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The UN follows up on the Ocean Conference Voluntary Commitments for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14
H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly
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7 Sep 2017 - In June 2017, at The Ocean Conference, 193 Member States of the United Nations committed to a set of ambitious measures that will begin the reversal of the decline of the ocean’s health. The Conference outcome document - Our Ocean, Our Future: Call for Action - together with close to 1,400 voluntary commitments for concrete action made by governments, the United Nations system, civil society organizations, academia, the scientific community, and the private sector, marked a global breakthrough in the management and conservation of the ocean, and for advancing implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14).

As many of the targets under SDG 14 are set for the year 2020, time is of the essence. To spur implementation of the voluntary commitments on SDG 14, the United Nations is organizing a series of global webinars which will provide a virtual platform where all actors can share updates on the implementation of their voluntary commitments and share lessons learned and best practices.

Over 50 participants from governments, UN system and other stakeholders took part in the first webinar held on 7 September 2017, which had a focus on arrangements for following up on voluntary commitments, establishing action communities among stakeholders, and hearing updates from participants on commitments related to mangroves.

Addressing the webinar, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly recalled that Goal 14 has received a much-needed push from the international community at The Ocean Conference, held just three months ago, in New York. The President was encouraged to dialogue with the mangrove community at the webinar, and looked forward to support and work with the wider ocean community in driving the implementation for the health of our oceans, leading up to the next anticipated Ocean Conference in 2020.

Many participants provided updates on the status of their mangrove related voluntary commitments in the open dialogue, including from the International Blue Carbon initiative, the Blue Carbon Code of Conduct, the Biodiversity Conservation, Coastal, Ocean Clean-up and Protection initiative, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area Conservation Trust, the Sustainable Solutions Oceans Opportunity on Small Island States, the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM), and the Conservation Science Institute, among others.

In closing, Mr. Juwang Zhu, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, UN-DESA, mentioned that additional webinars will be organized regularly in the lead-up to the High-level Political Forum in July 2018 – the UN’s central platform for reviewing progress towards all 17 SDGs. Summaries will be published online on the Voluntary Commitments Registry web-page: https://oceanconference.un.org/commitments/

For more information, contact Ola Goransson at the Division for Sustainable Development of UN DESA: goranssono@un.org
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