Jamaican delegation off to UN Ocean summit in Portugal

A high-level delegation, headed by minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Senator Matthew Samuda, left the island on Monday to represent Jamaica at the United Nations’ Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

The summit, which will run until July 1, is being held in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. It is being held under the theme ‘Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: Stocktaking, partnerships and solutions’.

The conference comes at a critical time as countries around the world grapple with several deep-rooted issues, that have been unearthed by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the SDGs, according to the organisers.

To mobilise action the conference will seek to propel much-needed, science-based, innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action. It will also determine the level of ambition for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

The UN has set 10 ocean-related targets to be achieved over this decade as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among them actions to prevent and reduce pollution and acidification; protect ecosystems; regulate fisheries; and increase scientific knowledge.

Samuda is accompanied by Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism, and Pearnel Charles Jr, minister of agriculture and fisheries. The delegation is supported by representatives from the National Environment and Planning Agency, Port Authority of Jamaica, Planning Institute of Jamaica, and the Fisheries Division.

The delegation will participate in a number of key events during the conference, and engage in several bilateral meetings which will examine conservation measures as well as opportunities for the sustainable growth of Jamaica’s blue economy.

– Balford Henry

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