Morocco, Portugal at ‘Forefront’ of Oceans Advocacy – Portuguese Diplomat
Rabat – Morocco and Portugal will remain “at the forefront” of oceans advocacy, said Monday in Sidi Bouknadel, Portuguese Ambassador to Morocco, Bernardo Futscher Pereira.
“Morocco and Portugal will remain, I am sure and certain, at the forefront of advocacy and action for the oceans,” said Futscher Pereira, who was speaking at the opening of the “Blue Talk”, an international conference held by the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection in partnership with the Embassy of Portugal in Morocco.
The diplomat praised the Foundation’s “extraordinary dedication” to the protection of the oceans, particularly against marine pollution.
Morocco and Portugal, “two countries bordering the Atlantic with thousands of kilometers of coastline, large territorial seas and huge exclusive economic zones (….) are directly affected by this issue and as neighbors and friends, we must work together” to face these challenges, he said at the event which aimed “to prepare the United Nations Conference on the Oceans”, slated on June 27-July 1 in Lisbon.
The Lisbon conference is intended to support efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG14) “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” and will be dedicated to the theme “Oceans: Scaling up science and innovation for the implementation of SDG14: stocktaking, partnership and solutions”, the ambassador said.
“At a time when the international community is unfortunately very divided on many issues, it is particularly important that we are able to continue working together to overcome the challenges that concern us most, that concern humanity as a whole,” insisted the Portuguese diplomat.
“The action of governments is certainly decisive, but it is not enough. The involvement of the civil society is also necessary,” he said, stressing the importance of mobilizing intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, NGOs, universities and the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and the youth.
The Lisbon conference will feature a “rich program” that will address the issue of the oceans from all angles as well as an interactive dialogue on a number of topics such as marine pollution, marine and coastal ecosystems protection, and ocean warming, he said.
An investment forum on the sustainable blue economy, a youth and innovation forum, and a high-level symposium on water will be held in Lisbon to address the full water cycle and explore the synergies between SDG 14 and SDG 6 “drinking water and sanitation,” according to Futscher Pereira.
“The success of this conference will depend on our collective ability to inspire and mobilize the political will of the international community, generate new ideas, harness scientific knowledge and innovation, engage youth, and leverage the financial resources needed to implement measures” that will allow future generations to keep oceans healthy, he concluded.