Press Release

Case for greater global ocean action made at Beijing Blue Talks

06 June 2022

Beijing, 6 June 2022 – Ahead of the upcoming 2022 UN Ocean Conference (UNOC) to be held from 27 June to 1 July in Lisbon, Portugal, the United Nations in China, the Embassy of Kenya in Beijing, and the Embassy of Portugal in Beijing co-hosted the Beijing Blue Talks last Friday, 3 June, to highlight the importance of Ocean-related issues.

Beijing Blue Talks poster
Caption: Beijing Blue Talks poster

The UN Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, comes at a critical time as the world is seeking to address the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Beijing Blue Talks were held under the theme “Leveraging Interlinkages Between Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life Below Water) and other Goals Towards the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda” in recognition of the importance of oceans, seas, and marine resources to sustainable development and to enhance active participation from public institutions and the private sector in the UN Ocean Conference.

“Oceans matter. They underpin poverty eradication and food security, are a source of employment and livelihoods and support the well-being of humans and the planet…I hope that the Beijing Blue Talks can humbly contribute locally to that aim, raising awareness in China to the highly important subjects and goals of the UNOC and, with that, trigger the debate and strengthen the interest in China about Ocean-related issues,” said José Augusto Duarte, Ambassador of Portugal to China, in his welcoming remarks at the Blue Talks.

José Augusto Duarte, Ambassador of Portugal to China at Beijing Blue Talks
Caption: José Augusto Duarte, Ambassador of Portugal to China at Beijing Blue Talks

Attendees and speakers from government, diplomatic missions in China, international and intergovernmental organizations, academia, and think tanks joined the Blue Talks, held in a primarily online format and moderated by Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative of UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office.

“It is my firm belief that SDG 14 and the sustainable blue economy are crucial for humanity's future on this planet. The ocean's health is vital to us all…and the oceans health is measurably in decline. 2022’s highlight opportunity for SDG 14 progress will be the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. There we will launch a great fleet of science-based solutions heavily powered by innovation and partnerships, and I urge you all to bring the best of your ideas, solutions, and resources to the Conference,” said Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, in a video message at the Blue Talks.

Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean at Beijing Blue Talks
Caption: Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean at Beijing Blue Talks

Partnerships and solutions for a sustainably managed Ocean involving green technology and innovative uses of marine resources were frequently highlighted by speakers at the Beijing Blue Talks as necessary to address the interconnected global challenges of the health, ecology, economy, and governance of the Ocean, along with the implementation of the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“We in Kenya have been extremely pleased with the amount of energy and engagement that has been generated by the Blue Talks globally…somehow, we have to make the investments around science to make sure that science itself becomes part of that transformative change we need to save our oceans,” said Macharia Kamau, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, in a video message at the Blue Talks.

Macharia Kamau, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya at Beijing Blue Talks
Caption: Macharia Kamau, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya at Beijing Blue Talks

Attendees at the Blue Talks were later invited to listen to a panel discussion with speakers from China, Kenya, Portugal, and the UN to discuss further linkages between SDG 14 & other Goals, along with the potential for scaling up of ocean action based on science and innovation in China.

“With the rapid development of human civilization, countries, whether developed or developing, have to deal with an important balance. The ocean is an important space for the development of human society. The basic principle is to balance between marine conservation and human wellbeing, which should be adhered to for green development,” said JIANG Xiaoyi, Director, Marine Information Department, National Marine Data and Information Service.

Panel discussion at Beijing Blue Talks
Caption: Panel discussion at Beijing Blue Talks

Following the panel discussion, the Ambassadors of Bangladesh, Iran, and Sri Lanka to China expressed their countries’ commitment to the Ocean agenda while highlighting the challenges they face, before the UN Resident Coordinator delivered a vote of thanks to participants at the Blue Talks.

The Ambassadors of Bangladesh, Iran, and Sri Lanka at the Beijing Blue Talks
Caption: The Ambassadors of Bangladesh, Iran, and Sri Lanka at Beijing Blue Talks
Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China at Beijing Blue Talks
Caption: Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China at Beijing Blue Talks

“China’s efforts are critical if we are to realize SDG 14. With its many thousand kilometres of coastline and numerous islands, China has a vibrant Ocean economy and thus has a crucial role to play in the reduction of Ocean pollution and Ocean ecosystem protection. Moreover, as one of the world’s most advanced technology powerhouses, China has much to offer for data sharing and research in the advancement of SDG 14,” said Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China.

 

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Louise Xi LI, Head of Communications, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in China

Tel: +8610-85320725, Email: xi.li@un.org    

 

Case for greater global ocean action made at Beijing Blue Talks

UN entities involved in this initiative

RCO
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative