We cannot underestimate the importance of oceans in the world and, least of all, think that because of its abundant surface on Earth we will have enough so as to keep abusing them. Knowing full well that they supply 50% of oxygen, food and means of life of millions of people, oceans have become the most important spaces and habitats due to global thermal and atmospheric regulation, being, at the same time, significant tools to fight the effects of climate change. To sum up, oceans are a fundamental ally against the development of climate change and we must do everything possible to protect them.
At present, wide areas in different parts of the world have suffered the effects of climate, whose strongest record would probably happen with El Niño current, which although it originates in the Pacific it affects all oceans. El Niño is expected to impact 60 million people in 2016 by aggravating regions already suffering either from floods or droughts, increasing, in this way, the misery caused during 2015.
Some of us have a general idea of what this represents, others, specialists and technicians, know about this in detail, and some international entities even protect these interests. Still, we continue damaging oceans and destroying its habitats and biodiversity through overfishing and contamination. The latest statistics alarmingly reveal that by 2025 there will be one kilogram of different waste per every three kilograms of fish.
Apart from the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change in general, it is vital to consider the regeneration of oceans. Nowadays, there is a United Nations program called Sustainable Development Goals in which world leaders commit to ending overfishing, eliminating illegal fishing, establishing protected marine zones, and reducing plastic and other forms of marine pollution, thus increasing the recovery of oceans.
Although the United Nations has a program establishing the roadmap for the recovery of oceans, and a landmark agreement was reached in Paris in 2015, the questions in this regard are: how far and how fast can we achieve it?, how can we translate these ambitious goals into concrete actions and effective collaboration?
In the case of oceans, the situation is intensified by the weak and fragmented state of ocean governability. There is no international organism in charge of promoting, monitoring and measuring these Sustainable Development Goals.
In that sense, the governments of Fiji and Sweden have called for a global conference to discuss oceans and seas in 2017. This proposal was endorsed by 95 countries and adopted unanimously at the UN General Assembly conference, to be held in about a year in Sweden, seeks to account for the situation, for the goals achieved by then, and, at the same time, promote greater cooperation among the public and private sectors.
To translate these goals into real actions and productive results would be a most encouraging progress, promoting efforts to protect oceans. The whole scenario seems promising and it is a good start, probably a bit too late and at a time beyond any turning point. Nonetheless, many of us dream that from now on and in a near future oceans will have again that amazing scene they own and will continue to be sources of life for humanity.