Holness, 13 world leaders commit to sustainable ocean managementThursday, December 03, 2020
PRIME Minister Andrew Holness yesterday joined 13 other world leaders in committing to 100 per cent sustainable ocean management to solve global challenges, and called on more countries to come on board.
Holness joined the leaders of Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Palau, and Portugal in committing to sustainably manage nearly 30 million square kilometres (km) of their national waters by 2025.
“Jamaica has an inextricable connection to the ocean. Jamaica's coastline is approximately 1,022 km and includes an array of ecosystems, including coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, and swamp lands. These systems protect the coastline [including beaches] and, importantly, provide habitat for several species of fish and other marine life,” said Holness.
“The richness of our ocean capital must be managed sustainably, to ensure productivity and diversification is achieved for the benefit of the people and communities whose livelihoods depend on it, and also for the benefit of a healthy planet. Jamaica is committed to do its part on sustainable ocean management to achieve the 100 per cent goal,” added Holness, who was invited by prime minister of Norway Erna Solberg to join the panel in 2018.
Holness's comments came as the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) put forward a new ocean action agenda, paired with bold commitments and new research.
The 14 world leaders of the Ocean Panel committed to bringing a holistic approach to ocean management that balances protection, production, and prosperity to an area nearly the size of Africa.
The Ocean Panel also urged leaders of coastal and ocean states across the globe to join in committing to the 100 per cent goal, so that all Exclusive Economic Zones are sustainably managed by 2030.
The world leaders underscored that the ocean is central to life on Earth, people's livelihoods, and the economy, but also recognised that the ocean's health is at risk from pressures, such as pollution, overfishing, and climate change.
Two years ago, members of the Ocean Panel set out to develop a transformative set of recommendations to deliver a sustainable ocean economy that would benefit people everywhere and effectively protect the ocean.
The result is a new ocean action agenda that, if achieved, could help produce as much as six times more food from the ocean, generate 40 times more renewable energy, lift millions of people out of poverty, and contribute one-fifth of the greenhouse gas emission reductions needed to stay within 1.5°C.
“Humanity's well-being is deeply intertwined with the health of the ocean. It sustains us, stabilises the climate, and leads to greater prosperity,” said Solberg, who is the Ocean Panel co-chair.
“For too long, we have perceived a false choice between ocean protection and production. No longer. We understand the opportunities of action and the risks of inaction, and we know the solutions. Building a sustainable ocean economy is one of the greatest opportunities of our time. The members of the Ocean Panel are united in our commitment to sustainably managing 100 per cent of our national waters by 2025,” Solberg said.
More than three billion people rely on food from the ocean each day. The ocean covers 70 per cent of Earth and helps transport at least 90 per cent of goods.
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