UN chief launches new initiative to protect oceans

Aug 12, 2012 by Jung Ha-Won
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has highlighted the 'grave threat' from pollution, excessive fishing and global warming
The UN chief, Ban Ki-moon (pictured in June), on Sunday announced an initiative to protect oceans from pollution and over-fishing and to combat rising sea levels which threaten hundreds of millions of people. The initiative, called the Oceans Compact, sets out a strategic vision for the UN system to work more effectively to tackle the "precarious state" of the world's seas.

The UN chief on Sunday announced an initiative to protect oceans from pollution and over-fishing and to combat rising sea levels which threaten hundreds of millions of the world's people.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the "Oceans Compact" initiative sets out a strategic vision for the UN system to more effectively tackle the "precarious state" of the world's seas.

Ban highlighted the "grave threat" from pollution, excessive fishing and global warming.

"Our oceans are heating and expanding," he said in a speech to a conference marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"We risk irrevocable changes in processes that we barely comprehend, such as the great currents that affect .

" (from absorbed ) is eating into the very basis of our ; and threatens to re-draw the global map at the expense of hundreds of millions of the world's most vulnerable people."

The UN chief, who also called for action to curb piracy and irregular sea migration, said he hoped for progress towards a legally binding framework to combat "runaway " at a UN conference in Doha in November.

But action could also be taken now.

Ban said the Compact was aimed at "improving the health of the oceans" and strengthening their management through an action plan to be overseen by a high-level advisory group.

This would be made up of senior policymakers, scientists and experts, representatives from the private sector and civil society and leaders of the UN organisations involved.

The UN chief said his initiative would also support implementation of the Law of the Sea treaty, which came into force in 1994.

He called the treaty one of the world's "most significant legal instruments" and a tool for sustainable development which all nations should ratify.

"It contributes to international peace and security, the equitable and efficient use of ocean resources, the protection and preservation of the marine environment and the realisation of a just and equitable economic order."

The United States is the only major power not to have signed the convention. Republicans in the Senate contend it would undermine US sovereignty and are blocking ratification.

"The world's oceans are key to sustaining life on the planet," Ban said in his introduction to the Oceans Compact.

Among other objectives, the Compact aims to protect the world's people from ocean degradation and natural hazards such as tsunamis, from over-fishing and from pollution by land and sea activities.

It calls for countries most at risk from to develop plans to mitigate the threat, and for vulnerable regions to have tsunami warning systems.

By 2025, all countries should set national targets to curb nutrients, marine debris and wastewater.

The Compact calls for renewed efforts to curb illegal fishing, rebuild fish stocks and halt the spread of invasive alien species.

By 2020, it says, at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas should be subject to conservation measures.

Explore further: NOAA establishes 'tipping points' for sea level rise related flooding

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UN chief calls for urgent action on climate change

Sep 08, 2011

(AP) -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that urgent action was needed on climate change, pointing to the famine in the Horn of Africa and devastating floods in northern Australia ...

World Bank proposes global coalition to save oceans

Feb 24, 2012

The World Bank was on Friday to propose a coalition of governments, global organisations and other groups to protect the oceans, aiming to raise $1.5 billion in the next five years for the purpose.

The future law of the sea [research]

Aug 08, 2011

What is the legal basis for the Law of the Sea Convention 1982 in building the universal law of the sea? And can the State-Parties Consensus Decision-Making’ be a new law-making technique for the law of the sea? Certainly ...

World's coral reefs could be gone by 2050: study

Feb 23, 2011

The world's coral reefs could be wiped out by 2050 unless urgent action is taken to stop threats posed to the "rainforests of the sea" by everything from overfishing to climate change, a report warned.

Oceans threatened by mass extinction

Jun 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- An international panel of marine scientists has warned that the world’s oceans are at risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.

Recommended for you

UN sends team to clean up Bangladesh oil spill

3 hours ago

The United Nations said Thursday it has sent a team of international experts to Bangladesh to help clean up the world's largest mangrove forest, more than a week after it was hit by a huge oil spill.

How will climate change transform agriculture?

3 hours ago

Climate change impacts will require major but very uncertain transformations of global agriculture systems by mid-century, according to new research from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Report: Radiation leak at nuclear dump was small

3 hours ago

A final report by independent researchers shows the radiation leak from the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico was small and localized.

Confucian thought and China's environmental dilemmas

8 hours ago

Conventional wisdom holds that China - the world's most populous country - is an inveterate polluter, that it puts economic goals above conservation in every instance. So China's recent moves toward an apparent ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.