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Momentum building ahead of 2022 UN Ocean Conference

The President of the UN General Assembly has urged attendees to ‘arrive with demonstrable evidence of progress’ in providing solutions to the current ocean crisis.

Documentaries such as ‘Seaspiracy’ and ‘A Plastic Ocean’ raised public alarm on the vitality of Earth’s oceans for humanity’s survival – a fact that marine biologists have known for years.

Though the general public is only now waking up to the atrocities taking place out at sea, The United Nations has wasted no time to try and tackle them head on.

The second offical UN Ocean Conference will take place this June 27th – July 1st in Lisbon, Portugal. It will focus on developing international governance and policies that protect our seas by enabling ocean-based markets (such as shipping and fishing) to continue thriving, as long as they adhere to sustainable practices.

A UN led program called the ‘Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development’ started its research last year and will continue its work until 2030 to offer scientific leverage for enforcing new policies around the sustainable management of our oceans.

We can only hope that the conference does more for the oceans than previous COP meetings have done for our planet, so let’s get into what we can expect from it!


Throughout the next decade, the global marine environment will be investigated from top to bottom, with focus on marine life, ecosystems, ocean currents, waves, plate tectonics and sea floor geology, as well as its chemical substances and physical properties.

The research will be useful in guiding international conservation activity that works to prevent biohazards and mitigate disaster risks.

Ocean acidification, declining marine life populations, and pollution are the most imminent threats to ocean health. Keep in mind that our seas make up 71% of the Earth surface, making them hugely important to maintaining the harmonious balance of our natural ecosystem.

Today, the ocean’s absorption of carbon dioxide emissions has risen to 31 percent, resulting in the acidification of seawater. This thrown off pH balance creates a toxic environment for marine life.

New, scientifically tested, and man-made methods forcarbon sequestration (the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) will be essential contributions to halting the acification of oceans at during the meeting.


Solutions to tackling the current plastic pollution crisis will also be a priority. While a full-scale clean-up is neither fast nor realistic – there’s now 5.25 trillion pieces of macro and microplastics in our oceans weighing up to 269,000 tons – strategic efforts to remove this will be put forward.

On top of clearing what’s already out there, it is also important for governments and official bodies to ensure that future dumping of plastic waste in our oceans is halted.

Commitment to increased funding for developing countries to improve waste collection and disposable infrastructure systems will be discussed, as well as ways to implement systems of reducing plastic use, recycling and plastic substitution in these places.

The goals of the UN are ambitious, but it’s amazing to know that the President of the UN’s General Assembly has been mobilising the scientific effort towards creating plausible solutions since as early as last year.

Read more about the details of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference here.