2016.
“The issue of conserving and sustainably using our oceans is very complex, as oceans have a direct impact on poverty eradication, health, sustained economic growth, food security and creation of sustainable livelihoods and decent work,” Ambassador Shava said.
Biodiversity and the marine environment, he said, must be protected and the impact of climate change addressed.
‘‘The Commission on Sustainable Development at its 4th session, as a follow-up to the Rio Conference, noted inter-linkages among the protection of oceans and atmosphere, climate and desertification, maritime transport and energy.’’
Oceans and seas influence weather and climate, for instance the warming of the ocean surface or above-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean which lead to intense drought in parts of east and southern Africa, and/or the development of low pressure centres that manifest in tropical cyclones and depressions which bring heavy rainfall to the coast and inland.
Ambassador Shava added that political guidance from the high-level political forum that would be held on July 10-18 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council would be critical for promoting integrated consideration of the Sustainable Development Goals.
He described the Ocean Conference as a unique place to raise awareness and come up with solutions to ensure that the world’s oceans and seas remain a source of life and human well-being for generations.
Ambassador Shava expressed hope that the conference, to be dubbed ‘‘Our Oceans, Our Future: Call for Action’’, to support the implementation of Goal 14, would be a co-operative effort to ensure the pooling of financial and technical resources as well as technology sharing and capacity-building.