US Secretary Of State Joins Kiribati PM’s Call For Ocean Protection

admin's picture

Our Ocean conference pushes ‘global regime to protect the oceans’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 17, 2014) – US Secretary of State John Kerry has called for a global regime to protect the oceans, which he said were under threat from too much fishing, acidification from climate change and marine pollution.

Mr Kerry opened the two-day 'Our Ocean' conference at the State Department with a call for all nations to move beyond talks and studies to taking specific steps toward a global agreement to protect the oceans.

"We are not going to meet this challenge unless the community of nations comes together around a single comprehensive global ocean strategy," he said.

Joining Mr Kerry was Kiribati President Anote Tong, who said the small Pacific nation would ban commercial fishing from its Phoenix Islands Protected Area by January 1.

The low-lying state, consisting of 33 islands, is highly vulnerable to rising sea levels, one of the most severe impacts of climate change.

Most of Kiribati's land is less than two meters above sea level.

Mr Tong called climate change the greatest moral challenge modern times, adding the main hope of addressing climate change lies within the oceans.

"This is about the survival of our people," he said.

"This is not about economics, not anymore.

"It is now about what we must do as responsible global citizens."

Mr Kerry, a longtime advocate of measures to address climate change when he was in the US Senate, said current piecemeal national policies to protect the world's oceans failed to address problems that will affect the entire planet.

"If we are going to be able to honour our shared responsibility to protect the ocean, the ad hoc approach we have today, with each nation and community pursuing its own independent policy, simply will not suffice," he said.

"That is not how the ocean works."

Only two per cent of the world's oceans are protected areas that limit human activity and protect marine life, and countries should strive to raise that to 10 per cent, he said.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment