UN Ocean Conference opens with calls for united action to reverse human

Speaking in the UN General Assembly Hall, Secretary-General António Guterres cautioned Governments that unless they overcome short-term territorial and resource interests, the state of the oceans will continue to deteriorate.“Improving the health of our oceans is a test for multilateralism, and we cannot afford to fail,” the Secretary-General said addressing his first major UN conference since taking on his post. “We must jointly address the problems of governance that have held us back,” he said, calling for a new strategic vision of how to govern the oceans and marine resources. One of the main challenges, he said, is to end “the artificial dichotomy” between jobs and healthy oceans: “The conservation and sustainable use of marine resources are two sides of the same coin.” He called for strong political leadership and new partnerships, based on the existing legal framework, and concrete steps, such as expanding marine protected areas and reducing plastic waste pollution. Among other specific actions, Mr. Guterres urged Governments to allocate the promised funding for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as well as improving data collection and sharing their best experiences. These works are supported by the UN, he added, which among its work, is building partnerships with Governments, the private sector, civil society and others, and working with international financial institutions to allocate resources. AUDIO: In his opening remarks to The Ocean Conference UN chief António Guterres pleas Member States to put aside short-term national gain in order to protect the ocean. Also speaking at the opening was Wu Hongbo, the Secretary-General of The Ocean Conference, who pointed out that without oceans and seas, where would be no life on the planet. Mr. Wu, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted that everyone must work together – not in silos – to achieve the goals of the Conference. The Ocean Conference, which runs through Friday, focuses on the targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by Governments in 2015. In particular among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 14 highlights the need to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources to benefit present and future generations. The main areas of work at The Ocean Conference will be a political call to action, a segment on partnership dialogues and voluntary commitments. Hundreds of commitments were already registered by the time the conference opened earlier today. Additional discussions with high-level officials, actors and activists will take place in the SDG Media Zone. VIDEO: Opening the Ocean Conference, UN officials stressed the need to protect and conserve the world’s oceans for future generations. Credit: UN NewsAlso addressing the thousands of participants – including heads of State and Government, civil society representatives, business people, as well as actors, and ocean and marine life advocates – was the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson. “The time has come for us to correct our wrongful ways,” said Mr. Thomson, who hails from the island of Fiji, which is co-hosting the event alongside Sweden. He spoke out against “inexcusable” actions, such as dumping the equivalent of one large garbage truck of plastic into the oceans every minute of every day, driving fish stocks to the points of collapse, and destroying marine life through acidification and deoxygenation.“We are here on behalf of humanity to restore sustainability, balance and respect to our relationship with our primal mother, the source of life, the Ocean,” he noted. read more

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Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies in planning row over Cardiff Bay zip

Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies is in a planning row over a proposal to build a zip wire outside his waterside home.Mr Davies, who lives in Cardiff, south Wales, has lodged a formal complaint about plans to install a 360 metre wire across Cardiff Bay because it will be “impossible” for him to work with thousands of people “whizzing past” his flat.The City Zip Company, who are behind the plan, have proposed to build the attraction from the top of the five-star St David’s Hotel to a landing spot next to the historic Norwegian Church across the Bay.But 56-year-old Mr Davies – who is also behind the BBC series Years and Years – sent in an objection to Cardiff City Council saying the installation will affect his ability to write.“My property will be facing a seven-day-a-week zip wire with 48 people an hour whizzing past my home and screaming for six months of the year. Are you kidding?,” he said. “I write for a living. I’m a television scriptwriter; I brought Doctor Who to Cardiff in 2005; the BBC Studio, Roath Lock, across the Bay, was built under my aegis. The current Doctor is played by Jodie WhittakerCredit: James Pardon/BBC “That facility brings, from Doctor Who alone, £24m of business per annum to Cardiff. But you’re now suggesting that I sit, in my Cardiff home, and write, with 48 people an hour flying past, screaming, for six months of the year.” “I paid £350,000 for my apartment and this zipwire, if it goes ahead, will render it worthless to me.”Please abandon this reckless and unneighbourly venture.”  Jodie Whittaker However Mr Davies disagreed, saying: “One person screaming past my windows would be a one-off event. It could even be fun! But 48 people per hour, eight hours a day for 24 weeks equals a grand total of 64,512 events.”That’s 64,512 events. Let me say it again. 64,512 people. Whizzing past my flat. Screaming. While I am working.”This is impossible.”Mr Davies was joined by several other Cardiff Bay residents in objecting to the build, including fellow screenwriter Andrew Davies, best known for House of Cards and Bridget Jones’ Diary. Andrew, who lives in an eighth floor apartment next to the St Davids Hotel looking out over the inner bay, said: “I am a writer and I need peace and quiet for my work. This scheme would mean that screaming idiots would whiz past my apartment 48 times an hour.”The other main reason for having this apartment is to sit on the balcony and enjoy the calm and tranquil view out over the bay. Some hopes! If the planning application is successful, the zip wire could be opened before January 2020 for the summer and weekends.The developers behind it believe the route has been “sensitively positioned to ensure minimal impact upon local views, nearby heritage assets and nearby occupants.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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