Pakistan has told the United Nations Ocean Conference that it would play an active role in the efforts to reverse the decline of world’s oceans health resulting from decades of “irresponsible human activity.”
“We remain committed to working closely with the international community to improve the health of our oceans,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said hours before the first-ever summit conference wrapped up in New York.
Emphasizing that the ocean was the collective heritage of mankind, she said that this vital source, however, was in grave and unprecedented danger.
“Marine pollution, acidification and excessive exploitation of natural resources have done serious harm to the waters that are our lifeblood,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“The world needs to come together to make a collective commitment to reverse this.”
The week-long conference, where some 6,000 delegates participated, was sponsored by Sweden and Fiji.
It ended with the adoption by consensus of a 14-point Call for Action where the participating Heads of State and Government and senior representatives “affirm our strong commitment to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources tor sustainable development.”
In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi said she encouraged to see the level of interest this conference had engendered.
“By bringing together the political leadership, scientific community, innovators, activists, policymakers and other stakeholders, the Oceans Conference has reinvigorated our collective resolve to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14, the goal of the oceans,” she said, adding that it had also focused on many long-term issues related to the health and well-being of the blue.
The goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were integrated, indivisible and universal, and it was imperative that all of its dimensions, economic, social and environmental were pursued in a balanced and integrated manner.
This shared understanding of the nature of the development agenda must underpin the ongoing efforts to successfully implement SDG 14, ambassador Lodhi said.
“Only such an integrated and balanced approach will ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the Ocean.”
The Pakistani envoy said the ocean’s health was closely linked with the problem of climate change, and, as a primary regulator of the global climate and an effective carbon sink, the ocean held the key to all future solutions to combat the phenomenon. As such she called for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement as climate change was truly a global problem.
“It does not discriminate between countries. None of us can afford the luxury of opting out of efforts to combat this problem. Those who seek to opt out will do it at their own nation’s peril,” she added.
Pointing out that Pakistan was among the countries that would be most grievously affected by the sharp decline in the ocean’s health, Ambassador Lodhi said her country was one of the key littoral states of the Arabian Sea, which was one of the major biological productivity zones among the world’s oceans.
“Recent erratic trends in the annual monsoons, climatic variability and unpredictability, compounded by the changes resulting in the natural environment are having an adverse impact on biological productivity, as well as biological diversity of the area,” she added.
Pakistan, she said was undertaking a number of steps to strengthen the country’s national capacity to undertake Marine Scientific Research in an effort to increasing oceanographic knowledge that would lead to improving ocean health and biodiversity, as also to enhance productivity and food security provided by the Ocean.
DND. Pakistan vows to actively back steps to improve world’s oceans health. Dispatch News Desk, June 10, 2017.