Human activities are placing the health of the ocean in peril. Climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution exacting a devastating toll on the world’s ocean, which is critical to food security, economic growth and the environment. With a call for action driven by science, technology and innovation, the UN Ocean Conference 2022 opened in Lisbon, Portugal. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres remarked during the opening of the Conference, “Sadly, we have taken the ocean for granted, and today we face what I would call an ‘Ocean Emergency’,” “We must turn the tide. A healthy and productive ocean is vital to our shared future.” The theme of the Conference, “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions,” in line with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, stresses the critical need for scientific knowledge and marine technology to build ocean resilience. According to the World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Global Climate report 2021, Sea level rise, ocean heat, ocean acidification and greenhouse gas concentrations set new records in 2021, adding marine pollution is increasing at an alarming rate, and if current trends continue, more than half of the world’s marine species may be all but extinct by 2100. At the last UN Ocean Conference five years ago in New York, delegates called to reverse the decline in ocean health. Meanwhile, the failure to care for the ocean will have ripple effects across the entire UN 2030 Agenda. There is an urgent need to invest sustainably in economies that depend on the sea. The Stakeholders must invest in sustainable ocean economies for food, renewable energy, and livelihoods, through long-term funding, reminding them that out of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal number 14 has received the least support of any of the SDGs. “Sustainable ocean management could help the ocean produce as much as six times more food and generate 40 times more renewable energy than it currently does.”
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