“All Hands on Deck:” Celebrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Peace Boat’s 40th Anniversary in New York City

Oct 4, 2023

Immediately following the United Nations General Assembly High-level Week, including the SDG and Climate Ambition Summits, Peace Boat’s new ship the MV Pacific World visited New York City on September 30, 2023 for the first time since the pandemic as part of its 115th Global Voyage, having departed from Japan in mid-August. The occasion also marked Peace Boat’s 40th Anniversary, since our first voyage set sail on September 2, 1983.

We were truly excited to welcome more than 500 guests from New York to participate in the special event “Sailing for Change - Partnerships for SDGs Celebration onboard Peace Boat,” bringing together partners working to find innovative solutions to accelerate climate action, share best practices for responsible ocean stewardship, and build momentum for peace, nuclear disarmament, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The event was opened by remarks from United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, Ms Melissa Fleming, who eloquently reminded participants that “the pursuit of peace goes hand in hand with the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals: 17 goals that would allow us to live in a world of peace, dignity, and equality on a healthy planet.”

This opening was followed by two panels featuring representatives from the youth, diplomatic, business and science communities, introducing their concrete initiatives and visions for blue economy - ocean innovation and partnership for the SDGs.

A highlight was the presentation by Youth Ocean Leaders from the Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI), seven young ocean advocates from diverse regions of the world, who travelled onboard Peace Boat from Guatemala several weeks before, participating in a programme of learning and exchange on issues such as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), ecosystem restoration, community- and nature-based solutions and the Blue Economy, including experiential study in Guatemala, Panama, Jamaica and Miami.

The presentations were complemented by exhibitions including the Conscious Fashion + Lifestyle Network, coordinated by the UN Office for Partnerships, local sustainable jewellery designer VALSE NYC, and TRUE BLUE, a project taking place onboard Peace Boat’s current voyage to gather marine garbage through beach cleans in ports of call and “upcyle” this into accessories.

In celebration of Peace Boat’s 40th anniversary, participants also had the chance to view traditional Japanese festival and cultural activities such as noh, taiko and kagamibiraki sake barrel opening. Accompanied by music by Camila Celin and DJ Tim Sharp, with visuals by Vexta, the partnership reception presented opportunities for networking and exchange between speakers, participants, and partners from various fields and backgrounds. As stated by Under-Secretary-General Fleming, “We need all hands on deck!”