A Unified Push for Healthy Oceans in Yeosu
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova called for heightened awareness, stronger capacity and deeper scientific knowledge to shift from exploiting to sustaining the ocean during the Yeosu Declaration Forum on August 12, 2012. She welcomed the launch of the Oceans Compact by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, stating that it represents a landmark document for more sustainable management of the ocean by all partners.
‘Green Growth from the Sea’ sums up the spirit of the Yeosu Declaration, adopted at the end of a 93-day Expo on ‘The Living Ocean and Coast’ that offered an adventurous, innovative and dynamic journey into the wealth of the ocean and attracted over 8 million visitors to the southern coastal city of Yeosu.
“We must all become stewards for the ocean, this is our message to the world today,” said Mr Ban at the Declaration Forum, held just after he launched the Oceans Compact. “Today is just the beginning of a push for healthy oceans and a strong call to action and guide for the future.”
The Ocean Compact is strategic vision for UN to deliver more coherently and effectively on its ocean mandate. It has three objectives: protecting people and improving the health of the oceans; protecting, recovering and sustaining the oceans' environment and restoring their full food production and livelihoods services; and strengthening ocean knowledge and management of oceans. Ms Bokova said that UNESCO, which contributed to the development of the Compact, had a particular stake in the last objective. She underlined that ocean sustainability would be a key dimension of the post-2015 development agenda. Mr Ban praised UNESCO and the UN Environment Programme for their vision and leadership in developing the Compact.
Addressing the Declaration Forum, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Mr Kim Hwang-Sik stated that current consumption patterns had put the planet’s survival at stake, stressing the need to use the oceans with care through eco-marine friendly technology and other measures.
Mr Willy Telavi, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, a small island developing state that faces extreme vulnerability to climate change and depends on the ocean’s biological resources as a primary source of income and food, called for “an altruistic partnership built on genuine cooperation and activities that draw on both scientific and local knowledge.” All partners praised the Yeosu Declaration for setting a shared vision and strategy for the governance and sustainable development of oceans. “The spirit and vision of Yeosu will live on through the Declaration,” said Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik at the Expo’s closing ceremony.