UN conference has heightened awareness of ocean issues: GA president

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Peter Thomson (left). UN Photo/Evan Schneider

A UN conference held this week has raised the bar on global awareness about the state of the planet's oceans.

That's the assessment of General Assembly president Peter Thomson, speaking to journalists in New York on Friday, the final day of the Ocean Conference.

Dianne Penn reports.

The conference was held to support implementation on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which calls for conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources to benefit both present and future generations.

Governments, civil society, the private sector and others registered more than 1,200 commitments to improve ocean health.

UN General Assembly president Peter Thomson said he was "100 per cent satisfied” with the results.

"One thing that I'm sure of is that from this conference onwards, nobody can say 'Oh, we weren't aware of how bad it was.  We weren't aware that ocean acidification was killing life in the ocean. We weren't aware that there's going to be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. We weren't aware that so many of our fish species are now about to go extinct because of us all being criminals eating fish that is from either stolen sources or from overfished sources…We can no longer use plastic bags and throw them in a trash can and not expect that that's not going to end up in the sea inside a fish and in inside of us, eventually…The bar has been raised on global consciousness and awareness of the problems in the ocean."

The conference will conclude with a Call for Action which lists more than 20 specific measures to galvanize global commitment to improve ocean health by 2030, the SDG deadline.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’30″

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