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At the UN Ocean Conference: a call for an intergovernmental panel on ocean governance.

06-14-2017 09:30 AM CET | Energy & Environment

Press release from: Nippon Foundation

At the UN Ocean Conference: a call for an intergovernmental panel

New York - The recent U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has increased the urgency to protect the world's oceans and its resources even more. A recent announcement at the UN this week on a new initiative and funding commitments by the Nippon Foundation may help.

Ever since records were kept from the late 18th century, atmospheric CO2 levels have risen almost 40% with average global temperatures up by almost one degree Celsius. Resultant effects are seen in rapidly increasing loss of polar sea ice, acidification of our oceans, warming, and coral bleaching.

The UN Ocean Conference was held in New York from June 5th to June 9th where delegates from 193 Member States gathered to discuss the future of the world's oceans.

The current working frameworks within the UN makes it difficult to address ocean issues from a comprehensive, global perspective. With each of the nine UN organizations working in ocean-related areas - including the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) - each operate under its own set of treaties, agreements, and protocols.

The IMO, for example, has over 50 conventions under which it operates but no enforcement authority. Similarly for fishing rights, there is the FAO with little ability to practically combat or dissuade illegal fishing practices.

For over 30 years, the Nippon Foundation funding and training initiatives on the world's ocean resources have trained up over 1,200 ocean experts from 140 countries around the globe. This extensive experience led the foundation to propose not just the need for a new framework to govern ocean resources but also the funding to help launch a new intergovernmental panel that would address this need.

Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, proposed that the United Nations establish an intergovernmental panel for comprehensive ocean governance. Such a panel would serve under the UN Secretary General and initiatives communicated through the UN General Assembly via the Secretary General. He further proposed a fund to support the establishment and operations of such an interrgovernmental panel.

"The seas of the world are in the state of crisis" Sasakawa indicated in this statement to the UN; "there has not a second left for us to spare."

Nippon Foundation

The ocean is essential to human life.

Today, however, the world's seas and oceans face a variety of problems, including pollution, kidnapping and piracy, and the depletion of marine food resources.

Resolving these problems requires human resources to tackle these issues.
Even if there are people and organizations who share this sense of crisis for the future of our ocean, they are not able to work together and effectively realize their full potential.

We are cultivating people to clear the future for the world's oceans, while at the same time building a foundation that connects these people and organizations, to pass on the ocean's riches to future generations.

The Nippon Foundation
The Nippon Zaidan Building
1-2-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku Tokyo 107-8404, Japan
TEL : +81-3-6229-5111 FAX : +81-3-6229-5110
email :

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