The 4th Ocean Forum organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), to be held from April 6-8, 2022, will aim to discuss how to move towards a sustainable ocean economy. Among all the topics and aspects to be discussed will be the social sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture value chains.

“It is an opportunity to find solutions to use trade as a tool to protect our ocean and its resources, accelerating the implementation of the trade-related targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14,” the United Nations agency said on its website.

The new edition of the Oceans Forum, which will be held in both virtual and face-to-face formats from Switzerland, has been presented as a unique platform to identify ways to change course.

The high-level opening of the Oceans Forum will address the challenges and opportunities for the ocean economy to contribute to a sustainable and resilient post-crisis recovery for all countries.

Bringing together all stakeholders

Over three days, the forum will bring together experts and representatives from UN agencies, regional bodies, governments, civil society organizations and scientific and research institutions to address issues such as the social sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture value chains; seaweed production; emerging sectors of the sustainable ocean economy; and transparency and support mechanisms for fisheries subsidies.

Other aspects will be ocean economy markets and reform of non-tariff measures; sustainable and resilient maritime supply chains; trade-related aspects of marine litter and plastic pollution; hybrid format

Necessary registration

Taking into account the current COVID-19 security measures, the forum will be held as a hybrid event. It is open to the public, but registration is required.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Mauritius to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, Usha Dwarka-Canabady, will chair the forum and consolidate the forum’s conclusions and recommendations in an official report to be sent to the governments of Portugal and Kenya, co-organizers of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, to be held in Lisbon from June 27 to July 1. 

Sustaining the livelihoods of about 3 billion people worldwide

Ocean resources support the livelihoods of some 3 billion people worldwide, the vast majority of whom live in developing countries. But those livelihoods are under threat, as the ocean and its ability to sustain life are under serious threat from human activities such as pollution and overfishing.

It is estimated that between 5 and 12 million tons of plastic reach the ocean, which represents 95% of our planet’s biosphere, every year. And due to overfishing, the percentage of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels fell from 90% in 1990 to less than 66% in 2017.

Accelerate the implementation of trade facilitation reforms

Moreover, UNCTAD’s global forum for national trade facilitation committees (NTFCs) was held online from 1 to 4 February to examine how to accelerate the implementation of trade facilitation reforms through these committees during and after the pandemic.

Trade facilitation entails expediting the clearance of goods to reduce the time and cost of import, export and transit procedures to ensure the free flow of goods across borders.

“Covid-19 has been a stark reminder that the pains caused by trade disruptions are real. These pains were already daily realities for people in vulnerable nations, who rely on trade for essential goods,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan.

“Making it easier and less costly to move goods across seas and borders is critical to ensuring a sustainable and inclusive recovery. Because trade is about people and about improving their lives,” Grynspan said.

The forum offered an opportunity to members of National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFC), policymakers and other relevant stakeholders to discuss the latest trends in the implementation of trade facilitation reforms and share insights on good practices.

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