UN chief: Save the oceans to avert 'global catastrophe'

What if the blue fades away as seawaters become brown coral reefs become white as marine grasslands wither and life below water vanishes

What if the blue fades away as seawaters become brown coral reefs become white as marine grasslands wither and life below water vanishes

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Sweden's deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin at the UN Ocean Conference in NY on June 5, 2017.

The commitments, now numbering over 600 and still increasing, target a wide range of ocean problems, ranging from protecting coral reefs, strengthening sustainable fisheries, reducing plastic pollution and addressing the impacts of climate change on the ocean.

The conference opened just days after President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

"We must jointly address the problems of governance that have held us back", he said, calling for a new strategic vision of how to govern the oceans and marine resources.

Couching his remarks in diplomatic finesse, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reminded the large gathering from some 200 countries that oceans were the "lifeblood of the world" and "under threat as never before", adding that "conserving our oceans and using them sustainably is preserving life itself".

Launching the publication, Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support said, "We know that the ocean is the blue heart of our planet, on which we all depend".

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned governments that unless they overcome short-term territorial and resource interests, the state of the oceans will continue to deteriorate, when he addressed his first major United Nations conference since taking office.

These actions are "the main threat to Mother Earth and to life itself", he said.

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President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson stated that the process to reverse the damage sustained by oceans and their coasts would be implemented in line with the conference.

06 de junio de 2017, 17:01United Nations, Jun 6 (Prensa Latina) United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the worldwide community today to foster dialogue and cooperation in areas with cross-border waters, as a way to prevent conflicts.

Countries will be called upon to prohibit subsidies which contribute to overfishing and illegal fishing.

Speaking to journalists in NY on Friday, Thomson, whose home country, Fiji, is co-hosting the Conference along with Sweden, said, "Every second breath you take comes from the ocean-produced oxygen".

The Ocean Conference, the first-ever such summit convened by the United Nations, is being held from 5th to 9th June.

"The cooperation between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan and the signing of the Declaration of Principles by the leaders of the three countries is also another manifestation of regional cooperation that needs to be enhanced further", he said. In particular among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 14 highlights the need to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources to benefit present and future generations.

On Friday, the almost 200 countries will issue a Call for Action to address marine issues, which urges nations to implement voluntary long-term measures to reduce the use of plastics and counteract sea-level rise that threatens the economies of many island nations, rising ocean temperatures and increasing ocean acidity under U.N.

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