Monday 20 June, Auckland.
Top sportspeople and ocean communities commit to using their platform for a healthy ocean.
Sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are launching a commitment by leading sportspeople and ocean communities at SailGP’s Chicago Grand Prix this weekend, before presenting it to UN Ocean Conference leaders later this month.
The Live Ocean Voices For A Healthy Ocean declaration has been signed by local leaders including former Prime Minister Helen Clark, master navigator Hoturoa Barclay Kerr and Lady Pippa Blake as well sportspeople from Mahe Drysdale and Gustav Legansky to John John Florence, Ana Ivanovic, Jimmy Spithill, Romain Troublé, and Hannah Mills.
The conference, hosted by the governments of Kenya and Portugal, will run from June 27 to July 1 in Lisbon and will be attended by heads of government and state, together with leaders from the private sector and the scientific community. Gathering for the first time in five years, they will chart a new course to ensure the protection and conservation of the ocean and its resources to avert catastrophic consequences for the planet.
Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean says, “Thousands of solutions exist to help restore the health of the ocean, but it will require all-hands-on-deck, with commitment from our leaders through to every one of us for communal action to make these solutions succeed. It is very encouraging to see sportspeople and ocean communities step up to the challenge and show the way by word and deed.”
Voices for a Healthy Ocean signatories will commit to start conversations, raise awareness, and share stories to recognise the key role that the ocean plays in addressing climate change, share an integrated vision for all water, champion knowledge held by indigenous peoples and coastal communities, raise awareness on protecting and restoring ocean ecosystems and support solutions working to meet SDG14 – life below water and SDG6 – clean water and sanitation.
Tuke says, “Protecting and restoring the ocean is one of the biggest challenges of our time, with many of the issues the ocean faces out of sight. We are encouraging people to step up and use their voice to champion the ocean by starting conversations and sharing knowledge with their communities. We urgently need to change the trajectory for the health of the ocean.”
Burling says, “The ocean is our largest carbon sink and our greatest ally in the fight against climate change, we need to start prioritizing it. Working together we can create a healthy and productive ocean that contributes to a healthy future. It’s time for action.”
Live Ocean Foundation Chief Executive Sally Paterson says “The science is clear the ocean is changing very rapidly but both attitudes and policy aren’t keeping pace. The people who have signed this declaration have platforms of their own to move this conversation forward with urgency and ambition.”
Photo credit: Zico O’Neill-Rutene