Lisbon, June 27, 2022 – Film star and ocean activist Jason Momoa was named the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) advocate for life below water today at a major conference mobilizing global support for a ocean besieged by the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and endemic pollution.
The United Nations Ocean Conference, co-hosted by Portugal and Kenya and attended by thousands of ocean advocates from business, civil society and government – including several heads of State – will advance progress towards science-based solutions to ensure better management and conservation of the ocean and its resources. The conference, which is aligned with SDG 14, life below water, highlights the critical need for scientific knowledge and marine technologies to build ocean resilience, and is expected to result in a negotiated political declaration.
The Aquaman actor, who has worked with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and rePurpose Global, described how humbled he felt to be given the responsibility of promoting ocean health: “With this designation, I hope to continue my own journey to protect and conserve the ocean and all living beings of our beautiful blue planet, for our generation and generations to come.
The Hawaiian of Polynesian descent, who has long championed the rights of the people of island nations, described how growing up on one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos ingrained in him a reverence for the ocean and nature that never has only deepened over the years. me, the ocean is an ancient teacher, guide and muse. It is also existential. Without a healthy ocean, life on our planet as we know it would not exist.
Momoa, who is the star of Aquaman and the sequel to comeAquaman and the Lost Kingdom, made remarks ahead of the Youth and Innovation Forum, where he arrived on a boat to receive the Nature Stick from UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson. Momoa then passed the baton to the youth representatives before they in turn handed it over to the UN Secretary General. The Nature Baton, a global collaboration for ocean wellbeing, has shed light on the need for action to save the global ocean, and is a metaphor for the journey ocean champions have embarked on this year from Brest to Nairobi for the United Nations Environment Assembly, to Palau for the Our Oceans conference, and for World Environment Day in Stockholm, on the way to Lisbon.
“We are delighted to have Jason Momoa join the United Nations family as UNEP’s advocate for life below water. Jason has a strong track record in advocating on ocean issues, from reducing single-use plastic pollution to protecting coral reefs,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen. “In 2021, the 4 main measures of climate change – greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean temperatures and ocean acidification – all reached record highs. This means It’s time to act.”
“With a huge following of engaged fans, we believe Jason can bring ocean considerations into the hearts and minds of citizens and business leaders to promote this urgency and action,” she added.
Early conference commitments include pledges from the United States and the European Commission to join UNEP’s Clean Seas campaign, bolstering what is already the largest campaign dedicated to ending marine litter and plastic pollution globally. They join newcomers like Tanzania, Uganda, Cabo Verde, Rwanda and Portugal in an initiative that now accounts for 75% of the world’s coastline. More voluntary pledges – following the 1,406 from the 2017 conference – should also be made to address ocean-related issues affecting communities and countries.
At Ocean Summit Event 17, governments – including Australia, Belgium, Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya, Thailand, Vanuatu and 10 Brazilian states – pledged to join the global commitment to the new plastics economy. They join 11 governments who made the global pledge at the One Oceans Summit in February, as well as the 500+ signatories who support the transition to a circular economy and help tackle the plastic pollution crisis that threatens the health of our ocean.
The landmark environmental conference, which is also part of the UN Decades of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and Ecosystem Restoration, hosted the ‘Giant Plastic Tap’, a three-story art installation constructed from 200 kilos of plastic waste provided by local waste. management company, Novo Verde and sponsored by Iberdrola. Envisioned by activist Benjamin Von Wong, the installation was originally built in Nairobi for the Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly, and now sits in the heart of Lisbon’s multicultural neighborhood, the Park of Nations, where it serves as a visceral reminder passers-by of the magnitude of the problem of plastic pollution and the urgency for humanity to “turn off the plastic tap” from the source to the sea.
The need to restore and protect coral reefs is also a priority at the conference’s Sustainable Blue Economy Investment Forum, where the Global Coral Reef Fund, an initiative supported by UNEP and its partners and the world’s largest blended finance vehicle dedicated to SDG 14, will be strengthened. through new financial commitments.
The 250+ Event Conference features four special events, including a Youth and Innovation Forum, a High Level Water Symposium and Sustainable Blue Economy Investment Forum. Eight multi-stakeholder dialogues, on themes ranging from marine pollution and sustainable fisheries to marine technologies and the promotion and strengthening of sustainable ocean economies – particularly for small island developing states and least developed countries – will take place reviews opportunities and challenges to boost commitments and oceans action.
Key UN Ocean Conference links:
Follow live (Official program): UN WebTV
Media corner: https://www.un.org/en/conferences/ocean2022/media
SaveOurOcean actions: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/5-actions-you-can-take-to-saveourocean/
Register of Voluntary Commitments: https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/action-networks/ocean-commitments
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the United Nations Ocean Conference
The Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Portugal, comes at a critical time as the world seeks to address the many deep-rooted issues in our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and shared common solutions rooted in the SDGs.
To mobilize action, the Conference will seek to propel much-needed innovative science-based solutions aimed at opening a new chapter in global action on the oceans. Solutions for a sustainably managed ocean involve green technologies and innovative uses of marine resources. They also include addressing threats to ocean health, ecology, economy and governance – acidification, marine litter and pollution, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and loss of habitats and biodiversity.
About the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
UNEP is the world’s leading voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in environmental protection by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
For more information please contact:
Keisha Rukikaire, Information and Media Officer, United Nations Environment Program
Moses Osani, Media Officer, United Nations Environment Program