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The Final Word


Healthy planet needs ‘ocean action’ from

Asian and Paci? c countries

By Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana s the Second Global Ocean ability of several of the region’s key ocean-

Conference opened recently in based economic sectors, such as seaborne

Lisbon, governments in Asia trade, tourism and ? sheries. An estimated

Aand the Paci? c must seize the 50 to 80 per cent of all life on Earth is opportunity to enhance cooperation and found under the ocean surface. Seven of ev- solidarity to address a host of challenges ery 10 ? sh caught around the globe comes that endanger what is a lifeline for mil- from Paci? c waters. And we know that the lions of people in the region. oceans and coasts are also vital allies in the

If done right ocean action will also be ? ght against climate change, with coastal climate action but this will require work- systems such as mangroves, salt marshes ing in concert on a few fronts. and seagrass meadows at the frontline of

First, we must invest in and support climate change, absorbing carbon at rates science and technology to produce key of up to 50 times those of the same area of solutions. Strengthening science-policy tropical forest.

interfaces to bridge practitioners and poli- But the health of the oceans in Asia and cymakers contributes to a sound under- the Paci? c is in serious decline: rampant standing of ocean-climate synergies, thereby enabling better pollution, destructive and illegal ? shing practices, inadequate policy design, an important priority of the Indonesian Presi- marine governance and continued urbanization along coast- dency of the G20 process. Additionally policy support tools lines have destroyed 40 per cent of the coral reefs and ap- can assist governments in identifying and prioritizing actions proximately 60 per cent of the coastal mangroves, while ? sh through policy and SDG tracking and scenarios development. stocks continue to decline and consumption patterns remain

We must also make the invisible visible through ocean data: unsustainable.

just three of ten targets for the goal on life below water are These and other pressures exacerbate climate-induced ocean measurable in Asia and the Paci? c. Better data is the founda- acidi? cation and warming and weaken the capacity of oceans tion of better policies and collective action. The Global Ocean to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Global climate

Accounts Partnership (GOAP) is an innovative multi-stake- change is also contributing to sea-level rise, which affects holder collective established to enable countries and other coastal and island communities severely, resulting in greater stakeholders to go beyond GDP and to measure and manage disaster risk, internal displacement and international migra- progress towards ocean sustainable development. tion.

Solutions for low-carbon maritime transport are also a key To promote concerted action, ESCAP, in collaboration with part of the transition to decarbonization by the middle of the partner UN agencies, provides a regional platform in support century. Countries in Asia and the Paci? c recognized this when of SDG14, aligned within the framework of the UN Decade adopting a new Regional Action Programme last December, of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). putting more emphasis on such concrete steps as innovative Through four editions so far of the Asia-Paci? c Day for the shipping technologies, cooperation on green shipping corri- Ocean, we also support countries in identifying and putting in dors and more ef? cient use of existing port infrastructure and place solutions and accelerated actions through regional dia- facilities to make this ambition a reality. logue and cooperation.

Finally, aligning ? nance with our ocean, climate and broad- It is abundantly clear there can be no healthy planet without er SDG aspirations provides a crucial foundation for all of a healthy ocean. Our leaders meeting in Lisbon must step up our action. Blue bonds are an attractive instrument both for efforts to protect the ocean and its precious resources and to governments interested in raising funds for ocean conserva- build sustainable blue economies.

tion and for investors interested in contributing to sustainable development in addition to obtaining a return for their invest- Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is an Under-Secretary-General ment. of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Econom-

These actions and others are steps towards ensuring the vi- ic and Social Commission for Asia and the Paci? c (ESCAP) 62 July/August 2022

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