Oceans: the 13th Sustainable Development Goal? Can we afford to ignore two-thirds of the earth?

On Thursday, June 20th, H.E. Ambassador Stuart Beck, Permanent Representative of Palau, H.E. Ambassador Gary Quinlan, Permanent Representative of Australia, Ghislaine Maxwell of the TerraMar Project, and Amir Dossal, Chairman of the Global Partnership Forum, hosted an informal meeting at the United Nations, to discuss the best ways to incorporate issues related to the oceans into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The attendees ranged from UN ambassadors, NGO and business leaders, academics, and civil society representatives to form a multi-stakeholder dialogue. In addition to the more than sixty people in attendance, including many Perm Reps (nearly 25 missions were present) the discussion was broadcast live on the UN’s WebTV.

Ambassador Beck stated, “We are at a historic moment – eighteen months from now, the United Nations will launch the Sustainable Development Goals.  This is a framework that will define the relationship between people and our planet for the coming generation.”

The meeting initiated conversation onthe issue of oceans in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, and to build consensus for creating a new goal for the Oceans.  This would be an addition to the 12 goals proposed by High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 agenda. Many attendees welcomed this important discussion, noting that oceans must be included in the SDG consultation process and require multi-stakeholder engagement and partnerships in orderto best incorporate healthy and productive oceans into the Sustainable Development Goals.  Ambassador Quinlan echoed his support for the initiative, and pointed out that in light of the existing consultation process, discussions would have to be handled appropriately.

Speakers from Ideapod, Google, and the Global Oceans Forum, to name a few,agreed on the need to protect oceans and expressed interest in continuing the conversation with other members of civil society to promote discussion on oceans as an SDG.  All in all, participants felt this was a very good start and agreed on the need for continued exchange of ideas on how best to robustly, yet elegantly, move this process forward.

The Global Partnerships Forum is privileged to be part of this exciting initiative.

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