New York, 8 June 2016 – At a special event marking World Oceans Day 2016 with the arrival of the Hōkūleʻa voyaging canoe in New York, Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and Mr. Cyrill Gutsch, Founder of Parley for the Oceans announced collaboration between the two organisations with a special invitation to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to rally together to adopt the Parley A.I.R. Strategy (Avoid, Intercept, Redesign) and join the movement to eradicate one of the biggest threats to the marine ecosystem: plastic pollution and set a tone of unity and action towards The Ocean Conference to be held at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Small islands continue to count on the support of the international community, including the private sector, to ensure that the vast ocean spaces and rich marine resource for which they are custodians of remain healthy.” Said Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. “Through this announcement we hope that when we meet next year for The Ocean Conference, some on-the-ground concrete action would already be showcased by SIDS thereby encouraging the global community to follow their lead.”
“Through this partnership, Parley aims to bring the unique challenges facing small island developing states to a global audience, alongside the most promising and crucial step towards solutions: collaboration. Maldives and Grenada have already stepped up to the Parley A.I.R. Pledge. With each country that joins the movement, we will work together to implement comprehensive strategies towards a plastic-free oceans. In the process, we will protect not only the beauty of the oceans, but also the life and cultures they unite and support — now and for generations to come”, said Cyrill Gutsch, Founder Parley for the Oceans.
The announcement of collaboration by the two organisations emanated from discussions held on the margins of the Blue Week 2016: The International Conference to Promote Blue Growth and Investment in St. George’s, Grenada, May 14-22 and is also linked to the SIDS-Global Business Network, recently launched by UN-OHRLLS to link SIDS with international companies in partnering for the sustainable development of islands.
The event on the banks of the East River, welcomed the voyagers from Hawaii, traveling the world using only traditional methods of navigation, presented the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with ocean protection declarations collected on their 25,000 nautical mile journey. The crew also returned a message in a bottle, which had been handed to them by the Secretary General when they visited the 2014 Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa.
In highlighting the challenges currently faced by the oceans, the Secretary-General stressed that “…urgent action on a global scale is needed to alleviate the world’s oceans from the many pressures they currently face, and to protect them from future ones that may tip them beyond the limits of their carrying capacity.”
The event highlighted the importance of healthy oceans which are innately linked to the sustainable development of small island developing States. So vital is the exerted influence of the oceans over islands that they impact directly on a spectrum of island issues that cut across the three pillars of sustainable development. Indeed islands and oceans are integral parts of a single environment.
While the ocean is the primary reason for their isolation and remoteness, it also offers opportunities for their sustainable development. Healthy, productive and resilient oceans and coasts are critical for inter alia, poverty eradication, nutrition and food security, livelihoods, economic development and essential ecosystem services. The oceans also represent an important element of identity and culture for island people.
The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing is proud to celebrate World Oceans Day 2016 alongside coordinated support from the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia, Global Island Partnership, Government of the Republic of Palau, Parley for The Oceans, Polynesian Voyaging Society, The Pew Charitable Trusts, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, The Waterfront Alliance, Hawaiian Airlines and the UN-Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UN-DOALOS).
To learn more about Parley for the Oceans, click here.
Feature Photo: Christopher Michel/Flickr Correction: This article has been amended to reflect The Ocean Conference taking place at UN Headquarters in New York, as opposed to Fiji, which was the initial plan.