Oceans degraded by human activities: UN Oceans Special envoy Ambassador Thomson
By Pita Ligaiula in Noumea
Despite improved management and conservation actions, the Pacific Ocean, as all the oceans, is now seriously degraded by human activities due to overfishing, plastic and marine pollution and climate change.
UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson in a video message to the Pacific Community workshop on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in Noumea said now is the time to act.
“We have to act, and action can only be effective if it is based on sound knowledge informed science. Ocean science can help us to assess the impacts of human activities on ocean health.
“Ocean science is essential to study Pacific currents, their variations, their impacts and their response to climate change. The quest for understanding the greenhouse effect is rallying the scientific community all over the world: marine biologists, oceanographers, modellers, human and social sciences researchers.
“Significant research efforts have been undertaken and they have to be maintained in the future in order to improve our knowledge on the ocean so science can be used to inform policy makers for a sustainable development,” Ambassador Thompson said.
He said the Institute of Research for Development (IRD)’s priorities include the implementation – coupled with a critical analysis – of the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015, with the aim of guiding development policies and addressing the major challenges linked to the global, environmental, economic, social and cultural changes that are affecting the entire planet.
“These all fall within the scope of a single challenge: our ability to transform our societies in order to live in a better, fairer and more equal world that is respectful of the environment and humans.
“This is the challenge of our future and this why it is so important to design altogether the next
Decade of Ocean science. As a historical partner of SPC, we — at the IRD — are thrilled to contribute to this UN workshop. We look forward to continuing and expanding our collaborations with the regional intergovernmental organisations and scientific partners at the regional and international level to support global ocean sciences and services,” said Ambassador Thompson.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest. It covers about 46 percent of Earth's water surface, making it larger than all of Earth's land area combined.
“As all the oceans, it stabilises climate, stores carbon, produces oxygen, nurtures incredible biodiversity. It directly supports human well-being through food and energy resources as well as it provides cultural and
recreational services,” said Ambassador Thompson.
Pita Ligaiula’s story has been developed as part of the Pacific Community Workshop on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. This was made possible through SPC’s Australian funded Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac). COSPPac works to help translate ocean science that is critical and relevant to the Pacific region to better inform evidence based decision making for our climate and oceans.