The United Nations Ocean Conference (5-9 June 2017)

The UN is about to host its first international ocean conference. National representatives and the representatives of various maritime sectors from around the world will gather in New York from June 5 to 9 with a single objective: to preserve our seas and oceans.

The Ocean Conference will comprise official sessions, including meetings at the ministerial level, and side events. It will conclude with the adoption of a declaration in the form of a “Call for Action” on future initiatives in support of the ocean.

The full program of the conference is available online at https://oceanconference.un.org.

France, which is deeply committed to protecting the ocean, is hosting or supporting four side events as part of the conference:

  • Climate and the Atlantic Ocean (June 5)
  • The transition to the blue economy (June 7, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
  • Marine energy (June 7, 1:15 - 2:30 p.m.)
  • Marine protected areas (June 9)
  • Ocean Platform Event – climate

Why an international conference on the ocean?

The ocean represents untold wealth for the entire planet. Yet our actions are increasingly putting it in danger.

Oceans and seas represent 71% of the Earth’s surface. By producing half the oxygen we breathe and absorbing one-third of the carbon dioxide we produce, they are truly climate regulators.

While their richness represents an enormous economic asset, their decline has a negative impact on the lives of millions of people who directly depend on maritime activities to live and prosper.

Because they are so vast, it is sometimes hard to grasp the negative effect of human activity on oceans and their fragile ecosystems. Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic are released into the ocean. Overexploitation threatens numerous fish species. From a security standpoint, many island nations are threatened by rising waters.

The Paris Agreement sounded the alarm. The Conference will prompt us to take action to reverse the decline in the health of our oceans.

France and the Ocean: a maritime power that is striving to preserve the ocean

At the national level, France is truly a maritime power: Its maritime space is the second-largest in the world. It ranks fifth in Europe in terms of ports, and is a key actor in the maritime industry. Its coastline is also one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. That makes preserving the ocean an inherent part of a sustainable economy.

On the international level, France is committed to preserving the ocean as part of the international coalition against plastic bags, to combat the millions of tons of plastic released into the ocean each year. It also supports the development of a blue economy based on the responsible use of the ocean that takes into account the limits of maritime resources.

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