General Assembly commemorates 30 years of Law of the Sea convention

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Floods in Bangladesh (Copyright:WFP/Bangladesh)

It is ironic that people know more about outer space than the oceans, the "blue lungs of the planet."

That observation comes from Tommy Koh, President of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, speaking on Monday in the General Assembly.

Ambassadors met to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Mr. Koh said although oceans play a role in regulating the world's climate, global warming has made them warmer and more acidic which will have a devastating impact on coral reefs and marine biodiversity.

"Another impact of global warming and climate change is rising sea levels. The problem is not theoretical. It is real! Low-lying countries such as Bangladesh and island countries such as the Maldives and those in the South Pacific are already experiencing the loss of land to a rising sea. The members of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) have made a compelling case, and we should listen more attentively to them. If the sea levels continue to rise, millions of people will have to leave their home and become ecological refugees."

Mr. Koh called for a strengthening of knowledge about the oceans and their management, including through new research on laws and policies.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’34″

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