Ocean Protection Plan Presented at UNESCO

Paris, Nov 2. -A group of UN organizations have presented at the 36th UNESCO General Conference a plan to protect oceans and coasts, which are threatened by environmental deterioration.The document warns about the risk run by large aquifers, which function as regulators of climate and sources of food and support for millions of people.

Titled Blueprint for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability, the document proposes a set of measures, including filling gaps in maritime law and supporting the development of small island states.

It also envisages an intensification of research on sea acidification and the ways to curb it, and an increase in the capacities of scientific observation of oceans and coasts.

According to the text, 60 percent of maritime ecosystems are deteriorated or are not used appropriately, causing heavy economic and social damages.

The vulnerability of densely populated coasts increased due to the loss of 30-50 percent of mangrove swamps and a one-fifth decrease in coral reefs compared to the number that existed half a century ago.

The text says that although the international community committed to addressing these issues at the summits of Rio de Janeiro (1992) and Johannesburg (2002), most of the agreements have yet to be implemented.

The document, which will be submitted to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio+20), to be held in June 2012, notes that only a few countries have issued laws to regulate sea pollution due to human activity, and therefore, the volume of areas biologically dead have increased. (Prensa Latina)