March 02, 2020

Hopes for Restoring Ocean Health

Mercy Global Action attended the Preparatory Meeting for the second UN Ocean Conference held on February 4th and 5th 2020. This two-day meeting was a time for United Nations Member States and stakeholders to gather and discuss the goals and concerns most in need of a global focus at the upcoming Ocean Conference, which will be held this June in Lisbon Portugal. Issues including plastics, economics, and ocean management emerged during the meeting, and will continue to be influential elements in upcoming deliberations.

The Secretary General named eight 'dialogues' that will be the center of the upcoming Ocean Conference: Pollution, conserving biodiversity, minimizing ocean acidification, making fisheries sustainable, promoting sustainable ocean economies, scientific advancement, enhancing conservation and sustainable use through international law, and leveraging the inter-linkage between Goal 14 (life below water) and other Sustainable Development Goals. It is in the hopes that naming these specific challenges looming over the health and survival of our oceans, that fruitful conversations and actions will emerge from the Ocean Conference in June.

The human impact on the ocean has already caused a great deal of damage, and the need for restoration projects is apparent. The ocean, our life support system, is intrinsically linked with social justice and economics around the world and we rely on it in a variety of ways. Many coastal communities and countries, including those around the Mercy World, depend on the resources of the ocean for their livelihoods and for food. Dependency upon the ocean is as true for coastal communities as it is for major world economies. Economically, countless jobs from fishing to tourism depend on healthy oceans. Ecologically, we need a healthy ocean to slow global warming; and the ocean provides about half of the world’s oxygen. Without healthy oceans, it is hard to see how humans could continue meeting our basic needs; yet, oceans remain a dumping ground for trash and sewage, and suffers from the effects of climate change (deoxygenation, acidification, and biodiversity loss).

No real action can take place without a fundamental cultural shift. Our culture must move towards one concerned for the health of our oceans and climate change, and demand the necessary changes from industries and governments around the world.

Mercy Global Action supports the 'RISE UP - Blue Call to Action', a joint call by civil society, fisherfolk, Indigenous peoples and philanthropic organisations, calling upon governments and corporations to raise ambition and create bold actions to safeguard the ocean.

Read the call to action here! 

Messages to: Angela Reed rsm - Head of Mercy Global Action

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