A healthy ocean critical to fighting poverty and achieving the SDGs: UNDP at the first ever Ocean Conference

Jun 4, 2017

Photo: Lise Carne

New York—The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will join the historic Ocean Conference in New York this week (5-9 June) to highlight the direct link between a healthy ocean and ending poverty.

The ocean supports the livelihoods of an estimated one in every ten people on the planet, including some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. It is also the main source of protein for four-out-of-ten people in the world.

But the ocean is in serious trouble, with 40% of it heavily affected by human activity, including through pollution, over-fishing and loss of coastal habitats.

Without a healthy ocean, we won’t achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – the ambitious global goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for everyone by 2030.

The first-of-its-kind Ocean Conference will see political leaders, governments, NGOs, the private sector, United Nations agencies and others come together to agree on urgent action to restore the health of our ocean.

The event will refocus global efforts to achieve the targets under Sustainable Development Goal 14: to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

The world has previously agreed that the challenges facing our ocean – including pollution, overfishing, coastal habitat loss and acidification – are so urgent that many of the targets need to be achieved by 2020, a decade earlier than many other SDGs.


UNDP media opportunities at the Ocean Conference include:

Sunday, 4 June: A UNDP boat will join the flotilla for New York City Council’s Ocean Festival, followed by a launch of joint publication ‘Sea My Life: Protecting Oceans, Sustaining our Future’, by UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Monday, 5 June: UNDP side events including on the ‘Blue Economy’ and sustainable development in Small Island Development States; and protecting coastal ecosystems, 11am-12:30pm, Conference Room A, UN headquarters

Tuesday, 6 June: Launch of month-long photo exhibition, ‘Waves of Action’ in the United Nations headquarters foyer; and side event ‘How are partnerships transforming shipping to achieve SDG 14’, including the launch of a publication on 20 years of cooperation on greening the shipping industry, ‘The GloBallast story: Reflections from a Global Family’, by UNDP, GEF and the International Maritime Organization, 6:15pm-7:30pm, Conference Room 11

Wednesday, 7 June: A special announcement with UNDP advocate, Australian musician Cody Simpson; and launch of documentary ‘Urban Bay’, exploring the underwater world of Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay, 12pm-2:30pm, Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York

Thursday, 8 June: Special performance by Cody Simpson at the World Oceans Day event in the UN General Assembly; and a side event, ‘Accelerating SDG implementation through impact assessment on SDG 14, with the Government of Seychelles, Government of Grenada and Equator Prize-winning community, 5pm-6:15pm, Conference Room B

Friday, 9 June: Side event on ocean and coastal governance to speed up implementation of the SDGs, 3pm-4:30pm, Conference Room B

For more information or interviews with UNDP ocean experts at the conference, or working in other regions or countries, contact Sangita Khadka, sangita.khadka@undp.org or +1 917 530 8980 (cell)

For interviews with musician and UNDP advocate Cody Simpson, contact Ajla Grozdanic, ajla.grozdanic@undp.org or +1 212 906 6860 (office)


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