Ban Ki-moon: Help secure a living ocean, food and prosperity – propose a new agreement for high seas protection in September 2014
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations
I know that you are personally committed to ocean health and protection.
I do not need to remind you that the ocean supplies the oxygen in every second breath we take, or that billions of us rely on it for food, fresh water, energy, transport and medicine, or that it covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and supports all life on Earth.
And as valuable resources such as medicines will increasingly come from the deep sea in the future, I am sure you agree we must ensure marine resources are protected and managed responsibly and fairly, and that we all benefit, including future generations.
Three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods. Marine and coastal resources are worth US$3 trillion a year around 5% of the worlds GDP and worldwide, 350 million jobs are linked to the ocean while 97% of fishers live in developing countries.
Scientists are telling us that we are pushing our ocean system to the point of collapse, and without proper governance, we are putting food security, global prosperity, and our own health and livelihoods at risk.
I understand that the UN General Assembly is to take a decision on whether to negotiate a new agreement on high seas protection at its session starting on September 24, 2014.
I support the many States that have already called for the adoption of an implementing agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that supports the restoration of ocean productivity, guards against irresponsible exploitation, prioritises ocean health, enhances equitable sharing of benefits, and allows for the creation of marine protected areas on the high seas to replenish fish stocks.
In your opening address to world leaders at the General Assembly in September, please add my voice to those of millions of others who want to empower you and the members of the United Nations to open negotiations for the sustainable use and conservation of the high seas.
Its time we took proper care of our ocean. Please call for a new agreement for high seas protection and ocean health.