World Oceans Day, 8 June 2019

Message from the Coordinator of UN Environment / MAP, Gaetano Leone.

The UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan system will mark World Oceans Day, which aims at raising awareness about the crucial role that the oceans play in poverty eradication, global food security, human health, economic development and the global response to climate change.

Despite their importance, marine ecosystems are reeling under the pressure of unsustainable human activities that are ironically curtailing their ability to provide crucial services to the billions of people that depend on them. In certain contexts, women and girls are most vulnerable to marine ecosystem degradation due to pervasive gender inequalities.

By building on what we have achieved together over the last 40 years since MAP’s inception, we can decouple development from environmental degradation in the Mediterranean region and pursue blue growth that safeguards the ecosystem that sustains it. A major milestone was reached in 2011 when the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol entered into force in the framework of the Barcelona Convention. Through this legally binding instrument, Contracting Parties committed to ensuring the sustainable management and use of coastal zones. We recently celebrated the ratification of the ICZM protocol by Lebanon and Malta. To date, 12 Contracting Parties have ratified the ICZM Protocol and we hope that the remaining Contracting Parties will soon follow suit.

“Gender and the Ocean”, the theme of this year’s edition of World Oceans Day, is an opportunity to explore the gender dimension of our relationship with the Mediterranean. Gender equality and the empowerment of women is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and of the 2016-2025 Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development. The progress in the implementation of these two frameworks for action will feature prominently on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development, which will take place in Budva, Montenegro, on 11-13 June 2019. I invite participants in this important meeting to consider sustainability issues in the Mediterranean through the gender lens.

As one of the most advanced legal regimes worldwide for the protection of the marine and coastal environment, the UN Environment /MAP – Barcelona Convention system has an ambitious sustainable development dimension and is driving important initiatives contributing to the implementation of SDG 14 in the Mediterranean. Achieving SDG5 on gender equality means unlocking and harnessing the full human potential that our Mediterranean region offers to achieve SDG 14 and deliver inclusive blue growth for all.

Date of Article: 
Thursday, June 6, 2019