The panel discussion entitled “Clean Our Oceans: Youth and Innovation” marked the celebration of the World Oceans Day 2018. It highlighted the important roles of youth and innovation in addressing solutions towards cleaning our oceans. The panel began with the speech delivered by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. She emphasized the inclusion of youth in ocean conservation through ways such as accepting young volunteers on cleaning the ocean. Concurring with it, Ms Swetha Stotra Bhashyam stressed that innovative approaches must be taken to combat ocean pollution.
During the discussion, speakers expressed their concerns about the deteriorating ocean ecosystem and introduced their own specific projects. Mr Sam Teicher alerted the audience to the vanishing global coral communities, in which his team Coral Vita has been dedicated to the restoration of global degraded and threatened reefs. Ms Lea d’Auriol and Mr. Peter Malinowski, both founders of outreach education programs, outlined the significance of changing people’s mindsets as well as daily behaviors. The young innovator, Ms Angelique Pouponneau from the Seychelles, called for greater international attention to the problem of non-local ocean waste. From a broader point of view, Mr. Cyril Gustch argued that plastic products should be re-designed with more eco-friendly materials.
All speakers agreed that new policies should be adopted. Some suggested to impose tighter restrictions on polluters, such as banning single-use plastics and waste water. Some called for a sound legal framework or recruitment of marine police to strictly monitor oceans’ misconducts. Regarding governments’ responsibilities, the speakers lodged appeals to abolish subsidies on polluting industries. In the final remarks, Mr. Cody Simpson demanded more incentives for youths to maintain the momentum of ocean conservation. Mr. Peter Thompson at last reiterated that any countries on the planet should never understate the problem of ocean pollution.
Meeting: Discussion Panel entitled “Clean Our Oceans: Innovation and Youth” in observance of World Oceans Day (organized by the Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs)
Date/Location: Friday, June 8th, 2018; 15:00-18:00; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY.
Mr Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel;
Ms Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth;
Ms Swetha Stotra Bhashyam, United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth;
Ms Juliette Babb-Riley, Co-Chair, Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects;
Mr Sam Teicher, Founder and Chief Reef Officer, Coral Vita;
Ms Lea d’Auriol, Founder, Oceanic Global;
Ms Angelique Pouponneau, Co-Founder, SIDS Youth AIMS Hub – Seychelles;
Mr Peter Malinowski, Executive Director, Billion Oyster Project;
Mr Cyril Gutsch, Founder, Parley for the Oceans;
Mr Cody Simpson, United Nations Development Programme Ocean Advocate;
Mr Peter Thomson, Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Oceans.
Written By: WIT Representatives Vivian Wang and Lau Chun Ki