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Jun 12, 2017 - Save Our Ocean: Peace Boat supports the implementation of SDG 14 at The Ocean Conference
Peace Boat was honoured to host the kick off to The Ocean Conference in Sweden
Peace Boat was a proud participant and supporter of the The High LevelUnited Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The Ocean Conference which convened at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June 2017 was co-hosted by the governments of Sweden and Fiji. It is the first High Level conference dedicated to the implementation of a single SDG and seen by many as key to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a committed campaigner for the 2030 Agenda, Peace Boat was honoured to host an event onboard its ship with the Global Goals logo on the side of the hull while it was docked in Sweden on June 2, the Friday before the conference. The event onboard Peace Boat was described by the Swedish government as the 'kick-off' for The Ocean Conference and brought together political leaders, civil society representatives, academia and youth to discuss ocean health, and expectations for the conference. (A full report on the Stockholm event can be seen here.)

Peace Boat and the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY encouraged visitors to register their voluntary commitments to SDG 14.
To raise awareness of The Ocean Conference in New York, Peace Boat was an official Core Supporter of the World Ocean Festival. This public event hosted by the City of New York and organized bythe Global Brain Foundation aimed to raise peoples' voices for the preservation and sustainable use of our oceans. The festival which took place the day before the Conference was attended by H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Ms. Amina J.Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Mr. Wu Hongbo, Secretary-General for the Ocean Conference and UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) Under-Secretary General. Speakers at the event included ocean experts and scientists including Dr. Sylvia Earle. The World Ocean Festival featured an Ocean March with several boats on the Hudson and East Rivers, a Youth Rally and an Ocean Village. Peace Boat partnered with the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, which promotes UN programmes on Sustainable Development for the Post-2015 Agenda, to hold an exhibit focused on Voluntary Commitments for SDG 14. Peace Boat shared its Voluntary Commitment of the Ecoship and encouraged visitors to register their own personal commitments for the implementation of SDG 14.

The Ocean Conference was opened in the United Nations General Assembly with a Fijian Kava Ceremony.
On June 5, In the United Nations Headquarters in New York, world leaders convened for a full week for the conference that was dedicated to ocean welfare and SDG 14. Approximately 4,000 delegates attended the conference, including 16 Heads of State or Government, two deputy Prime Ministers, 86 Ministers, 16 Vice Ministers, and other government representatives; and participants from the UN system, other intergovernmental organizations, international and regional financial institutions, civil society, academic and research institutions, indigenous peoples and local communities, and the private sector. Peace Boat's delegation attended the full conference, participating in plenary, partnership dialogues, numerous side events. The delegation was honoured to participate in the Opening Ceremony that featured a traditional Fijian Kava Ceremony. Small Island Developing States such as Fiji have been disproportionately affected by both ocean degradation and climate change. Fiji is presiding over the Ocean Conference and the 23rd Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23). The Ocean Conference was opened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Isabella Lvin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, who was onboard Peace Boat the Friday before, and Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama were inaugurated as Conference Co-Presidents. The conference was largely considered a success in building momentum for the implementation of SDG 14, as a central rather than isolated component of the 2030 Agenda. It produced three outcomes: an intergovernmentally agreed Call for Action; a registry of voluntary commitments; and key messages from the partnership dialogues.

Yoshioka Tatsuya addresses the UN on ocean acidification and presents the Ecoship as a solution to carbon emissions.
Seven partnership dialogues were an official part of The Ocean Conference. Interactive and multi-stakeholder in nature, they focused on recommendations to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. Peace Boat Founder and Director, Yoshioka Tatsuya presented Peace Boat's Ecoship in the partnership dialogue focused on "Minimizing and addressing ocean acidification" co-chaired by Monaco and Mozambique. Ocean acidification is a threat to marine organisms, ecosystems, services, and resources and its mitigation and long-term control depends on the reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Yoshioka spoke about the technology used onboard the Ecoship including solar panels, ten retractable sails and increased energy efficiency. "With such technology existing nowadays we can build such a ship, and reduce CO2 emissions by 40%" he said. The Ecoship will be fitted with laboratories for marine research on ocean acidification including in coastal areas where data is lacking. Peace Boat will partner with academic, governmental and private institutions for further research into ocean acidification as a contribution to target 14a. The Ecoship was the first voluntary commitment to SDG 14 from civil society.

Yoshioka Tatsuya with H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly
During The Ocean Conference, the Peace Boat delegation were honoured to meet with H.E. Mr Peter Thomson, President of the 71st United Nations General Assembly. Mr Thomson congratulated and expressed his appreciation for Peace Boat for being the first civil society organisation to submit a Voluntary Commitment at the preparatory meeting for the conference in February, and listened as Peace Boat's Founder and Director explained more about the project and Peace Boat's commitment to mitigating climate change and ocean degradation. They discussed Peace Boat's history of learning from people-to-people contact and experiences of visiting Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by ship and hearing from local people about their first hand experiences. Yoshioka shared with Mr. Thomson Peace Boat's Voluntary Commitment to SDG 14 of the Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Programme, which will bring youth from SIDS to Europe and New York onboard Peace Boat to give testimony of the effects of ocean degradation and climate change.

The Ocean and Youth Ambassador Programme was announced at Peace Boat's Side Event
The Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Programme was publicly announced at Peace Boat's Side Event at the Ocean Conference and subsequently shared with the media through a press release, available online here. The youth will embark upon Peace Boat's 95th Voyage in Europe in September 2017 and connect with civil society and governments in Spain, Portugal France, the United Kingdom and Iceland. Participants will give testimony of their experiences and the impact of climate change and marine degradation on their communities, highlight the outcomes of The Ocean Conference and create a Youth Call for Action. The Side Event, which was co-sponsored by the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, was entitled "From Awareness Raising to Action: the Role of Civil Society and Youth". It focused on key issues of the Ocean Conference including the impact on SIDS and the key role of youth in achieving the SDGs including SDG 14. Keynote speaker at the Side Event was Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations and Chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, who shared that "we have been working tirelessly to bring to attention the dangers Small Island Developing States are facing due to climate change and rising sea levels. The collaboration with Peace Boat can make great strides in spreading awareness to widespread communities, informing them of lessons learned and best practices on climate change adaptation, [and] providing a platform for knowledge sharing... This sort of interaction and dialogue and this sort of collaboration and awareness is invaluable."

Peace Boat's side event focused on the role of youth and civil society
Peace Boat was honoured to have on the panel Senator Sherwood Tibon of Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Jon Bruno of The International Ecotourism Society . Key youth representation came from Mr. Desmond Doulatram, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Ms. Briana Whylie, DPI Youth Delegateand Ms. Milka Rodriguez, SDGs Youth Scholar and Environmentalist. Mr. Doulatram spoke about his experiences in the Marshall Islands where he founded a number of NGOs working on key issues of climate change and ocean degradation including the devastating impact of nuclear testing on the Pacific Ocean and Marshallese people. Both Mr. Doulatram and Senator Tibon's interventions raised a key issue in ocean welfare that had so far been missing from the discussion at the conference, that of the devastating impact of nuclear radiation on the ocean. The side event was attended by delegates from a wide range of backgrounds including many youth delegates who posed questions to the panel specifically on youth engagement. Peace Boat was also represented at a side-event organised by the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY by Ms. Emilie McGlone.

Yoshioka was on the first panel of the SDGs Media Zone where he spoke about marine pollution and introduced Ecoship.
Public outreach and awareness raising was an important part of The Ocean Conference as organisers aimed to increase widespread awareness of the important role of the ocean publicly as well as amongst delegates. The conference made use of both traditional and social media with the hashtag #SaveOurOcean. Yoshioka Tatsuya was on the first panel of the SDG Media Zone broadcast from the United Nations Headquarters. The panel, which focused on marine pollution, showcased initiatives aimed at reducing marine pollution, target 14.1 of SDG 14. Yoshioka was joined by Kenny Young of Artists Projects Earth and Stefano Ciafani of Legambiente. Yoshioka stressed the important role that the shipping industry must play in addressing SDG 14, with particular reference to target 14.1. He introduced Ecoship which will be fitted with closed water and closed waste loop systems onboard for zero discharge and close to zero waste to mitigate marine pollution. Yoshioka closed stressing the importance of education for achieving not only SDG 14 but all the Sustainable Development Goals. Peace Boat will continue to sail to raise awareness of the importance of ocean health, climate action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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