PARIS, June 08 (IPS) – More and more young people are standing up to declare that they have had enough of the cyclical exploitation of the environment which puts their own future at risk.
Youth activism through Global climate strikes and Friday events for the future have helped stimulate revolutionary political frameworks, such as the New Green Deal defended by US MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
International organizations and sovereign governments have now interpreted the Green New Deal within their own frameworks and policies; it is clear that the environmental policy led by young people has energized the debate on global decarbonization and the social impacts of climate change.
However, the Green New Deal only mentioned the ocean once. We need to put more blue in the green transition.
The Earth’s vast oceans are humanity’s most important climate regulation tool. As governments rally around plans to literally save our species, we must recognize that there is no future without understanding the role the ocean must play.
Beyond sustaining human life, the ocean economy contributes to ecosystem services, jobs and cultural services estimated at $ 3 trillion to $ 6 trillion, with fisheries and aquaculture alone contributing $ 100 billion per year and over 250 million jobs.
Our ocean, however, is over-exploited, polluted with plastic, and exploited for non-renewable resources like minerals and fossil fuels. This perpetuates a cycle of generational injustice and leaves young people to inherit an increasingly degraded environment with less and less time to restore it. Not only does this hamper progress in general, but our most vulnerable global communities, who contribute the least to global emissions, will feel the effects of our degraded environment the hardest.
Young people must not only be proactive advocates for the SDGs, but we must hold the global community accountable for the commitments it has made among nations and to young people as the biggest players in the future health of our environment.
Create the “Global Blue New Deal”
In 2019, the Sustainable Ocean Alliance distributed surveys through its network to identify key youth policy priorities for a healthy ocean and a just future. We received over 100 responses from 38 countries in 5 languages.
Over the past year, SOA’s Youth Policy Advisory Council has synthesized these elements into a youth-led, publicly funded, ocean policy framework: the Global Blue New Deal.
The first public draft of our Global Blue New Deal is launched now, on the eve of the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development, which aims to bring global ocean stakeholders together around a common framework to deliver “the ocean we need for the future we want”.
Young people want to contribute to the success of the Oceans Decade and call on the international community to recognize our policy suggestions as part of the solutions our planet needs.
The vision of the Global Blue New Deal is to “define an ocean policy framework that incorporates the priorities of the participatory youth who will be proposed to governments at international, national and local levels for implementation”.
It is organized into four pillars, each containing specific ocean policy solutions.
In letter :Pillar 1 Carbon neutrality: transition to a zero carbon future
- 1. End offshore drilling and invest in renewable marine energies 2. Decarbonize the shipping industry 3. Reduce marine pollution from land-based sources 4. Transition to a circular economy 5. Strengthen legislation and enforcement against ocean contamination
Pillar 2 Preserving biodiversity: applying nature-based solutions to promote healthy ecosystems and climate resilience
- 1. Support the global movement to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 2. Enforce against non-compliance in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) 3. Establish a global moratorium on high seas mining 4 Transition from “gray” man-made infrastructure like culverts and dikes to nature-based blue carbon infrastructure, including restoration of wetlands, mangroves and marshes.
Pillar 3: Sustainable seafood: responding in a sustainable way to increasing global demand
- 1. Encourage sustainable governance of capture fisheries 2. Enforce the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing 3. Eliminate fisheries subsidies aimed at building capacity 4. Provide a sustainable path for aquaculture 5. Fund research and development of plant-based and cell culture seafood
Pillar 4: Stakeholder engagement: Include local communities in the management of natural ocean resources
- 1. Ensure the sustainability of coastal ecotourism 2. Promote ocean research and innovation, with the aim of mapping 100% of the world’s seabed by 2030. 3. Emphasize ocean knowledge and capacity building 4. Strengthen stakeholder participation in ocean governance
We invite like-minded young people, scientists, policymakers and other ocean stakeholders to visit https://www.soalliance.org/soablog/youth-led-blue-new-deal and help finalize the Global Blue New Deal ocean policy framework during our public comment period in July.
Each generation has inherited an increasingly degraded ocean environment, with the poorest and most vulnerable communities feeling the impacts the most. This is an opportunity for us to rewrite the long history of compromising our ocean.
Mark Haver and Porto Marina are respectively chair and co-chair of the Youth Policy Advisory Council of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, the world’s largest network of ocean allies led by young people.
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service