World Youth Foundation develops young leaders, cultivates ideas, and accelerates solutions in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2020 Youth & Ocean Conference is a follow-up of the 2019 International Conference on Youth, Ocean and SDG 14 organized by World Youth Foundation in cooperation with various organization in July 2019.
The 2020 Youth & Ocean Conference is in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Number 14 - to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. World Youth Foundation is one of the several NGOs that has signed the Voluntary Commitment of the UN Ocean Conference which produced an outcome document entitled “Our Ocean, Our Future: Call for Action”.
The ocean provides us with the most important basic necessities such as air, water, food, products that are essential to our livelihood which can come from or be transported by the ocean.
More than 97% of the world’s water resides in oceans. It supplies nearly half of the oxygen we breathe, absorbs over a quarter of the carbon dioxide we produce, and plays a vital role in the water cycle and the climate system. About half of the world’s population lives within the coastal area. Oceans provide a sixth of the animal protein we eat.
Oceans play a key role in sustainable development of not only the littoral and island countries but also the land-locked countries. The impacts of human activities in land-locked countries also affect the health of the oceans. In “The Future We Want”, UN Member States stressed the importance of “the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and of their resources for sustainable development, including through their contributions to poverty eradication, sustained economic growth, food security and creation of sustainable livelihoods and decent work, while at the same time protecting biodiversity and the marine environment and addressing the impacts of climate change”.
International law requires a minimum of 10% of marine and coastal areas to be effectively protected by 2020. Today, only 4% of marine and coastal areas are protected by laws and less than 1% is fully enforced. Without surveillance, participatory stewardship and sound environmental accountancy, protected areas fail to provide necessary safe havens and services. This is particularly true for developing countries, which risk losing the valuable marine resources they depend on.
Ocean and land are tightly interconnected. Everything that we do on land has a direct, global, and cascading impact on the ocean. What happens in the oceans affects the entire planet. If the ecosystems do collapse, the earth will no longer be inhabitable. Humanity will have led itself to extinction.
If the oceans are to disappear, humans will not be able to survive. Plants and animals would begin to dry out immediately. Trees will eventually become so dry that fires would span the continents. This would be a multifaceted problem for humans: Aside from the usual problems associated with fire the blazes would release tons of carbon dioxide into the progressively stifling atmosphere, accelerating global warming. As the world burns, the atmosphere would become less and less oxygenated, perhaps becoming unbreathable for humans. The land would fry.
Earth's only survivors would be small colonies of chemosynthetic bacteria hidden underground in hot springs. Without oceans, everyone else dies.
Young people are directly affected on these issues, therefore, actively engaging young people is imperative if we want to successfully implement the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 14 (SDG14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development).
Despite being the largest demographic in the world, and the most at risk, youth commonly have the smallest voice when it comes to engagement. Young people need to actively start driving change because the world we will all inherit is shaped by the actions and decisions of today.
This 2020 Youth & Ocean Conference proposes to hear from the youth how they are overcoming the challenges on issues pertaining to ocean conservation and how youth are sustaining and improving the health of our oceans, among others.
The Conference will provide an opportunity for young people from around the globe to discuss, find solutions, share best practices and develop innovative projects on ocean issues pertaining to marine protected areas, climate change, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, ocean acidification and sustainable blue economy among others.
Through discussions, capacity building workshops and networking youth delegates will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience on how to lead projects and campaigns, inspire their community about ocean sustainability, and push their skills and ambitions to the next level. The aim is to develop youth leaders, cultivate ideas, and accelerate solutions in the field of ocean health and sustainability.