World Ocean Conference: Good News for Latin America

142 countries met in Lisbon in the framework of the Conference on the Oceans of the United Nations. In this event, good news has arrived for the oceans of Latin America

View into an ocean

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LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: Conferencia Mundial de los Océanos: buenas noticias para Latinoamerica

The Conference on the Oceans was held from June 27 to July 1 in Portugal, with Kenya as co-organizer. During this week, members from more than 142 countries have met to launch a declaration that has been under negotiation for more than two years among the different international delegations . The conference aims to start a new chapter in global action to protect the oceans, stop their deterioration due to pollution and mitigate all the negative impact that this entails.

"Solutions for sustainable ocean management require the application of green technology and the innovative use of marine resources. These also include addressing the threats to ocean health, ecology, economy and governance: ocean acidification ; marine litter and pollution; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and loss of habitats and biodiversity," the UN said in a statement. Likewise, it intends to accelerate the fulfillment of the sustainable development objectives for 2030.

Despite the benefits of the declaration that has been left after the conference, these are recommendations. In other words, the agreements are not binding on the states, so the application of the recommendations will largely depend on the good will of the governments.

What news did this leave for the oceans of Latin America?

Good news for Latin America and the Caribbean arrived from the first day of the conference. On Monday, June 27, CAF, the development bank of Latin America, announced that it would invest 1.25 billion dollars for investments in the next 5 years for the conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems in the region. The announcement of this investment makes CAF one of the main financiers of UN Environment's blue economy and promotes its goal of being the green bank in Latin America and the Caribbean. In fact, this institution has stated that its goal is for its green financing to reach 40% in 2026.

"This challenge will involve working more closely with our strategic allies such as UNEP FI and walking together to help foster the sustainable financial transformation necessary to ensure a prosperous, equitable, and resilient future in Latin America and the world," they point out in a press release.

Protection of the Pacific Marine Corridor

On the other hand, the protection of an area of great importance for the region in terms of biodiversity and economy was also announced. This is the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor, shared by Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama. According to the CAF, this area generates 3,000 million dollars a year, thanks to tourism, fishing and transportation activities. These states committed to establishing alliances and joint action plans to protect the area and promote its sustainable use. "The initiative, which has a technical cooperation of USD 1 million from CAF -development bank of Latin America-, contemplates that the protected marine areas create a corridor free of fishing that covers at least 500,000 square kilometers", indicates this organization.

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Applause for Colombia

If there was a prominent country during this meeting, it was Colombia. The country announced that it will now have 30% of marine protected areas, thus reaching a goal proposed by the experts. This is thanks to the fact that the government approved the protection of two new areas and the expansion of two others. This is how the country now has 30,132,769 hectares, corresponding to 32.42% of its total area. The new protected areas are called Colinas y Lomas del Pacífico and Cordillera Submarina Beata Nature Reserve.  

This announcement in turn caused the Colombian president, Iván Duque, who is about to finish his mandate, to be awarded by the National Geographic Society, because due to his leadership, 30% of the marine areas will be protected eight years before the established overall goal. "The most important task before us is to understand that we have to move faster and be as ambitious as possible, " the president said. Along with Duque, the former president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, also received the same distinction.