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Is 2021 a "Super Year" for the Ocean?
After a delay due to Covid-19, the Ocean "Super Year" is back on track. This year presents a unique opportunity to protect and improve the state of our oceans worldwide.
2021 is unique as a series of major international activities are happening which could improve the state of the world's oceans:
1. UN Ocean Conference
The United Nations Ocean Conference will provide governments with the opportunity to realise Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. The conference aims to propel science-based solutions for global action including green technology.
The conference will also look to address the threats facing our oceans, including marine litter and pollution, illegal fishing, loss of habitats and biodiversity.
2. UN Convention on Biological Diversity
The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity is a global forum for the conservation of biodiversity. This year is unique as the 15th Conference of the Parties will agree on a set of global biodiversity targets for the next decade, the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
One of these targets is set to be the 30by30 target which calls for 30% of the world's oceans to be protected by 2030.
3. World Ocean Summit
The World Ocean Summit brings together leaders in government, business, finance and society to debate and share strategies for the challenges facing our seas. This summit focused on a sustainable ocean economy in particular looking at aquaculture, fishing, energy, plastics, shipping and tourism.
4. Our Ocean Conference
The Our Ocean conference is a global conference for all individuals, experts, practitioners, lawmakers, and policy writers to share lessons learned, science and effective actions.
This year in Palau, the theme is 'Local to Global Action for Our Ocean', looking at solutions to manage marine resources, improve the ocean's resilience to climate change and safeguard it's health.
COP26 held this year in Glasgow is the United Nations Climate Change conference.
Following the Paris Agreement to reduce the global average temperature to below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels, the conference will bring together world leaders to united behind a green recovery from coronavirus.
Climate change is intrinsically linked to the ocean and all discussion at COP26 will have this in mind.
What else is happening?
Alongside these conferences and summits, 2021 marks the start of two United Nations decades, the decade for Ocean Science and Sustainable Development and the decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Both of these provide a huge opportunity for us to get to know the ocean better and to restore it to a fully functioning biosphere.
But it's not just international events. In the UK, the first Highly Protected Marine Areas in English waters will be implemented. These highly protected areas should allow for full ecosystem recovery as all types of extraction will be banned.
Why is Ocean Recovery important?
Our oceans provide us with life. Science has shown us that life first started in the ocean, and it continues to support us with oxygen, food, energy and carbon storage.
The marine environment is a completely different realm to terrestrial environments, and marine plants and species do not respect boundaries and borders.
This is a beautiful thing as they travel all around the globe, but it can also have a negative impact as our plastic waste, our pollution and harvesting of the oceans resources are felt globally.
A piece of plastic dropped into the ocean in Blackpool could make it's way to Brisbane just through ocean currents.
Help us spread the word
This is why 2021 is so important for the recovery of our oceans. If our leaders can come together to protect our seas we won't just be helping marine plants and species, but future generations.
It's not just our leaders who can make a real change. Reduce your carbon footprint and remove plastic from your life. Please share this information with your friends and family.
Did you know about the "Super Year" for the Ocean? Let us know in the comments.