President of UN General Assembly visits IOC, calls on Commission to play key role at First UN Conference on the Ocean
H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, met with the Chairman, Executive Secretary and other key officials of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to discuss its key role in preparing for the upcoming UN Conference in support of the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – the “Ocean SDG” (New York, 5-9 June 2017).
IOC Executive Secretary Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, briefed the UN General Assembly President on IOC’s broad contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 14, which addresses ocean conservation and the sustainable use of marine resources. He stressed that the implementation of the SDG14 should be underpinned by ocean science solutions and that an efficient and effective mechanism is urgently needed to rally governments around the world towards implementing the Goal 14’s various targets.
H.E. Mr. Thomson engaged in a lively exchange with the IOC officials on the state of ocean science and the potential for developing science-based solutions for sustainable use of the ocean. He emphasized the crucial role IOC can play in mobilizing policy-makers around a science-based solutions portfolio for implementing SDG14, remembering how one of IOC’s past presentations to the ‘Friends of Oceans and Seas’ group of Ambassadors to the United Nations, “opened a lot of eyes about the state of the ocean and the need for a strong science knowledge base”.
Following Dr. Ryabinin’s presentation, H.E. Mr. Thomson shared the main lines of work currently underway to organizing the UN Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, to take place on 5-9 June 2017, at the UN Headquarters in New York, U.S.A. H.E. Mr. Thomson is keen to have IOC play a significant role in the conference, which is co-organized by the governments of Fiji and Sweden. The IOC Secretariat will contribute to many of the 7 "partnership dialogues" (discussion round tables) foreseen to take place during the June conference, alongside important partner international agencies such as the UN Environment Programme and the International Maritime Organization, as well as cosponsored entities such as the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP). IOC will focus on aspects related to marine pollution, impacts of ocean acidification, ecosystem-based management approaches and the contribution of marine scientific research and capacity development as a cross cutting theme to all SDG 14 targets.
As the “custodian agency” for two targets of the SDG 14, UNESCO’s IOC is responsible for collecting and harmonizing relevant data from national, regional and global sources; for contributing to annual SDG reports and review processes; and for establishing partnerships with other international agencies to monitor the achievement of SDG14 and all other connected Goals.
The Conference Preparatory Committee to be held in New York form 15-16 February 2017 will work on finalizing the conference themes and outcome document.
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