Oceans Partnership members highlight the need to protect ocean resources to meet sustainable development aims

Aug. 30, 2002
The Oceans Partnership released a seven point plan today urging WSSD delegates to strengthen protection of the world's oceans, which are being increasingly degraded by pollution and other factors.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Aug. 30, 2002 — The Oceans Partnership, a group of organizations representing the oceans community, released a seven point plan today urging WSSD delegates to strengthen protection of the world's oceans, which are being increasingly degraded by pollution and other factors.

Organization leaders will also discuss the partnership models that address issues and challenges facing the world's oceans and coastal areas. The Oceans Partnership is comprised of organizations representing the oceans community, including NGOs, academic institutions, international bodies, and government organizations.

"The oceans community has rallied around issues such as land-based pollution, coral reef loss and unsustainable fishing practices and worked in collaborative and innovative ways to address these problems," said Klaus Toepfer, executive director, United Nations Environment Programme. "This model of cooperation has seen numerous successes and it is time to share these experiences so that others in the global environmental community may realize the same benefits."

The world's oceans community is setting an important precedent for utilizing partnerships to address global oceans and coastal issues, and this trend will become more vital as it becomes clear that these issues are inherently transborder in nature, requiring a pooling of resources and new levels of coordination and cooperation.

"We have the opportunity in Johannesburg to move beyond Rio to secure solid commitments to address critical issues facing the world's oceans," said Dawn Martin, executive director of Oceana. "We are very encouraged by measures proposed at the Summit to help rebuild depleted fisheries, stop destructive fishing practices like bycatch and bottom-trawling, reduce subsides and overcapacity, prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, establish marine protected areas, and implement measures to reduce marine pollution."

The Oceans Partnership Statement outlines 7 key points that the oceans community deems central to establishing sustainable development practices in coastal areas, ensuring food security and the preservation of marine resources, acknowledging the role of the ocean and the need for global observations on climate and addressing the effects of inland and fresh water pollution on coastal and marine environmental ecosystems.

"A lot of progress has been made in addressing problems facing our oceans, but much more needs to be done," said Dr. Ellen Pikitch, director of Marine Programs for the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society. "We urge the delegates of the WSSD to take on a leadership role in continuing to move forward to protect our oceans for future generations."

Organizations represented included the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United Nations Environment Programme, Oceana and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

For more information on WSSD, please visit http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/ .

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), established in 1972, works to encourage sustainable development through sound environmental practices everywhere. Its activities cover a wide range of issues, from atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, the promotion of environmental science and information, to an early warning and emergency response capacity to deal with environmental disasters and emergencies.

Oceana is an international environmental organization created for the sole purpose of protecting the world's oceans to sustain the circle of life. In May 2002, Oceana merged with the American Oceans Campaign to bring together dedicated people from around the world to build an international movement to save the oceans through advocacy, science, economics, legal action, grassroots mobilization, and public education. http://www.oceana.org/ .

The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild lands through careful science, international conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks. WCS believes in the intrinsic value of the diversity and integrity of life on earth, and the importance of wildlife and wilderness to the quality of human life.

The U.S. Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit http://www.noaa.gov/ .

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