“If everyone pulls together, it’s a race that can be won. Let’s all become the champions the ocean needs. Let’s end the marine emergency and preserve this precious blue gift for our children and grandchildren.”
In his opinion, the peak, which coincides with the end of the first leg of the Ocean Race sailing regatta in this country, is also an alarm signal: “The ocean is life. The sea is a basis of life. And the ocean is in trouble,” he warned.
In this context, he explained that around 35 percent of the world’s fish populations are overfished, global warming is increasing the temperature of the oceans, fueling more frequent and more intense storms, raising sea levels and salinizing coastal areas and aquifers.
Meanwhile, toxic chemicals and millions of tons of plastic waste are flooding coastal ecosystems, killing or injuring fish, sea turtles, birds and marine mammals, entering the food chain and ultimately being consumed by us, Guterres said.
UN experts estimate that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea than fish.
In his speech, the head of the international organization said that in 2022 the world took some important steps to correct that course.
He pointed to the landmark agreement adopted in Nairobi to negotiate a globally binding treaty to tackle plastic pollution, and at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon where countries made hundreds of new voluntary commitments and pledges.
He added the UN Conference on Biodiversity in Montreal, which ended with nations agreeing to protect 30 percent of terrestrial, aquatic, coastal and marine ecosystems by 2030.
“Some have called 2022 the super year of the oceans. But the race is far from over. We must make 2023 a year of super actions so we can end the marine emergency once and for all,” Guterres said.