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World - Reflections on the closing of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, Lisbon, Portugal

Your ocean, your future, your responsibility

As the second UN Ocean Conference draws to a close, I am delighted to see the many commitments, pledges and actions presented in Lisbon, from actions on blue carbon ecosystems to new financial instruments to pledges towards larger and more effective protection of the Ocean. There have been bold statements and positions on deep-sea mining but even more so the presence of young impact leaders at UNOC.

These outcomes are all causes for a well-deserved celebration. Nevertheless, it is important that we build on this extraordinary momentum, to accelerate post Lisbon-progress towards a healthy, productive and resilient ocean with thriving marine and coastal species, ecosystems and communities and, moreover, the next generation of blue leaders and entrepreneurs.

Now is the time to be bold, visionary and pragmatic, so that by 2030 we can collectively achieve at least 30% protection and 100% sustainable management of our ocean for the benefit of humankind and our world.

The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report cautions that we have a “brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”. Now that the global ocean community has come together in Lisbon, it is even more critical to follow through to ensure that key conventions and processes adopt decisive actions for the Ocean.

The means of implementation will be essential to implement such a bold vision, both in terms of sufficient financial resources and ample capacity. Only 1.6% of the Overseas Development Aid (ODA) and 1.7% of the global research budget is dedicated to SDG 14. This level of resources is marginal compared to the contribution of the Ocean to human development and wellbeing.

I particularly urge governments and the donor community to increase funding dedicated to the ocean and encourages public and private collaborations on innovative ways to mobilize new finance and to incentivize investments in ocean conservation.

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