The session began this afternoon with introductory remarks from the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden, Ambassador Per Thoresson, and H.E Ambassador Mahe Uli’ Uli Sandhurst Tupouniu, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Tonga, both highlighting the necessity to protect global marine resources for sustainable development and finding the role of governments to achieve SDG 14.
Ambassador Per Thoresson, welcomed the panelist, and the new Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden as the keynote speaker.
Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin in her presentation addressed the problem of lost fishing gear in Sweden and in the Baltic sea, highlighting that lost fishing gear is a major pollutant in oceans (microplastics) affecting marine life and reduces fish stock. Less fish means fishermen will spend more time fishing and some will fish illegally. She also said that Sweden is leading several initiatives to address lost fishing gear in the Baltic Sea and introducing drifting nets to decrease the flow of plastic waste into the sea. The Deputy Prime Minister reiterated that multi-stakeholder platforms are very necessary to push this agenda to significantly reduce marine debris as offered by SDG 14. She concluded by saying that if we all assume shared responsibilities and work together, it will be possible to solve the problems worldwide.
Elizabeth Hogan of the World Animal Protection introduced a project that she works on called Sea-change. She said that approximately 640000 tons of fishing gear has been abandoned in the oceans, and they persist in marine environments for over 600 years. She also reiterated that it is important to get the lost fishing gear out of the oceans to protect marine species and reduce wildlife entanglement which is causing a decline in marine biodiversity. She talked about the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), which provides a cross-sectoral multi-stakeholder framework committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide.
Meeting: Special event on “Implementing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2030 Agenda: The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) – Protecting oceans and marine animals”
Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, 08 June 2016, 1:15pm – 2:45pm / Conference Room 6
Speakers: Ambassador Mahe Uli’ Uli Sandhurst Tupouniu, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Tonga to the United Nations, Ambassador Per Thoresson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations, Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, Sweden (Keynote address), Elizabeth Hogan, World Animal Protection Sea Change Campaign Manager (Briefing on ghost gear initiative progress and call for support), Respondents: Permanent Mission of Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Palau, the Kingdom of Thailand and Vanuatu
Written By: Fred Talah, WIT Representative
Summary By: Modou Cham, WIT, Administrator