Ocean

UN General Assembly High-Level Event on the Ocean

1 June 2021 | Online

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Ocean
Photo courtesy of Pam Chasek

This one-day high-level thematic debate convened by the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Volkan Bozkır, took place four years after the 2017 UN Ocean Conference. A second UN Ocean Conference was supposed to convene in 2020, but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has hampered, among other things, the evaluation of progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 (life below water). UN Member States have yet to discuss achievements on the following four SDG 14 targets, which were to have been achieved in 2020:

  • Target 14.2 (protect and restore ecosystems)
  • Target 14.4 (sustainable fishing)
  • Target 14.5 (conserve costal and marine areas)
  • Target 14.6 (end subsidies contributing to overfishing)

To generate momentum towards the second conference and encourage ambitious and innovative commitments on ocean issues, the high-level debate featured four thematic multi-stakeholder panels:

  • Bringing Together UN Processes on the Ocean
  • Towards a Healthy, Protected and Climate-resilient Ocean
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • A Sustainable Ocean Economy

The panels also reviewed the impacts of COVID-19 on the ocean economy and highlighted the opportunities and challenges to achieving the 2030 Agenda.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Event on the Ocean took place virtually on 1 June 2021, in line with the continued health and safety measures in response to COVID-19.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) provided daily digital reporting, and a summary and analysis of the UNGA High-Level Event on the Ocean.

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