WWF International calls for ocean protection to avoid triple crisis

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The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International called for a coordinated global action plan to avoid a triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

“We are facing a triple crisis. The three crises are all interconnected because the planet is a single, interconnected ecosystem. Any pressure on any Earth system will affect the rest,” Marco Lambertini, director-general of WWF International, told Xinhua via video from the ongoing UN Ocean Conference.

The conference, co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Portugal and currently taking place in Lisbon, Portugal from 27 June to 1 July, seeks to mobilize global action for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources based on science drive innovative solutions.

According to the conference, the ocean “is not only ‘the lungs of the planet’ but also its largest carbon sink, a vital buffer against the effects of climate change”.

The ocean, which covers 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, is the planet’s largest biosphere and is home to up to 80 percent of all life on Earth. It creates 50 percent of the oxygen we need, absorbs 25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, and captures 90 percent of the extra heat created by those emissions.

Earlier this month, at the 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, members of the World Trade Organization agreed to curb harmful fisheries subsidies that lead to overfishing, an agreement Lambertini called a “historic achievement”.

“This is a very significant first step to end the subsidies for illegal and unreported and unregulated fishing, subsidies for overexploited stocks and also subsidies for currently unregulated marine areas,” said the head of the Swiss-based independent conservation organization with a global network that operates in nearly 100 countries and regions.

“We have lost so much nature in the last few decades. We are still losing nature today. We must stop, we must turn back, and we must be nature positive by 2030…By effectively protecting nature, we protect ourselves and our future,” Lambertini said.

“It is in everyone’s interests, developed economies, developing countries, to actually come together on a common plan that addresses climate change and nature loss. Hopefully leaders will understand that the only way to address these issues is to really agree on a common plan,” he said.

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