Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

UN chief warns of serious clean water shortages by 2050

UN chief warns of serious clean water shortages by 2050

The ongoing five-day United Nations Ocean Conference, as the large gathering of world leaders, politicians, environmentalists and ocean experts under the UN auspices in NY is being called, is also turning out to be a platform for some to vent their anger and frustration against the US, following the announcement by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the painstakingly hammered out agreement of Paris against climate change.

But our oceans are in a critical condition and we will soon find more plastic than fish outside our coasts if we don't reverse the current trend.

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has warned that a range of factors are damaging the world's oceans.

He described the Ocean Conference as a unique place to raise awareness and come up with solutions to ensure that the world's oceans and seas remain a source of life and human well-being for generations.

According to a recent study, the volume of plastic waste in our oceans may surpass that of fish by 2050 if nothing is done.

The Conference will result in a Call for Action that will be formally adopted at its conclusion on Friday.

"Oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, causing coral bleaching and reducing biodiversity", Guterres went on to state. Governments are not making full use of the tools available to them, including the Convention on the Law of the Sea, and UN Oceans.

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The Call for Action stresses the need for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly Goal 14, that addresses marine issues.

The prospect of a vibrant, sustainable blue economy is on South Africa's doorstep, and the country's Operation Phakisa oceans economy plans have progressed considerably, Environmental Affairs Minister Dr Edna Molewa said on Wednesday. "The health of our oceans and seas requires us to put aside short-term national gain, to avoid long-term global catastrophe", he added.

IMO says the Ocean Conference (5-9 June) will feature a high-level plenary session, several "partnership dialogues" and many more side events during which all aspects of SDG 14and its sub-targets will be analysed and discussed.

"We are committed to halting and reversing the decline in the health and productivity of our ocean", says the 3-page document, which also expresses alarm at the impact of climate change on the ocean.

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.

It was for these reasons and others that many have come to share Morales' dim view of USA leadership under Trump and the Republican Party.

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