“Let’s be all the champions the ocean needs” – António Guterres

“If we work together, this is a race we can win. Let’s be all the champions the ocean needs. Let’s put an end to the crisis in the ocean and preserve this precious blue gift for our children and grandchildren,” the UN chief urged.

The secretary-general was speaking at the Mindelo Ocean Science Center in San Vicente, a state-of-the-art facility that houses massive marine science equipment such as deep-sea exploration robots, as well as state-of-the-art electronics workshops and laboratories.

The building that hosted the Summit participants on Monday morning embodies Cape Verde’s commitment to revitalizing the archipelago’s blue economy.

Looking out at the huge gates that open to the harbor – the same harbor that allowed many Cape Verdeans to leave in search of a better life – the Prime Minister said the ocean view had long inspired feelings of nostalgia and melancholy.

Today, Ulisses Correia e Silva explained, “it represents activities such as tourism, desalinated water, blue economy, submarine fiber optic cables, clean energy, biotechnology, aquaculture, canning industry for export, skills center and maritime.Ocean Race “.

A view of the coast of Cape Verde, which depends on the ocean for its survival

“The ocean is a matter of survival”

Addressing UN newsChristina Duarte, United Nations Special Adviser on Africa, noted that 99.3% of the country’s territory consists of water.

Ms. Duarte, a Cape Verdean native who served as the country’s Minister of Finance, Planning and Public Administration from 2006 to 2016, said: “We could be more ocean creatures than land creatures.” “For Cape Verde, the oceans are a matter of survival.”

“So its protection [doit se faire] in the context of natural resource management, because we have to take from it the resources that Cape Verde needs to develop. Protect it, but remember that the ocean is an economic resource for Cape Verde,” Ms. Duarte explained.

Race for the ocean

L’Ocean Race It started in 1973 and takes sailors to a race around the world every three to four years.

For the past four decades, as activist Danny Washington pointed out during Monday’s summit, crews have been content to walk between these islands they see from afar. If they were sometimes saved by the Cape Verdeans, the race never stopped in the archipelago.

On Friday evening, the country became the first West African country in the history of the competition to host a stop.

Speaking at the summit, Race Chairman Richard Brisius assured the UN Secretary-General of the participants’ commitment to the work of the oceans. “We all belong to your teamOcean Race “he said. “We are ocean people. We take care of the ocean and we do our best with passion.”

For his part, Mr. Guterres praised “the awe-inspiring courage of the men and women around the world who take part in this grueling six-month race.”

In addition, he said, it is encouraging to know that each boat carries special equipment to collect scientific data to ensure a healthy ocean in the future.

The Secretary-General signs a mural dedicated to the Ocean Race in Mindelo, Cape Verde.

The Secretary-General signs a mural dedicated to the Ocean Race in Mindelo, Cape Verde.

A key resource at risk

For the UN Secretary General, the Summit also sounded the alarm: “The ocean is life. The ocean is a means of living. And the ocean is in trouble.”

The UN chief explained that about 35% of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited, global warming is driving ocean temperatures to new highs, causing more frequent and intense storms, sea level rise, and salinization of coastal soils and aquifers. causes.

“Meanwhile, toxic chemicals and millions of tons of plastic waste inundate coastal ecosystems – killing or injuring fish, sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, moving up the food chain before finally being consumed by us,” Mr Guterres explained. . .

According to UN estimates, there could be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

From super year to super action

In this context, the Secretary General believes that the world has taken important steps to prevent this trend in the last year.

These developments include the “historic agreement” in Nairobi to negotiate a globally binding treaty to control plastic pollution, as well as the UN Ocean Conference and the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity in Lisbon, where countries made hundreds of new commitments and voluntary commitments. In Montreal, it ended with an agreement between countries to protect 30% of terrestrial, aquatic, coastal and marine ecosystems by 2030.

“Some have called 2022 a ‘super year’ for the ocean. But the race is far from over. We must make 2023 the year of “super action” so that we can end the ocean emergency once and for all,” Guterres said.

According to the UN chief, the world needs urgent action in four fundamental ways: a sustainable maritime industry; massive support to developing countries; victory in the fight against climate change; and finally, the application of science, technology and innovation on an unprecedented scale.

Referring to the financial sector, Mr. Guterres said that “developing countries are victims of a morally bankrupt global financial system built by rich countries for the benefit of rich countries.”

“Prejudices are built into the system. It routinely denies developing countries – particularly vulnerable middle-income countries and small island developing states like Cape Verde – the concessional financing and debt relief they need,” he said.

António Guterres has called on ocean industries to follow suit to combat climate change.Ocean Race and limit their carbon footprint. As an example, he said the shipping sector should commit to net zero emissions by 2050 and submit credible plans to achieve this.

Antonio Guterres receives a first-hand witness of the struggle for the survival of the oceans brought to Cape Verde during the stopover of the Ocean Race competitors in the archipelago.

Antonio Guterres receives a first-hand witness of the struggle for the survival of the oceans brought to Cape Verde during the stopover of the Ocean Race competitors in the archipelago.

Closing the event, the UN chief took part in the Relay4Nature ceremony, accepting the baton that will begin a world tour in May 2021 to call on world leaders to radically increase their ambitions to protect the seas.

The symbolic initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, was entrusted to political leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and celebrities such as Jason Momoa before arriving by boat from Alicante to Cape Verde. , Spain, in the hands of Malizia team captain Boris Herrmann.

Holding the iconic baton, the secretary-general said it represented “a generation that has betrayed the oceans in a big way”.

Before handing it over to Odara dos Santos Brito, a student at Liceu Jorge Barbosa in São Vicente, Guterres said, “Undo the mistakes we’ve made, save the oceans, defeat climate change, save the planet and save us all.”

Accepting the baton, the young Cape Verdean did not hesitate. “We accept that commitment,” he said.

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