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United Nations chief warns oceans are 'under threat as never before'

08 June 2017

Less than a week after President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, the United Nations is hosting its first ever Oceans' Conference in NY.

The five days discussions will focus on how to solve the problems facing oceans, including plastic pollution, overfishing and rising seas due to climate change.

Following the US' decision to leave the Paris Agreement, Bolivian President Evo Morales criticised the nation, saying she was the "main threat to Mother Earth". We plan to highlight our global and domestic activities, our investments in the Pacific's oceans and fisheries and our effective management of our own marine areas.

According to the United Nations secretary-general, there are more than 270 basins in the world at global borders, a panorama that increases the need for cooperation.

"The time has come for us to correct our wrongful ways", president of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson told thousands of participants including heads of state and government, business people, actors, and ocean and marine life advocates.

"By adding to the conference's register of voluntary commitments; of producing practical solutions to Ocean's problems at the Partnership Dialogues; and through the affirmation of the conference's Call for Action, we have begun that process of reversing the wrongs".

If nothing is done, plastic could outweigh fish in the world's oceans by the year 2050, said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the opening of the first United Nations conference on oceans.

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Effective conservation of our oceans contributes to a healthy environment and a sustainable economy for future generations.

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". "Our planet, the human family and life in all its myriad forms on Earth are in the throes of a water crisis that will only get worse over the coming decades", he said.

That is why Sweden and Fiji jointly took the initiative to organise the UN Ocean Conference.

"Here we are in 2017, and it is impossible to talk of anywhere in the world's oceans as being pristine", he said.

Biodiversity and the marine environment, he said, must be protected and the impact of climate change addressed.

This will mean addressing the developmental objectives of reducing marine pollution; managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems; increasing scientific knowledge; and minimising and addressing ocean acidification.

"In most probability this conference represents the best opportunity we will ever have to reverse the cycle of decline that human activity has brought upon the Ocean", he said.

United Nations chief warns oceans are 'under threat as never before'