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UN Ocean Conference ends with new political declaration to Save Our Ocean.

Following a week of discussions and events in Lisbon, Portugal, the UN Ocean Conference concluded on Friday, with governments and heads of state agreeing on a new political declaration to Save Our Ocean.

Recognizing the past “collective failure” in the Conference’s final declaration, world leaders called for greater ambition to ensure that the dire state of the ocean is addressed, and admitted frankly to being “deeply alarmed by the global emergency facing the ocean”.

At the closing, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Miguel de Serpa Soares, commended co-hosts – Portugal and Kenya – for the conference’s enormous success. More

‘World is failing adolescent girls’ UNFPA chief, as report shows third of women in developing countries give birth in teen years

Nearly a third of all women in developing countries, start having children at the age of 19 or younger, and nearly half of first births to adolescents, are to children or girls aged 17 or under, new research released on Tuesday by UNFPA, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, reveals.  More

Risk in an inter-connected world – What COVID-19 has taught us.

A new UN report has shed fresh light on the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed cascading risks, particularly on vulnerable people, worldwide.

From the mangroves of West Bengal to the vast archipelago that makes up Indonesia, and from the bustling port city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, to the tropical shores of southern Togo, systemic risks from the COVID-19 pandemic have been exposed in stark human terms.

Millions of people who were already struggling to make ends meet, often working in the informal economy in agriculture and surviving below the poverty line, had to contend with a host of new risks that they could not possibly have foreseen. More

A visionary ‘blue transformation’ strategy to enhance underwater food systems

Record levels of fisheries and aquaculture production are making a critical contribution to global food security, the UN Ocean Conference under way in Lisbon, Portugal, heard on Wednesday.

The Conference’s third day, spotlighting the state of the global fishing industry and the sustainability of aquaculture, featured the launch of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture flagship report. More

Ukraine: Cycle of death, destruction, dislocation, and disruption ‘must stop’

The “horrific conflict,” in Ukraine shows no signs of abating, the UN political and peacebuilding chief told the Security Council on Tuesday, pointing out that since her last update on 5 April, “countless Ukrainian civilians” have been killed in indiscriminate attacks, cities and towns levelled, and much of the country’s arable land “horribly disfigured by shelling”.

“The cycle of death, destruction, dislocation, and disruption must stop”, underscored Rosemary DiCarlo.

Overturning of Roe v Wade abortion law a ‘huge blow to women’s human rights’ warns Bachelet

Friday’s decision by the US Supreme Court which overturns the 50-year-old Roe v Wade judgement guaranteeing access to abortion across the United States, was described by the UN human rights chief as “a huge blow to women’s human rights and gender equality.”

The widely anticipated Supreme Court decision, by six votes to three, was made in the specific case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health, and Michelle Bachelet said in a statement that it represents a “major setback” for sexual and reproductive health across the US.


UN agencies rush to aid Afghanistan following deadly quake

The UN and partners have rushed to support Afghanistan following a devastating earthquake that hit two provinces in the east of the country early on Wednesday morning.

At least 1,000 people have been killed, according to media reports, and numbers are expected to rise. Nearly 2,000 homes reportedly were also destroyed and scores of people displaced.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he was saddened to learn about the tragic loss of life, noting that Afghans were already reeling from the impact of years of conflict, economic hardship and hunger. More

Statement by the Secretary-General – on the earthquake in Afghanistan 

I was saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life caused by the earthquake which struck Afghanistan earlier today local time near the city of Khost.  Hundreds of people have reportedly been killed and injured, and this tragic toll might continue to rise.

My heart goes out to the people of Afghanistan who are already reeling from the impact of years of conflict, economic hardship and hunger. I convey my deep condolences to the families of the victims and wish speedy recovery to the injured.

The United Nations in Afghanistan is fully mobilized. Our teams are already on the ground assessing the needs and providing initial support.

We count on the international community to help support the hundreds of families hit by this latest disaster. Now is the time for solidarity.

New York, 22 June 2022

Eliminate nuclear weapons before they eliminate us: UN chief

Nuclear weapons are “a deadly reminder of countries’ inability to solve problems through dialogue and collaboration”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday, urging the international community to abandon them once and for all.

“These weapons offer false promises of security and deterrence – while guaranteeing only destruction, death, and endless brinksmanship,” he said in a video message to the First Meeting of States Parties to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, taking place in Vienna, Austria. More

Photo Story: Protecting Fiji’s Reef

A UN-backed project is helping Fijians in the district of Korolevu-i-wai to operate sustainable tourism projects associated with Fiji’s coral reef, and support the development needs of the community.

Victor Bonito, a coral reef ecologist, has been working with the local community since 2005, to help them to better manage and restore marine resources in their traditional fishing ground.

See the beautiful photo essay here

Blue Pacific Talks in Canberra in the lead up to the Oceans Conference in Lisbon.

Blue Pacific Hybrid Talks hosted by UNIC Canberra, the High Commission of Kenya and the Embassy of Portugal leading up to the UN Oceans Conference in Lisbon at the end of June.

Heads of State, Prime Ministers and Ministerial representatives spoke virtually from Australia, Samoa, Palau, Fiji, Niue, Kenya and Portugal together with the UN Ocean Envoy Peter Thomson and the three UN Resident Coordinators in the Pacific of Palau, Fiji and Samoa – their combined mandate covering most of the Pacific.

After presentations from the EU Ambassador for the Pacific and the Australian Prime Minister’s Sherpa to the High-Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy, representatives from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO’s presentation followed with a strong focus on Maori youth inclusion. UNIC Canberra Director Damian Cardona Onses acted as the event’s facilitator which was watched from across the Pacific, Europe and the Americas by government, the diplomatic corps, civil society and UN colleagues from HQ in New York.

You can read the  Report here
You can watch the event here
Programme of the event can be read here
Transcripts of pre-recorded messages here
You can find the UN Ocean Conference website here.