‘The world is sitting on an ocean time bomb’

The Sustainable Development Goals Advisory Unit under the Office of the President is set to host the maiden edition of the National Blue Summit from 31st May to 1st June, 2023 in Accra.

The objective of the Summit is to raise awareness on the need to urgently address the critical challenges facing the ocean and to highlight the immense opportunities that our ocean offers for the country’s transformation.

The Project, which is under President Akufo-Addo, is in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, the Embassy of Norway and the United Nations Development Program. It will be held under the theme: “Our Oceans, Our Prosperity, Our Planet’s Security”.

Addressing the media at the launch of the summit in Accra yesterday, the Special Advisor to the President on the SDGS, Dr. Eugene Owusu, stated that the ocean plays an essential role in the daily lives of everyone on this planet and it contributes more than $1.5 trillion a year to the global economy.

Despite these myriad benefits, Mr. Owusu bemoaned that the world is sitting on an ocean time bomb and the clock is ticking, thus the ocean faces a crisis of monumental proportions as a result of over-exploitation and degradation.

“Overfishing, pollution, climate change and other pressures are taking a heavy toll on our oceans and coastal ecosystems, threatening the livelihoods and well-being of millions of people, not just in this our beloved country but around the world.

He further added that the ocean health and productivity are declining at an alarming rate and this poses an existential threat to the ocean and humanity as a whole.

“Our world needs a new ocean agenda, anchored in the recognition that the blue economy should be a catalyst for sustainable development, providing new opportunities for economic growth and job creation 4, while ensuring the long-term health and resilience of our ocean and coastal ecosystems.” Mr. Eugene Owusu opined.

This recognition, according to him, has led to the establishment of a High Level Panel (HLP) on a Sustainable Ocean Economy, of which our President is one of the Founding members.

He stated, “The HLP on a Sustainable Ocean Economy is made up of 17 Heads of State and Governments, who are championing a new ocean agenda to build momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy in which effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity goes hand-in-hand.”

The Resident of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Ghana, Dr. Angela Lusigi reinstated in her address that the summit is a huge opportunity to move forward on a very important agenda for Ghana and the world, which is a sustainable ocean economy that advances a more prosperous and resilient future for people and the planet.

She emphasised on how proud the UNDP is to support the Government of Ghana and partners in hosting the Summit because it will provide a golden opportunity to have thought provoking discussions and further lead to meaningful, practical and bold actions to save our oceans.

Their contribution is anchored in the goals of UNDP’s Strategic Plan (2022-2025) towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

According to Dr. Angela Lusigi, this includes a global plastics offer, which seeks to ensure 100 countries have improved plastics regulations and implementation; 100 cities and islands have effective plastic waste management plans and use reduction strategies and 100 million people are mobilised to take action on plastic pollution.

She concluded by saying that her outfit is confidence that this strategic summit will enable stakeholders to come up with a society approach and foster the partnerships and resources required to achieve significant plastics pollution reduction, prevent marine litter and improve the health of the oceans.


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