UN deputy chief highlights benefits from and challenges confronting oceans

27 June 2016

27 June 2016 – Addressing a gathering on laws affecting the world’s oceans, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson today underscored that healthy oceans are critical to maintaining life on the planet, while also noting their connection to broader sustainable development aims.

In his remarks to the opening of the 40th annual Conference of the Centre for Oceans Law and Policy, the UN official also emphasized that oceans are fundamental to meeting many of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as fighting hunger, providing clean energy and countering climate change.

“They regulate the climate and provide an incredible range of natural resources, nutritious food, and jobs that benefit billions of people,” he said, while cautioning that humans’ impact on oceans and seas is taking a heavy toll. “Many marine species are at serious risk from ocean warming and over-fishing.”

Mr. Eliasson drew attention to the threats posed by rising sea levels to small island nations, which “bear so little responsibility for climate change but are on the frontlines of its imprint on their nations and people.”

The Conference, organized in cooperation with the UN Office of Legal Affairs, focuses on the legal order for the world’s oceans and the regime under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

It is also the first annual conference since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement.