Please select your home edition
Edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

UN Secretary-General at The Ocean Race Summit Mindelo

by The Ocean Race 23 Jan 22:14 GMT
UN Secretary-General António Guterres at The Ocean Race Summit Mindelo, 23 January 2023 © Sailing Energy / The Ocean Race

'Ending the ocean emergency is a race we must win, and working as one, it is a race we can win' - this was the powerful message from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at The Ocean Race Summit Mindelo, held in Cabo Verde, earlier today.

Opening the event, he said: "We gather on the shores of the mighty Atlantic Ocean today to celebrate something special - the inspiring courage of women and men sailing this gruelling six-month around the world race. It is also inspiring to know that every boat is carrying special equipment to gather scientific data to help ensure a healthy ocean for the future."

Speaking to over 300 attendees gathered at the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo (OSCM), a joint facility of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany, and the IMar - Instituto do Mar - Guterres spoke of the major issues affecting the ocean, including overfishing, plastic pollution, the destruction of marine habitats and the impact of climate change, and urged the international community to become "the champions the ocean needs."

"Let's end the ocean emergency and preserve this precious blue gift for our children and grandchildren," he said.

Guterres welcomed commitments made at high-level conferences over the last 12 months. "But the race is far from over. We need to make 2023 a year of super action so we can end the ocean emergency once and for all," he said, stressing the need to effectively implement the many legal and policy instruments related to the ocean, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"The ocean supports the air we breathe, the food we consume, the cultures and identities that define us, the jobs and prosperity that sustain us, the regulation of weather and climate, and billions of animals, plants and microorganisms that call the ocean home. The ocean is life and livelihoods, and it is in trouble," Guterres said in his remarks. "Humanity has been waging a senseless and self-defeating war on nature. The ocean is on the front lines of the battle."

The UN chief underlined that around 35 percent of global fish stocks are over-exploited, global heating is pushing ocean temperatures to new heights, fueling more frequent and intense storms, rising sea levels, and the salinization of coastal lands and aquifers. "Once rich coral habitats are being bleached to oblivion. Mangrove forests are being destroyed, taking the species they host with them," he said.

"Meanwhile, toxic chemicals and millions of tons of plastic waste are flooding into coastal ecosystems - killing or injuring fish, sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, making their way into the food chain and ultimately being consumed by us."

The UN Secretary-General stressed the need for action in four fundamental ways:

First, ending the ocean emergency requires sustainable maritime industries, he said. "This means smart, sustainable fishing practices - including aquaculture - to guarantee a strong seafood industry into the future; carefully managing and regulating development and resource extraction with precaution, protection and conservation at the core of all activities."

Guterres noted this also means the reduction and prevention of marine pollution from both land and sea-based sources, as well as public and private partners jointly investing in restoring and conserving coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, wetlands and coral reefs.

Second, the UN chief said, "ending the ocean emergency means delivering massive support for developing countries living with the first and worst impacts of the degradation of our climate and ocean."

"Developing countries, specially the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are victims of a morally bankrupt global financial system, designed by rich countries to benefit rich countries," he underlined.

"I will continue urging leaders and international financial institutions to join forces and develop creative ways to ensure that developing countries can access debt relief and concessional finance when they need it most."

"I will keep pressing", he said, "for an SDG Stimulus Package to help governments of the Global South invest in the systems that support development and resilience. And I will always stand with developing countries as they protect and restore their ecosystems following decades and centuries of degradation and loss."

Third, he said, "ending the ocean emergency means winning the race against a changing climate. At a time when we must reduce greenhouse emissions to secure our future on this planet, we are on the verge of crossing the 1.5 degree limit that a livable future requires. Now is the time to deliver real action on climate: deliver on the establishment of the loss and damage fund that the world committed to at Sharm El-Sheikh, deliver the $100 billion commitment, deliver on the promise to double adaptation finance and deliver on closing the emissions gap, phasing out coal, and accelerating the renewable energy revolution.

"Together with international financial institutions and the private sector, developed countries must provide financial and technical assistance to help major emerging economies transition to renewable energy."

In his remarks, the UN Secretary General commended The Ocean Race for its efforts "in limiting the carbon footprint throughout the race" and encouraged the competition to continue operating responsibly.

"The Ocean Race family is truly humbled by the encouragement from the UN General Secretary Guterres, highlighting the work we do and acknowledging The Ocean Race's efforts to drive ocean protection and limit our carbon footprint. The Secretary-General has raised a very clear warning for the ocean. We have a perfect storm around us and we have to be ready to brace. Today has been an opportunity to change course for the benefit of the Ocean, and we need all hands on deck to do it." said Richard Brisius, Race Chairman, The Ocean Race.

The UN chief concluded his call to action by stressing that ending the ocean emergency means deploying science, technology and innovation on an unprecedented scale.

Guterres noted that we are now into the third year of the UN Decade of Ocean Science. "By 2030, we must have achieved our goal of mapping 80 percent of the seabed. We must see new partnerships among researchers, governments and the private sector to support ocean research and sustainable ocean planning and management. We must invest in state-of-the art, climate-resilient coastal infrastructure - from towns and villages to port installations."

The Ocean Race - the round-the-world sailing event known as the toughest test of a team in sport - holds these high-level Summits to promote ocean action in some of the stopover cities that will be hosting the teams as they circumnavigate the planet.

The Ocean Race Summits are a key part of The Ocean Race's multi-award winning 'Racing with Purpose' sustainability programme, which brings together a range of tangible ways that the event can have a positive impact on the marine environment. Working with 11th Hour Racing - the Founding Partner of the Racing with Purpose programme and a Premier Partner of The Ocean Race, The Ocean Race is holding these meetings to drive global decision-makers to create policies to protect and govern the ocean, contributing vital data about the state of the seas to leading scientific organisations, equipping children with the knowledge to help the ocean and much more.

The Race started from Alicante, Spain, on 15 January 2023 and will end in Genova, Italy in June 2023. It consists of seven legs with stopovers in eight cities around the world: Mindelo, Cabo Verde; Cape Town, South Africa; Itajaí, Brazil; Newport, Rhode Island, USA; Aarhus, Denmark; and The Hague, The Netherlands.

In previous editions The Ocean Race fleet has often passed close by - or even through the middle - of the African island nation. In the 2022- 23 edition, however, for the first time ever the fleet has stopped in Cabo Verde at the end of the 1,900 nautical mile opening leg from Alicante, Spain. This makes the Cabo Verde Republic the first ever West African nation in the race's history to host a stopover.

RELAY4NATURE

At the event, Relay4Nature, an initiative by The Ocean Race and UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, which involves Nature's Baton passing between teams and global leaders, was handed to the UN Secretary-General. Team Malizia received Nature's Baton at the Race start in Alicante and skipper Boris Herrmann delivered it to Secretary-General Guterres in Cabo Verde at the end of Leg 1 of The Ocean Race. Connecting the world's key environmental events, Relay4Nature champions the ocean and calls on leaders to take urgent action to protect nature.

Along the way, Nature's Baton has collected messages from a diverse range of influential voices, including HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, French President Emmauel Macron, US Presidential Envoy on Climate John Kerry, Co-Chair of Friends of Ocean Action and former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Isabella Lövin, and WWF Director General, Marco Lambertini.

Related Articles

GUYOT environnement - Team Europe Leg 2 Day 10
Will the tropical leg turn into an ice race? The unusually strong high-pressure system in the South Atlantic continues to keep the five IMOCA teams away from Cape Town/South Africa in The Ocean Race. Posted on 3 Feb
The Ocean Race Leg 2 Day 10: Differing views
There is a split in opinion that is playing out on the race course Credit to GUYOT environnement - Team Europe who have regained the lead on the race tracker as well as their position as the most southerly boat in the fleet. In a race south, that's a good thing.... or is it? Posted on 3 Feb
New World Sailing Show kicks off a huge year
Opening with a look at the start of The Ocean Race The first World Sailing Show of 2023 opens with a look at the start of The Ocean Race in Alicante, Spain, where five teams will compete in a nine-stop race around the world over the course of six months and six more will be part of the VO65 Sprint Cup. Posted on 2 Feb
GUYOT environnement - Team Europe Leg 2 Day 4
A range of strategic choices in The Ocean Race The first balancing act of the second leg of The Ocean Race enters its decisive phase on Saturday. The teams have made their decisions on how far west to sail and then jibe south to enter the Doldrums. Posted on 28 Jan
Urgent call to action to protect the ocean
Summary from the The Ocean Race Summit Mindel The Ocean Race Summit Mindelo, gathered over 300 ocean advocates in Cabo Verde, including UN SG, António Guterres; PM of Cabo Verde, Ulisses Correia e Silva; and PM of Portugal, António Costa, to discuss redoubling efforts to protect the ocean. Posted on 24 Jan
Boris Herrmann meets UN Secretary
Team Malizia is off to a good start with Sustainable Development Goals Team Malizia is off to a good start. The team embarked on The Ocean Race with two goals: to perform at their best on the water and to spread their A Race We Must Win - Climate Action Now! mission on land. Posted on 24 Jan
What have we learned from The Ocean Race Leg 1?
How the latest generation of IMOCAs stack up against each other As I outlined a fortnight ago, I was concerned about The Ocean Race, and whether - 50 years on from the first Whitbread - a fully crewed, multi-stopover round the world race in the latest cutting-edge foiling machines was relevant. Posted on 23 Jan
Team JAJO wraps up second place in VO65 class
Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team retires from leg one, leaving podium open to Austrian-Italian crew The Dutch Team JAJO earned a strong second place finish in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint, behind Poland's WindWhisper Racing Team who had finished earlier on Saturday with an impressive VO65 class victory. Posted on 22 Jan
Team Holcim-PRB lead into Cabo Verde
To win Leg One of The Ocean Race French skipper Kevin Escoffier led his Swiss-flagged Team Holcim-PRB to victory in leg one of The Ocean Race in the early hours of Saturday morning. Posted on 21 Jan
FLASH NEWS: Team Holcim-PRB wins Leg 1
Scoring top points, winning Leg One of The Ocean Race Kevin Escoffier's Swiss-flagged team won the opening leg with a battle behind for second place with 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia... Posted on 21 Jan