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Youth is the generation that will help save our oceans and our future, says UN chief |


The two-day event brought together hundreds of young people from 165 countries with a common goal: protecting the Ocean.

Addressing the 100 youth advocates who have gathered to inspire, amplify and advance youth action for our oceans, Mr. Guterres reiterate the need arrive save the planet.

At Carcavelos beach, on the edge of the ocean near the center of his home city, Lisbon, the Secretary-General apologized on behalf of his generation for the state of the oceans, the state of biodiversity and the state of climate change. climate change.

Generational responsibility

“My generation and those in political responsibility – that was my case – we were slow or sometimes unwilling to realize that things are getting worse in three respects: the ocean , climate and biodiversity,” Mr. Guterres told the rally. crowd.

Add that globally, The world is still moving too slowly and must act now To start restoring oceans, saving biodiversity and stopping climate change, the UN chief stressed that “it’s a generational responsibility that goes beyond political leaders”.

‘Doing everything’ to prevent pollution

Tell a young audience that there is a plastic area in the Pacific – a huge ‘dump’ of plastic containers, bottles and other debris widely known as the ‘Great Garbage of the Pacific -‘ “We are still throwing 8 million tons of plastic into the ocean every year,” Mr. Guterres said.

Because of this and more, youth will inherit a troubled planethead of the United Nations, warned and told the assembled young men that they would need “Do everything to reverse everything” – reverse political decisions, reverse economic decisions and reverse personal behaviour.

“Honestly, when I look back at myself and my behaviour, my footprint on the planet is just too great,” the Secretary-General admitted.


The United Nations Ocean Conference's Youth and Innovation Forum in Lisbon, Portugal.

UN photo / Ekinder Debebe

The United Nations Ocean Conference’s Youth and Innovation Forum in Lisbon, Portugal.

Time for change

Wishing the participants success with their projects, the head of the UN called on the young generation to take action.

“Your generation now will be desperately needed to lead tomorrow to be able to manage and reverse this trend and save the planet,” he concluded.


‘Nature’s Baton’

Just before the Secretary-General’s speech, global movie star and ocean activist Jason Momoa made a special appearance alongside United Nations Special Envoy for Oceans Peter Thomson.

Under the blazing sun at Carcavelos beach, surrounded on a wide stretch of sand by young people, including his own children, Mr. Momoa said the work he was doing was “for them and for generations to come.” .

Receiving ‘Nature’s Stick’ from Special Envoy Peter Thomson, Mr. Momoa said the baton, symbolizing the fact that the world’s existential challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss are linked inseparably linked to ocean health, has been happening around the world and it will continue to do so as a lasting symbol for leaders.

“The time to act is now. Our ocean is in trouble, if we combine ambition, dedication and hope, we can change these outcomes,” he said.

“The ocean, where water begins and ends its journey, allows systems to work for the benefit of humans as well as non-humans. Without a fresh ocean, life as we know it would not exist,” added the actor.

With his feet submerged at the beach, Mr Momoa thanked Mother Nature for a “kiss from the ocean” and called for a “dramatic wave of change to ensure today’s generations and those to come may receive its gift”.


Ocean actor and campaigner Jason Momoa (left) meets youth advocates on Carcavelos beach in Lisbon, Portugal at the United Nations Oceans Summit.

UN photo / Ekinder Debebe

Ocean actor and campaigner Jason Momoa (left) meets youth advocates on Carcavelos beach in Lisbon, Portugal at the United Nations Oceans Summit.

Respect nature

Surrounded by youth, UN Special Envoy for the Oceans Peter Thomson warns that young people will face two to three degrees of global warming in their lifetime. “It’s playing with fire,” he said.

Describing ‘Nature’s Baton’ as a symbol of connection, he talks about the importance of respecting nature and returning to a balanced relationship with it.

Mr Thomson added: “We have to learn to live with respect for the ocean: not to dump trash in it and not to heat it up too much.

UN Ocean Forum and Conference

The forum is a unique opportunity for young people to contribute to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14), just before starting United Nations Ocean Conferencetakes place from June 27 to July 1 to seek innovative and science-based solutions to improve the health of our oceans.

Young entrepreneurs, innovators and problem solvers expand their initiatives, projects and ideas by providing professional training and networking with mentors, investors, the private sector and government officials to maximize their impact.

One of the Forum participants – Gabriela Fernandes, 29 years old, Portuguese, has developed a project to study and photograph dolphins and whales.

“Studying them will allow us to understand the interactions between animals at the top of the food chain and the rest of the marine animals, which will help uncover [the state of] local biodiversity”.

The event is co-hosted by the Governments of Portugal and Kenya, organized by the UN Global Coalition for Treaty Oceans Management in collaboration with CEiiA, the City of Cascais, Nova School of Business and Economics (NOVA SBE) and The Sustainable Oceans Alliance (SOA) is organized with support from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The 24-hour “Innovathon” centered weekend program, where 130 youth delegates work together in groups to address the key challenges outlined in the UN Global Compact 5 Destinations for a healthy and productive Ocean. Youth also have the opportunity to contribute to the political process of the United Nations Oceans Conference by providing input support for eight interactive dialogues.

The winning team, called “Wasteers” came up with a plastic recovery solution to convert plastic waste into construction waste. Another winning group called “Invasea” focused on a complete transition from believing in change to having the resources, advice and tools to improve ocean health and human health. people globally.

“A youth-led love-based climate movement is what we need. This room is filled with some of the brightest minds in the world currently at work in their communities. Not thinking about modeling but actually acting”, the winning teams came out from the stage.

Young ocean activist Bodhi Patil is one of the young ocean leaders from around the world tackling ocean challenges with innovative solutions and was one of the winning teams.


As part of the prize package, both winning teams received 15,000 micrograms from the Sustainable Oceans Alliance and an anonymous judge from the jury, a scholarship from the NOVA School of Business and Economics, and two foundations. Internship from the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations educational and scientific agency. , UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO).

During the week, UN News will provide you with daily coverage of the Conference as well as interviews, podcasts and features that you can access here.





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