Protecting the oceans is among the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the blueprint for a more just and equitable world adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations in September 2015.
SDG 14 on conserving and sustainably using marine resources is the springboard for the Ocean Conference, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June.
The meeting is especially relevant to Caribbean countries, according to Juan Miguel Diez, Director of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) for the region.
“The Ocean Conference is a dream come true for us in the Caribbean,” he said. “It brings together SDG 14, but also the rest of the SDGs, and provides us with an amazing opportunity to continue to do our work to raise awareness about this particular goal, but also to bring stakeholders together.”
The UNIC is based in Trinidad and Tobago, home to nearly 1.4 million people whose existence is tied to the sea, as Neila Bobb Prescott of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) field office in the capital, Port of Spain, explained.
Trinidad and Tobago is blessed with a particular phenomenon in that in our authority or geographic area, the ocean is 15 times greater than the land. We have so many livelihoods impacted by the health of the marine system, so hence we need to pay attention to it,”
Chief Technical Advisor- FAO
“We may not be the conventional sun, sea and sand people, but the marine resource is where you will find our oil and gas fields as well where you will find the endangered and threatened species around the island.”
Although the twin island nation moves to the beat of calypso, soca and other pulsating rhythms, it is oil and natural gas exports which power the economy. The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) estimates they account for as much as 60 per cent of gross domestic product.
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