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MacDonald, Abate to Attend U.N. Ocean Conference in Portugal

U.N. Ocean Conference logoThe Urban Coast Institute (UCI) has been granted special accreditation for the 2022 U.N. Ocean Conference, to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, from June 27 to July 1. UCI Director Tony MacDonald and Rechnitz Family/UCI Endowed Chair of Marine and Environmental Law and Policy Randall Abate will attend the event and participate in its proceedings.

Co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Portugal, the conference seeks to “propel science-based, innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action,” according to its website. Member states are expected to adopt a declaration to implement and facilitate the protection and conservation of the ocean and its resources. Stakeholders from governments, businesses and civil society are also expected to make commitments to address ocean-related issues affecting their communities, countries and beyond.

The conference will focus on eight thematic dialogues: marine pollution; ocean acidification; deoxygenation; ocean warming; sustainable fisheries and other ocean-based economies; scientific knowledge; marine technology; and the international legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources. Participants will review the opportunities and challenges in these areas with the ambition to advance commitments and action on wide-ranging ocean issues. A report from the relevant chairs is expected at the end of the conference.

“The purpose of the conference is to bring governments, experts and civil society groups together to advance UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 to ‘conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.’ While this conference will focus on a global context, it is recognized that actual implementation requires actions at the national and local levels,” MacDonald said. “Nothing could be more relevant to the UCI, which is committed to reversing the deterioration of coastal waters caused by pollution and impacts of climate change, and sustainable management of ocean resources.”

He added that Monmouth students and other young people have a unique role to play to assure that decisions made by governments today will protect the oceans for their future.

“Professor Abate and I hope to bring back lessons learned and engage students with the UCI and Monmouth’s other U.N.-focused activities and programs, including the Institute for Global Understanding, U.N. Academic Impact, the U.N. Framework Convention for Climate Change, and the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development,” MacDonald said.

In the fall, MacDonald and Abate participated as official observers at the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), held in Glasgow, Scotland. Over 40,000 representatives of world governments, industries, advocacy organizations, scientific and policy bodies, and other interests gathered to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. MacDonald and Abate shared their insights from the proceedings on a COP26 Trip Journal and a subsequent webinar.

MacDonald also serves as a member of the U.S. National Committee for the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The committee encourages diverse and cross-sectoral participation, convenes activities and serve as a communication channel for the U.S. ocean science community regarding national and U.N. Decade events.

The Ocean Conference will be the second held by the U.N., with the first having been in New York City in 2017.