In celebration of World Oceans Day, a global campaign is being launched by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and partners to invite people from all walks of life, to volunteer to take action and continue the momentum towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water.
The new Ocean Action Campaign announcement was made today, on the occasion of the one year anniversary of the first-ever global UN conference dedicated to the ocean, held in 2017 in New York City, co-hosted by the Governments of Sweden and Fiji. The new campaign will steer volunteers to foster local actions and initiatives to #SaveOurOcean. The Ocean Action Hub, a public interactive knowledge platform created by UNDP and Sweden in support of The Ocean Conference, will host the campaign.
Ambassador Olof Skoog, the Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations said, "We really appreciate the new UNDP campaign, engaging volunteers around the world to push for more commitments on SDG14. The focus on volunteers highlights that we all have a responsibility to make changes to our habits and consumption patterns. This is why we at the Swedish UN Mission have made a commitment to step up our environmental efforts. We will minimize the use of single use plastics and challenge others to do the same. Several other UN Missions have already joined the initiative. All actions count."
The key objectives of the campaign are to boost the implementation of existing voluntary commitments pledged at the 2017 Ocean Conference and the number of new commitments to help achieve SDG 14. To date, over 1,400 voluntary commitments from governments, multilaterals, local communities, companies, academia and civil society organizations have been registered.
“We also want to emphasize that the importance of fulfilling voluntary commitments made during the Ocean Conference last year. And I would also like to highlight that the list is not closed. There is still opportunity for stakeholders to announce pledges on the protection of our oceans, and what better day to do so than the Ocean Day?” Ambassador Skoog further stated.
Ocean covers nearly three quarters of the Earth’s surface and contributes substantially to human development, provision of food security, transport, energy supply, tourism and many of the planet’s most critical needs, including climate regulation and oxygen production. Yet, today it is estimated that 40 percent of our oceans are heavily affected by unsustainable practices, including over-fishing, land-based sources of pollution, habitat destruction, invasive species and climate change, particularly ocean acidification.
SDG-14 targets are very ambitious and likely to be missed by many countries if a big push does not take place globally by both countries and individuals as many targets of the goal have a deadline of 2020.
The Ocean Action Hub has a global membership of over 315,000 participants. Humanity’s ability to understand the critical role of our ocean for people and the planet, and the power of human action in reversing the degradation of ocean ecosystems, will be key to achieving a sustainable future.
The Ocean Action Campaign will be implemented with support from volunteers registered on the Ocean Action Hub and online volunteers assigned through the UNV Online Volunteering service. A core group of volunteers will work closely with UNDP in connecting local organizations and interested individuals with the Ocean Action Hub to register their ocean actions in the Voluntary Commitments registery. Other volunteers will be working online, boosting the registration and creation of new SDG14 voluntary commitments.
Volunteers can help in unlimited ways, including inter alia by sharing relevant information on the ocean and the SDG 14 with their school, offices, neighborhoods; and by assisting local organizations and communities to take action and share their activities through the Ocean Action Hub.