WORLD / CROSS-BORDERS
UN chief calls for efforts to protect oceans
Published: Jun 09, 2021 03:13 PM

Aerial photo taken on June 2, 2021 shows the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef in Australia's state of Queensland, is described as the planet's most beautiful marine environment and is the main conservation target of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, a charity cooperative organization that runs a series of preserving programs. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)

Aerial photo taken on June 2, 2021 shows the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef in Australia's state of Queensland, is described as the "planet's most beautiful marine environment" and is the main conservation target of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, a charity cooperative organization that runs a series of preserving programs. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)


 
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called for efforts to protect the oceans.

The recently issued Second World Ocean Assessment confirmed that many of the benefits that the global ocean provides to humankind are being undermined by human actions, he said in a message for World Oceans Day, which falls on June 8.

"Our seas are choking with plastic waste, which can be found from the remotest atolls to the deepest ocean trenches. Overfishing is causing an annual loss of almost 90 billion US dollars in net benefits, which also heightens the vulnerability of women, who are vital to the survival of small-scale fishing businesses," he said.

Carbon emissions are driving ocean warming and acidification, destroying biodiversity and causing sea level rise that threatens heavily inhabited coastlines, he noted.

The theme of this year's observance, "The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods," underscores the importance of oceans for the cultural life and economic survival of communities around the world. More than 3 billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods, the vast majority in developing countries, said Guterres.

"As we strive to recover from COVID-19, let's end our war on nature. This will be critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, keeping within reach the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement, and ensuring the health of our oceans for today's and future generations," he said.
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