World Oceans Day 2019 focussed on ‘Gender and Oceans’

By Stop Illegal Fishing:3rd Jul, 2019: Approach

World Oceans Day 2019 drew attention to the issues of gender and the oceans and underlined the need to confront gender inequality in order to achieve the gender and ocean-related goals (Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 9 respectively) and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Mr. Serpa Soares, Undersecretary General and Legal Counsel of the UN, delivered opening remarks and a message on behalf of the Secretary-General at the United Nations World Oceans Day celebratory event, which was held at the United Nations Headquarters on Friday, 7 June 2019. During his remarks Mr. Soares introduced the “Gender and the Ocean” theme and emphasized the importance of providing everybody with equal opportunities to contribute to, and benefit from, the ocean. The Secretary-General’s World Oceans Day message underscored the high levels of women employed in the fisheries sector, and the disproportionate impact that the effects of pollution and climate change on the oceans have on women.

Delivering the opening keynote address, Ms. Judith Swan, the initiator of World Oceans Day and longstanding member of Stop Illegal Fishing, drew attention to the threats facing ocean health and the need for clear, immediate and long-lasting solutions.  She said, “A world of gender equal ocean caretakers has a better chance to create and implement solutions that will address these changes and benefit humankind and the planet.”

“We need to make the impossible possible for women and girls; to open their pathways, ignite their interest and ensure their equal opportunities and conditions for leadership in all areas of ocean stewardship, including the advancement of ocean-related resource and environmental management, laws, policies, science, culture, technology, exploration, industries and communications.  They must be empowered to take leading roles in piloting institutional and stakeholder support for and participation in ocean stewardship worldwide.”

Ms. Sandy Davies, from Stop Illegal Fishing noted that; “While Stop Illegal Fishing has historically focused largely on industrial illegal fishing, which is largely done by men, the impacts are felt by women the world over through the damage to fish stocks and marine habitats, and the diversion of the fish supply chain away from coastal communities towards third party commercial processing. As Judith noted, promoting opportunities for women and girls within public and private sectors engaged in the ocean is essential, this is an issue that is also strongly promoted by Stop Illegal Fishing’s Chairperson, Ms. Elsa Patria and all the Stop Illegal Fishing team.”

 

Judith Swan’s full speech can be downloaded here.

 

About World Oceans Day

The origins of World Oceans Day trace back to June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) – also known as the Earth Summit. An unprecedented 178 governments were on hand to adopt Agenda 21, a global partnership for sustainable development that included a focus on the oceans. World Oceans Day is an annual celebration on June 8 as well as a call for ocean conservation action throughout the year. Starting in 2009, World Oceans Day has also been officially recognized by the United Nations. This celebration of our ocean brings together organizations and individuals from schools, universities, aquariums, zoos, businesses, and others, including divers, surfers, sailors, communities of faith, governments, the maritime, recreational and tourism industries.

Find out more about the history of Word Oceans Day here, or to find out more about ongoing activities visit: www.WorldOceansDay.org.

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