UNESCO IOC Highlights Ocean Issues Ahead of Rio+20

UNESCO14 March 2012: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Kriton Arsenis, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), held an information session at the European Parliament to raise awareness on current ocean-related issues in the lead up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

The session, which took place on 6 March 2012, brought together MEPs, researchers and representatives of NGOs. Participants heard expert presentations on the main threats to the oceans, including: ocean acidification; overfishing and illegal fishing; and biodiversity loss. Other presentations stressed the importance of science, monitoring and assessment for the sustainable management of the oceans. Wendy Watson-Wright, UNESCO IOC Executive Secretary, provided an overview of the impacts of human activities on the oceans and introduced the interagency report titled "A Blueprint for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability."

Key actions identified include the further development of existing tools for actions, such as Regional Seas for the protection of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, and facilitating cooperation and synergies through initiatives such as the Joint Programming Initiative for Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans). [UNESCO Press Release] [IISD RS Story on the Launch of the Blueprint for Oceans]