UnionPay International seals a deal with NASCU to roll out UnionPay cards

LUSAKA, Zambia, July 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — UnionPay International (UPI) today proudly announces a new partnership with National Association of Savings and Credit Unions (NASCU), the apex organisation for all financial cooperatives in Zambia, to issue UnionPay debit Card. This new partnership empowers rural and urban savings groups, village banking, and other forms of cooperative society members to aid savings and investments. These groups’ earnings primarily depend on agricultural activities, mining, small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The NASCU Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Febian Mubuyaeta reiterated that most cooperatives in both rural and urban areas in Zambia depend mainly on doing cash business. The partnership between NASCU and UnionPay provides support to all forms of savings groups, village banking, and other multipurpose cooperatives involved in pooling members’ savings deposits and shares to finance their loan portfolios.

“We are thrilled to combine efforts with NASCU to ensure Zambian populations have easy, secure, and convenient payment access to their funds that help them accomplish their goals”, stated Mr. Asad Burney, Head of UnionPay International African Branch.

The program’s target is to be extended to reach a million members in three years. Currently, more than 90% of merchants in Zambia accept UnionPay cards. These cardholders can also use their UnionPay cards conveniently in 180 countries and regions.

No Fruit Should be Forbidden: Dole Sunshine Company Urges His Holiness to Redeem the Apple

The lighthearted letter looks to update the apple from Original Sin to Original Snack, and shine the global spotlight on the importance of good nutrition for all

SINGAPORE, July 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The calamity of original sin – and the apple’s role in it – is undeniably the most catastrophic PR disaster fruit has ever faced. Today, in honor of International Fruit Day, the Dole Sunshine Company (DSC) issued an open letter to His Holiness, Pope Francis, via La Repubblica, seeking absolution for the apple. DSC is asking to redeem the reputation of fruit to celebrate it as the Original ‘Healthy’ Snack instead.

For thousands of years the apple has faced this vilification after Eve took a bite from the ‘forbidden fruit’ in the Garden of Eden. In a fun but hopefully fruitful manner, DSC is looking to reverse this vilification and has requested Pope Francis to absolve fruit of its misconceived role in Original Sin. The letter – a humorous and unprecedented plea to the Pontiff – is meant to spark global dialogue around the importance of fruit for a nutritious diet and focus in on fruit’s benefits and overall global accessibility.

“We understand that requesting this change is a bold and provocative ask, and we of course mean no disrespect to His Holiness or The Church,” said Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President of Dole Packaged Foods & Beverages Group. “We believe if we can resolve this misrepresentation of fruit, we can start a new global narrative that focuses on its benefits, and creates new, healthier eating habits that are consistent to our purpose to bring good nutrition to all.”

Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, a subsidiary of Dole International Holdings, is a leader in sourcing, processing, distributing and marketing fruit products and healthy snacks throughout the world. Dole markets a full line of canned, jarred, cup, frozen and dried fruit products and is an innovator in new forms of packaging and processing fruits and vegetables. For more information please visit Dole.com. (PRNewsFoto/Dole Packaged Foods, LLC)

The letter – published in the only newspaper Pope Francis has stated he reads – respectfully points out that even though the apple was never mentioned by name in the Bible, that this fruit, in particular, has been the recipient of slander since it was wrongfully associated with Original Sin. And, in a world where there are clearly more sinful and decadent foods to reach for, the apple should no longer be considered forbidden. Rather, DSC argues that fruit itself can be the hero, and the impetus for a change in conversation around healthy eating and a driver for better nutrition globally.

DSC concludes the letter with this humble, yet compelling request to Pope Francis:

“For all these reasons and more, we humbly ask for the absolution that only you can offer. A tiny change that can change the world. Would you consider amending the Bible? Just a tiny word. Replacing ‘fruit’ for any other unhealthy food, for instance? Just an idea. If that request sounds a bit too ambitious, no worries. We get it. Maybe then a message of support would go a long way to restoring the world’s faith in our beloved fruits.”

View the letter in full – which appeared today in Pope Francis’ newspaper of choice, La Repubblica – at DoleSunshine.com.

About Dole Sunshine Company

The name Dole Sunshine Company is used to represent the global interests and combined efforts of Dole Asia Holdings, Dole Worldwide Packaged Foods and Dole Asia Fresh. Dole Sunshine Company is not an actual business entity and does not operate as such in any country or region. For more information on Dole Sunshine Company, please visit DoleSunshine.com.

About the Dole Promise

In June 2020 Dole Asia Holdings announced The Dole Promise, with its three pillars around nutrition, sustainability, and the creation of shared value.

Better for People: Access to sustainable nutrition for 1 billion people by 2025, moving towards zero processed sugar in all Dole Packaged Foods products by 2025.

Better for Planet: Working towards zero fruit loss from Dole farms to markets by 2025, aiming for zero fossil-based plastic packaging by 2025. Working towards net zero carbon emissions in Dole operations by 2030.

Better for all Stakeholders: Dole will continue to positively impact all farmers, communities and people working for Dole – through its commitment to equal opportunity, living wages, and an ever-increasing level of safety, nutrition, and wellbeing. The company also seeks to advance human rights within the direct operations and supply chains by building a culture of transparency and accountability. The company also aims for a 50% increase in the value of its business by 2025.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1851554/Dole_Unforbidden_Fruit.jpg
Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/152677/dole_packaged_foods_logo.jpg

In Somalia, women and children are bearing the brunt of the Horn of Africa drought

Thirst and hunger are driving people to make perilous journeys on foot to reach safety

They buried five-year-old Mohamed in a shallow grave, in a place unknown, where his family had briefly stopped to rest. “We had no food, no water … he was malnourished and exhausted and he didn’t survive,” says his mother, Mido.

With four other children to care for and many days of travel ahead, the 25-year-old said a short goodbye and carried on walking. Eventually, the young family made it to the Kabasa camp in Dolow, a town on the banks of the Dawa river, along the border of Somalia and Ethiopia.

I meet Mido and her 12-month-old daughter, Fatun, at a health centre funded by the World Food Programme (WFP), some ten days after their arrival there. Her feet are finally starting to heal from the month-long journey, but her grief is raw. Like her children, she is thin and hungry.

“We left our home because we had nothing left – we just had drought and hunger,” says Mido. “We were pastoralists and had cattle and camels, but we lost all our livestock and when our final animals died that was it. There was no water, no food for my children, no way to get money.”

In the days that follow, I talk to other women. Ambiyo, Ayan and Dahera all tell versions of the same story of hunger and years of relentless drought – dwindling resources, dying and dead livestock, no rain, no food.

They each recount long journeys walking day and night, carrying and cajoling small children to keep them moving in search of refuge. Sparse sips of dirty water, worried that waterborne diseases will take their children if the thirst and hunger do not. Or worse: that if they stop walking, armed men will take them all. All of the women tell me that they feel safer here in Dolow but they need more help – because can’t I see that the rains have not arrived?

Drought drives the threat of famine

The drought is most visible from the air. Rivers and tributaries that should be flowing stretch out across the landscape, cracked and grey. I’m visiting in what should be a rainy season, but no rain falls. Even if it did, it would be too little too late.

The patterns of rain in this part of the world mean that traditionally there are two growing seasons each year; and every few years or so communities brace for, and can cope with, drought. In times of scarcity families would stockpile food, or sell off prized livestock to provide a financial buffer to purchase food and water. Things would be lean, but they’d be able to cope until the rains came again.

Increasingly, however, the rains aren’t falling. When they do, they’re inconsistent and short. Scorching temperatures are pummelling the region on a more frequent basis. Since 2008 there has been a drought every single year; 2011’s led to widespread famine across the Horn of Africa. Now, the risk of famine looms over Somalia again.

“In the past few weeks, we have seen malnutrition rates triple,” says Jama Mohamud Ahmed, a WFP programme policy officer in Dolow. “These families have now lived with drought for years and women and children are walking 200-300 kilometres to come here because they know they can get support.

“When they get here, they need immediate life-saving assistance, but we don’t have the resources we need to support all those at risk. And both the drought and the ongoing insecurity will mean that more and more people will continue to arrive in need of our help.”

In recent months, WFP has been drastically scaling up the life-saving food and nutrition assistance that it provides in Somalia, racing against time to avert another famine. With the support of donors and partners, we’re now reaching more people than ever before in the country with desperately needed relief: more than 3.5 million in June alone.

But as the devastating drought continues, the numbers of hungry people keep growing. More than 7 million people face critical food insecurity. And while we are working to scale up even further, aiming to get food and nutrition support to almost 5 million Somalis in coming weeks, there is no immediate end in sight to the crisis. Early forecasts for the next rainy season are dismal.

WFP needs sustained resources, close to US$300 million over the next six months, to avoid the worst outcomes of the drought – and to continue our investments in longer-term livelihoods, food systems and resilience projects that will enable Somalis to better cope with climate crises.

The day we arrive in Dolow there is a red alert, which means that United Nations workers are at an increased risk of attack or kidnapping. At WFP we’re familiar with working in fragile contexts but the alert is a reminder of how difficult the situation is here – conflict is compounding the climate crisis in Somalia and impacting our ability to reach those most in need.

Dolow has been shaped by successive influxes of people fleeing conflict, drought or, more often, a combination of both. Families are drawn by the relative safety and access to assistance that humanitarian organizations cannot provide in other parts of the country.

“We came here as we heard we would get some help,” explains 24-year-old Ayan. “We left our home because there was no water and our livestock had died.” She adds that Al-Shabaab, one of a number of armed non-state groups driving conflict in Somalia, made the family’s problems worse: “They were attacking us day by day and we lived in fear of them.”

While families like Ayan’s are fleeing direct insecurity within Somalia, they are also indirectly impacted by a conflict that is raging thousands of kilometres away. The war in Ukraine is causing a ripple effect that is compounding a global food crisis, further driving up food prices that were already soaring due to drought, and pushing more families to the precipice of starvation.

WFP estimates that over 880,000 people are struggling for survival as they endure catastrophic hunger in Somalia, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

These terrible conditions impact the most vulnerable first. Ayan’s 18-month-old daughter, Mushtaq, was so severely malnourished when they arrived in Dolow that she weighed just 6.7 kilograms. Four months pregnant, Ayan was barely clinging to life. Today WFP is supporting them both with nutritional therapy and fortified cereals – and prioritizing others, like them, who are most at risk. Yet even then, the help we can offer sometimes comes too late.

I meet 24-year-old Ambiyo in the health centre where her youngest child, Abdi, is receiving therapeutic treatment for malnutrition. “The drought killed everything. Al Shabaab used to target our village as well, so it wasn’t safe where we lived. It took us about a month to get to Dolow. We had to make the kids walk and it is a hard journey – we would rest only when we had to. Fudosa (aged 3) was seriously ill – very malnourished and sick from the dirty water … she died when we got here.”

They buried Fudosa in a small grave, on the outskirts of the camp – in this place where they finally found safety.

Source: World Food Programme

Ukraine Grain Ship On Way To Istanbul Hailed As ‘Relief For World’

The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain was on its way to Istanbul after it set off from the Black Sea port of Odesa on August 1 under a UN-brokered deal, raising moderate hope that a looming global food crisis could be averted.

Ukraine and Russia signed agreements with Turkey and the United Nations on July 22 in Istanbul to free up three of Ukraine’s ports — Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdenniy — which had been blockaded since Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the Razoni cargo ship, flying the flag of Sierra Leone, left Odesa on the morning of August 1, and Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that the vessel was expected in Istanbul on August 2.

“The first grain ship since #RussianAggression has left port. Thanks to the support of all our partner countries & @UN we were able to fully implement the agreement signed in Istanbul,” Kubrakov wrote on Twitter.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba hailed the departure of the first shipment of grain as a “relief for the world.”

“The day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, as the first Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa after months of Russian blockade. Ukraine has always been a reliable partner and will remain one should Russia respect its part of the deal,” Kuleba tweeted.

The Joint Coordination Center, the Istanbul-based organization overseeing the exports, said the Razoni is carrying “over 26,000 metric tons” of maize.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told state-owned Anadolu news agency on August 1 that the Razoni would anchor off the coast of Istanbul around noon GMT on August 2 for a joint inspection.

The news was hailed by the international community, with UN chief Antonio Guterres “warmly” welcoming the move.

“The Secretary-General hopes that this will be the first of many commercial ships moving in accordance with the initiative signed, and that this will bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security, especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts,” the UN said in a statement.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked alliance member Turkey for its “pivotal role.”

“I welcome the first shipment of Ukrainian grain from Odesa under the UN-brokered deal. I thank our ally Turkey for its pivotal role,” Stoltenberg tweeted.

“NATO allies strongly support the full implementation of the deal to ease the global food crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine,” he added.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov hailed the news that the Razoni left Odesa as a “very positive” development and a “good opportunity to test the effectiveness of the mechanisms that were agreed during talks in Istanbul.”

Russia had bombed Odesa a day after agreeing to the deal, raising questions about its commitment to the agreement.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Club of Agrarian Business Associations (UCAB) said on August 1 that Ukraine exported 3 million tons of agricultural produce last month, bypassing its Russia-blocked seaports.

In a statement on Facebook, UCAB said agricultural exports last month grew 12 percent from June, while grain exports rose 21 percent to 1.7 million tons.

More than 20 million tons of grain from last year’s harvest are still awaiting export, according data from Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last week that Ukraine is ready to start shipping the millions of tons of grain sitting at its southern ports.

Ukraine and Russia are two of the world’s largest grain exporters.

News of the expected resumption of grain shipments came as Russian missiles pounded the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolayiv on July 31, killing the owner of a major grain exporter, while a drone strike hit Russia’s Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol.

Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, founder and owner of agriculture company Nibulon, and his wife were killed when a missile hit their home, Mykolayiv Governor Vitaliy Kim announced on Telegram.

Headquartered in Mykolayiv, a strategically important city that borders the Russia-occupied Kherson region, Nibulon specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley, and corn. The company maintains its own fleet and shipyard.

Zelenskiy described the death of Vadaturskiy, who had received the Hero of Ukraine award, as a great loss.

The southern Ukrainian city of Nikopol also came under heavy attack, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk, Valentyn Reznichenko, wrote on Telegram.

He said up to 50 Grad rockets had hit residential areas in Nikopol on July 31, wounding one man and damaging homes and gas and water pipes.

In eastern Ukraine, Russia continued to attempt tactical assaults on the Bakhmut axis, northeast of Donetsk, Britain’s Defense Ministry said in its daily bulletin on August 1, adding that the Russians only managed to make slow progress.

British intel suggested that Russia is probably adjusting its offensive in the Donbas after failing to make a decisive operational breakthrough under the plan it had been following since April.

Zelenskiy has called on the remaining residents of the Donetsk region to urgently evacuate in what he called a “government decision.”

“Everything is being organized. Full support, full assistance — both logistical and payments. We only need a decision from the people themselves, who have not yet made it for themselves,” he said in his nightly address on July 31.

“The sooner it is done, the more people leave Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian Army will have time to kill,” Zelenskiy said.

In Russia-occupied Sevastopol, five Russian Navy staff members were wounded by an explosion after a presumed drone flew into the courtyard of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Crimean port city’s Moscow-appointed governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, told Russian media.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

Interview: ‘The fight against colonial racism is a global one, and it’s a noble one’

Vincent Wong, an assistant professor of law in Canada, researches racial capitalism, the process of extracting social and economic value from a person of a different racial identity. The theory asserts that racialized exploitation and capital accumulation are mutually reinforcing. In his 35-page article titled “Racial capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: analyzing the political economy of racialized dispossession and exploitation in Xinjiang,” which will appear in the fall 2022 edition of the African Journal of International Economic Law, Wong argues that the racial capitalism paradigm can be used to understand the governing logics of political economy behind the development and justification of technologies of repression in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). “The contemporary human rights catastrophe that faces Uyghurs and other non-Han Indigenous peoples in the XUAR is made possible through a latticework of overlapping legal, political, and economic imperatives: settler colonial policies, global economic integration (including the BRI), insufficient international environment and labor protections, the global war on terror, and private-public carceral investments,” he writes. Wong spoke with RFA Uyghur reporter Nuriman Abdureshid about his theory or racial capitalism, how it pertains to Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and why Han Chinese abroad have an obligation to speak up about rights abuses in China’s far-western region. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

RFA: What do you want people to know about your latest article?

Wong: What I’ve tried to do with it is almost like a theoretical intervention to change the way we approach or we think about what is going on here and what are the connections of what is going on in terms of exploitation in the Uyghur heartland with other things that are going on in the world, so that it’s not an isolated [case], but [to think about it in terms of] what is going on in connection with other technologies and the logics of oppression and colonialism to better understand the dynamics.

What I mean by ‘racial capitalism with Chinese characteristics’ without going into too much academic jargon is a particular outlook on governing in China that has emerged since the 1990s. I argue that communist government has moved away from its 1950s’ ideals of socialist multiculturalism, economics and equality towards all ethnicities and has moved towards market liberalization and developmental capitalism, [and] has created exploitative economic structures that have to be justified and managed. I argue that the way this is justified and managed is strongly in part to create racial relations. I argue that they mobilize pre-existing cultural differences — language differences, differences in religion, differences in looks — and create a racial relationship to justify these inequalities, to turn the region into a place where you could have resource extraction [and] labor extraction that [occurs] on a very oppressive and exploitative level. It’s a way of going beyond the human rights frame. The human rights frame is very important, but it just tells us what is going on; it doesn’t tell us much about why it’s going on and who is benefiting from these human rights abuses that dehumanize and subordinate people and that kick people out of their native homes and into prison camps — how race is being deployed for the profit of some and for the dehumanization of others.

In a broad way, what I mean by ‘racial capitalism with Chinese characteristics’ is a theoretical lens to think more deeply about what is happening in Xinjiang [and] how it’s tied to what is happening in many other places in the world, but in different ways and with different histories. What I’m talking about is a particular form of colonial capitalist accumulation that is about the taking of land and resources and appropriating them from some other group and rendering those people exploitable to take away their rights. Then, it’s very easy to create a large labor pool in which we can exploit for profit for capitalist accumulation.

I start with the fact that the relationship between China and this region of the world has always been colonial in nature, but it hasn’t always operated in exactly the same way. For many years, even though China has made a territorial claim to this region, it was largely segregated. You had Han who lived in generally Han areas, and you had Turkic Muslim folks and other ethnicities that lived there, and generally, there wasn’t a lot of assimilation. There wasn’t that much interaction. This changed a lot in the 1990s [with] prominent Han economic migration, what I call settler migration and the need to transform this land for Han Chinese economic purposes … [and] natural resource extraction especially in the Tarim Basin. To do this would be environmentally destructive and a hugely environmentally transformative natural resource extraction industry. In order for China to do this, it has basically followed the pattern of settler colonial capitalist structures in many other places in the world, including in Canada and the U.S. But the history is a little bit different in that there is the actual need to completely transform these areas. To take the land and to extract the resources require removing the people who have native claims to that land in a certain way, so you have to take them out in order to do this kind of colonial capitalist move. That’s part of the reason why you see the massive transformations of the Belt and Road Initiative. It was announced in 2013, but it really started in 2015 and 2016. Around the same time, you saw in 2016 and 2017 the massive increase in securitization in the boarding schools that were created [and the] concentration camps. But it’s not just the concentration camps. That’s what I’m trying to get at. It’s an entire system that’s created to take one group of people or people who are negatively racialized and to strip away their rights through the carceral system and to create a hyper exploitable group of labor for predominantly the benefit of Han Chinese settler interests. The genocide is a result of that. It has a functional operation within this colonial capitalist system.

Making the argument that this is what is happening now is situated in a longer colonial history. Since the Chinese government, the Communist Party, took over in 1949, this is the way that they’ve been talking about it. By tracking the history of the Bingtuan [the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, also known as XPCC, which is a state-owned economic and paramilitary organization in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region] and its modern establishment in 1954, you can see how the colonial project has developed and evolved through this one organization which is almost 90% Han Chinese. It says that it is a colonial paramilitary organization. I tracked the history of its origins because it has shifted a little over time. In the beginning, it had three frontier order goals: the development of land and commercial interests, the settlement of primarily Han Chinese settler migrants in the area, and frontier security. This organization had a very different, almost a subsistence, military form for a very long time until 1988 when it had an enormous transition. The idea that it was going to be playing a much stronger, more powerful role in the transition from a centrally planned socialist economy into a much more developmental capitalist economy and to connect the economy of Xinjiang with global trade, global markets and global capital markets. So the XPPC then blew up and became incorporated. It has over 3 million people right now and controls an enormous kind of GDP and an enormous variety of commercial and land interests. This has been increasing ever since the late 1990s. The Bingtuan is also creating many cities that are preplanned Han Chinese settler cities similar to other settler colonial projects in history and are essentially colonial urban land grabs. To have a settlement city for XPCC commercial folks and their families, they have to displace the native populations. We’ve seen this over the last five or so years. The XPCC system has very powerful and large cotton and tomato interests. It has a weird kind of rivalry with the XUAR regional government because they are supposed to be on a similar level. They are like colonial rivals. Drawing the history of the Bingtuan tells us a lot about the colonial relationship between settlers and Uyghurs and other non-Han folks.

RFA: There have been reports on how the Chinese government is totally changing Uyghur identity, including culture and the way of life. How do you see this?

Wong: Han settler tourism is an industry that is really growing. The [Han Chinese] want to go to Xinjiang and spend their money to see certain kinds of cultural commodities, whether it’s in the north or south. They want to eat the food, see the dances, and to a certain extent see some of the more beautiful mosques. They want to see the traditional clothing. We see this in many places in which there is kind of a colonial imperative. You can have cultural identity, but only if it is commercialized and put into this box to sell, and it’s completely depoliticized from the history, from the colonial relationship, from the relationships of power and exploitation. So, racial capitalism is a really helpful lens. It occurs because it makes money, because the tourist industry wants to sell a vision of Xinjiang that is both safe, interesting and culturally relevant with the dancing, the costumes and the food. But it’s stripped of the cultural struggle, the ongoing fight to save language rights, the ongoing mass incarceration and exploitation of the Uyghur people, the ongoing removal of Uyghur people, and other negatively racialized people from their native land who are put into carceral institutions and unfree labor arrangements. Racial capitalism gives us a tool to understand this better, and who profits from it and why. This is the power of colonial racism and colonial racial discourse. That is so powerfully obvious when you talk to somebody who is different culturally. It says all Uyghur people, all Turkic Muslim people, are potentially terrorists. They’re infected with this extremism tied to their regular everyday activities in terms of their Islamic religious activities or the way they look or, or whether they decide to grow a beard or what they wear. The government is going to go in and help these people become good Chinese citizens. That is the evilness of this colonial civilizational language. If you call it out for what it is, I think it becomes obvious. But the government is able to package it in a way that obscures what is actually happening.

RFA: Why did you tweet that you feel you have an obligation as a Han Chinese to write about this?

Wong: Of course, the personal is political. But it’s also that the situatedness of humanity is really important. Not many people are talking about this or seeing the horrendous things that have happened in the last five years. It didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s an escalation of a previous problem. They are not seeing it as a problem of rising Han ethno-nationalism. People call it different things like chauvinism and Han supremacy, but it’s similar to the rise of ultranationalist politics in a lot of places. In neighboring India, we’re seeing Hindu supremacy create a certain politics there. We see the reemergence of white supremacy in a lot of places. So, I think because of the way that China is perceived as somehow different, completely outside of global patterns and ultra-nationalism, this is an import created by under Xi Jinping, a rising sense of ultra-nationalism and not just Chinese ultra-nationalism, but Han Chinese ultra-nationalism privileging and normalizing that those perceived characteristics of Han Chinese as above others in the Chinese ambit right of power, and therefore more civilized. These are many of the same arguments that other colonial projects make. So, as a Han Chinese person, it is super important and incumbent on us who do not agree with this and are really staunchly opposed to it to step into our identity and say that they should not be doing this. It is absolutely atrocious morally and ethically and economically. From our positionality, we are going to be part of the solution, we’re not going to be part of continuing the problem even though the system is supposed to be to the benefit of our group identity.

RFA: What’s your message to Han Chinese living abroad?

Wong: As Han Chinese people, we have to step into our identity to fight against what we see as Han ethno-nationalism, the impacts of which are felt most starkly in places like Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. The fight against colonial racism is a global one and it’s a noble one. When you’re part of this fight, it doesn’t matter which race or what nationality you are. It might take a long time, but I believe we will win the struggle. There are a lot of allies out there in the fight against colonial racism, the type of colonial racism that Uyghurs, Tibetans and others face right now. History tells us that even the most powerful and oppressive empires eventually fall and wain away because of organized resistance by people who are fighting oppression. There’s nothing in history that can’t be changed, and there’s nothing about the present condition of what is going on that can’t be changed.

Radio Free Asia Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

World Drug Day 2022: events held worldwide raise awareness of drug challenges in crisis situations amid launching World Drug Report

UNODCs Field Offices, The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, is marked on 26 June every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.

And each year, individuals, communities, and various organizations all over the world, from civil society to the private sector, join in to observe World Drug Day to help raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs pose to society.

The focus of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2022 was “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises”. Ensuring access to controlled medicines, guaranteeing evidence-based care, treatment and services, and preventing negative coping behaviours through support were among the calls to action highlighted both on the day and in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s World Drug Report 2022, launched last Monday.

Around the world on Monday 27 June, UNODC regional and support offices celebrated World Drug Day and presented the main findings of the World Drug Report 2022.

In Mexico City, UNODC’s Head of Coordination, Mariana Alegret, joined the National Commission Against Addiction’s annual virtual World Drug Day event, presenting the report to the press, drug policymakers and the general public. The event also heard from representatives of the ministries of health, public security and foreign affairs, as well as the Federal Prosecutor´s Office.

In Chisinau, Moldova, UNODC held a coffee morning with media, police, and civil society organizations (CSOs) where Simon Springett, UN Resident Coordinator in Moldova explained that “apart from Covid-19 and the war in our neighbouring country, we are also fighting a drug use crisis, especially with new psychoactive substances”.

Through open discussions and a photo exhibition, journalists present at the event had the opportunity to get acquainted with the results of a collaboration between CSOs that provide socio-medical services to people who use drugs and the Chisinau police. Police deputy Alexei Grosu spoke about how the collaboration has helped to “change the mentality among the police towards drug users, who are now focusing on offering drug users the needed support by referring them to the CSOs who can provide socio-medical assistance.” UNODC’s Ina Tcaci underlined that such a collaboration was almost impossible a decade ago.

Constantin Cearanovski, representing the Positive Initiative CSO, told from his own experience how the police had played a positive role in motivating drug users toward treatment and rehabilitation, and Dr Lilia Fiodorov, narcologist at the Republican Narcology Dispensary, reported being able to aid 25 refugees who received drug treatment since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

In Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, UNODC commemorated World Drug Day with four days of events (June 25-29), joined by national authorities and CILAD, the interministerial committee for the fight against drugs (for its acronym in French). More than 250 participants attended the World Drug Report launch event last Monday, and more still joined online.

As the World Drug Report 2022 highlights, West and Central Africa is hard hit by the drug problem, despite having long being considered a mere transit zone. “In a context of health and humanitarian crises, West and Central Africa must continue to invest in data collection and analysis, disaggregated by sex and age, to strengthen early warning and evidence-based responses,” said Dr Amado Philip de Andrés, UNODC director for the region, speaking at the event.

Côte d’Ivoire, like other West African coastal countries, is facing an influx of drugs trafficked from Latin America, as evidenced by recent cocaine seizures off the coast of Abidjan in March 2021 and April 2022. General Vagondo Diomandé, Minister of Interior and Security, spoke to this challenge: “The Ivorian authorities remain committed to combating illicit drug trafficking with the support of UNODC, as demonstrated by the drafting of a bill relating to the fight against trafficking and illicit use of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, as well as the national strategy against organized crime.”

Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf to Hold Fifty Fifth Session at Headquarters, 5 July-19 August

NEW YORK, 30 June (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) – The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will hold its fifty-fifth session from 5 July to 19 August. The session will be held in person at United Nations Headquarters with the necessary risk-mitigating measures in place. The plenary parts of the session will be held from 25 to 29 July and from 8 to 12 August. The remaining five weeks will be devoted to the technical examination of submissions by established subcommissions in the Division’s premises, including geographic information systems laboratories and other technical facilities.

During the session, 10 subcommissions will continue to consider submissions made by the Russian Federation in respect of the Arctic Ocean (partial revised submission); Brazil in respect of the Brazilian Equatorial Margin (partial revised submission); France and South Africa jointly in respect of the area of the Crozet Archipelago and the Prince Edward Islands; Kenya; Nigeria; Palau in respect of the North Area (partial amended submission); Sri Lanka; Portugal; Spain in respect of the area of Galicia (partial submission); and India.

Coastal States that had not yet presented their submissions to the Commission were invited to present them at the plenary part of the session. To date, the following submitting States accepted the invitation: Malaysia (partial submission in the South China Sea); Chile (partial submissions in respect of the Eastern Continental Shelf of Easter Island Province and in respect of the Western Continental Shelf of the Chilean Antarctic Territory, respectively); Indonesia (partial submission in the area Southwest of Sumatera); and Ecuador (partial submission in the Southern Region of the Carnegie Ridge).

Furthermore, the Chair will inform the Commission about relevant deliberations that took place at the thirty-second Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Background

Established pursuant to article 2, annex II to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Commission is a body of 21 experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography. They serve in their personal capacities. Members of the Commission are elected for a term of five years by the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention from among their nationals having due regard to the need to ensure equitable geographical representation. Not less than three members shall be elected from each geographical region. Currently, one seat on the Commission continues to be vacant due to the lack of nominations from the Eastern European Group of States.

The Convention provides that the State party which submitted the nomination of a member of the Commission shall defray the expenses of that member while in performance of Commission duties. However, the participation of several members of the Commission from developing countries has been facilitated by financial assistance from a voluntary trust fund for the purpose of defraying the cost of participation of the members of the Commission from developing countries.

Under rule 23 of its rules of procedure (Public and private meetings), the meetings of the Commission, its subcommissions and subsidiary bodies are held in private, unless the Commission decides otherwise.

The Commission makes recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of their continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured, based on information submitted to it by coastal States. These recommendations are based on the scientific and technical data and other material provided by States in relation to the implementation of article 76 of the Convention. The recommendations do not prejudice matters relating to the delimitation of boundaries between States with opposite or adjacent coasts, or prejudice the position of States that are parties to a land or maritime dispute, or application of other parts of the Convention or any other treaties. The limits of the continental shelf established by a coastal State on the basis of these recommendations shall be final and binding. In the case of disagreement by the coastal State with the recommendations of the Commission, the coastal State shall, within a reasonable time, make a revised or new submission to the Commission.

As required under the rules of procedure of the Commission, the executive summaries of all the submissions, including all charts and coordinates, have been made public by the Secretary General through continental shelf notifications circulated to Member States of the United Nations, as well as States parties to the Convention. The executive summaries are available on the Division’s website at www.un.org/depts/los/clcs_new/clcs_home.htm. The summaries of recommendations adopted by the Commission are also available on the above-referenced website.

For additional information on the work of the Commission, please visit the website of the Division at www.un.org/depts/los/index.htm. In particular, the most recent statements by the Chair on the progress in the work of the Commission are available at www.un.org/depts/los/clcs_new/commission_documents.

Source: United Nations

World Leaders Pledge Greater Action to Save Oceans from Existing, Future Threats, Adopting Sweeping Political Declaration as Lisbon Conference Concludes

LISBON, 1 July — The 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference concluded today with world leaders adopting an action-oriented Political Declaration to save the ocean from existing and future threats, including marine pollution, harmful fishing practices, biodiversity loss, and acidification.

Through the Declaration, titled “Our Ocean, Our Future, Our Responsibility”, Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives participating in the Conference — which focused on Sustainable Development Goal 14 (life below water) — said that greater ambition is required at all levels to address the dire state of the ocean.

“As leaders and representatives of our Governments, we are determined to act decisively and urgently to improve the health, productivity, sustainable use and resilience of the ocean and its ecosystems,” they said, expressing deep regret over their collective failure to achieve several of the targets of Goal 14 despite progress in some areas.

The week-long Conference brought together some 6,500 participants — including Heads of State and Government, officials of intergovernmental organizations, representatives of civil society organizations, and other stakeholders — under the theme “Scaling Up Ocean Action Based on Science and Innovation for the Implementation of Goal 14: Stocktaking, Partnerships and Solutions”. The outcome document will be forwarded to the United Nations General Assembly’s forthcoming seventy-sixth session for its endorsement.

“We know that restoring harmony with nature through a healthy, productive, sustainable and resilient ocean is critical for our planet, our lives and our future,” world leaders said in the 17-paragraph Declaration, calling upon all stakeholders to urgently take ambitious, concerted action to expedite implementation of Goal 14 without undue delay.

Highlighting the important role of science, technology and innovation in overcoming hurdles to achieving Goal 14 — a major theme throughout the week — they pointed to better understanding the impact of cumulative human activity on the ocean; shoring up fish stock to levels that produce at least maximum sustainable yield in the shortest time feasible; and mobilizing actions for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, among other measure.

Also recognizing that developing countries — particularly small island developing States and least developed countries — face capacity challenges, they committed to strengthen scientific observation and data collection to inform decision-making and planning and to provide them with finance, technology transfer and capacity-building.

Drawing attention to marine pollution — another major issue of concern during the deliberations — they stressed the value of preventing and eliminating marine plastic litter, such as single-use plastics and microplastics, through resource efficiency and recycling, ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns and developing viable alternatives for consumer and industrial uses.

Miguel De Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, Special Adviser to the Presidents of the Conference on oceans and legal matters, delivered closing remarks on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, noting that many initiatives showcased at the Conference have demonstrated how stakeholders can come together to transition towards a sustainable ocean-based economy and, as a result, protect biodiversity, community livelihoods and climate resilience. The voluntary commitments made at the Conference must be implemented at pace and monitored, and their progress must be showcased. “It is not too late to break the cycle of biodiversity decline, ocean warming, acidification and marine pollution. But there is no time to lose,” he said.

Echoing that sentiment, Tobiko Keriako, Cabinet Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry for Environment and Forestry and one of the Conference co-chairs, said: “We are all in agreement that we cannot have a healthy planet without a healthy ocean.” The wide disparity in capacity, finance, and access to technology required for sustainable ocean action between developed and developing countries must be closed. Further, the transition to sustainable ocean action must be just and inclusive, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Marcelo Rebelo De Sousa, President of Portugal, who also co-chaired the Conference, stressing the need to fulfil promises made, said that his country, together with Kenya, wanted to make the Conference — during a time of pandemic and war — a sign of peace, both with nature and among people, a symbol of multilateralism in the face of alluring unilateralism and “a moment for mobilization and not contemplation”. Noting that expectations were lower than the outcome, he said that the Political Declaration is a sign of the spirit of the United Nations, urging more ambition, action and passion.

At the outset of the meeting, the following speakers presented summaries of the Conference’s eight interactive dialogues: Flavien Joubert, Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change of the Seychelles, on “Addressing marine pollution”; Abraão Vicente, Minister for the Sea of Cabo Verde, on “Promoting and strengthening sustainable ocean-based economies, in particular for small island developing States and least-developed countries”; Sally Box, Assistant Secretary for Climate and Environment Policy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, on “Managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems”; and Matthew Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry for Economic Growth and Job Creation of Jamaica, on “Ocean acidification, deoxygenation and ocean warming”.

Also presenting summaries were Derek Klazen, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources of Namibia, on “Making fisheries sustainable and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets”; Franz Tattenbach, Minister for Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, and Denis Robin, Secretary-General for the Sea of France, on “Increasing scientific knowledge and developing research capacity and transfer of marine technology”; Scott Loh, Deputy Director-General for Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Singapore, and Anna Pála Sverrisdóttir, Counsellor and Legal Adviser for the Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations, on “Enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea”; and Molwyn Joseph, Minister for Health, Wellness and the Environment of Antigua and Barbuda, on “Leveraging interlinkages between Sustainable Development Goal 14 and other Goals towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda”.

The following speakers then presented key points from discussions occurring during four special events that took place on the margins of the Conference: Luisa Salgueiro, Mayor of Matosinhos, on the Localizing Action for the Ocean with Local and Regional Governments, held on 25 June in Matosinhos; Abbas Mahmoud, Youth Delegate of Kenya, on the Youth and Innovation Forum, held on 24-26 June in Carcavelos; Duarte Cordeiro, Minister for the Environment and Climate Action of Portugal, on the High-Level Symposium on Water — Bridging SDG 6 and SDG 14, held on 27 June in Lisbon; and Peter Thomson, United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean, on the Sustainable Blue Economy Investment Forum, held on 28 June in Cascais.

In other business, the Conference adopted the draft resolution titled “Credentials of representatives to the 2022 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (document A/CONF.230/2022/13) and accepted the additional credentials from the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Kenya, Latvia, Palau, and Seychelles, as well as the European Union.

Before action on the text, the representatives of Palau, China, United States, Marshall Islands, Pakistan and the United Kingdom took the floor to express their position on whether participants holding a Taiwanese passport who were part of the delegations of Palau and Tuvalu should have been given credentials.

The Conference adopted its draft report and authorized the Rapporteur-General to finalize the document in conformity with the practice of the United Nations.

Also speaking today were the representatives Denmark and Grenada, as the co-facilitators of the intergovernmental negotiations for the draft Declaration, as well as the representatives of Azerbaijan, Armenia, United States, Iran, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

Action on Draft Resolution “Our Ocean, Our Future, Our Responsibility”

Following the presentation of summaries of the eight interactive dialogues and adoption of the report of the Credentials Committee, the Conference had before it the draft resolution titled “Our ocean, our future, our responsibility” (document A/CONF.230/2022/L.1), containing an eponymous Declaration.

By its terms, the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development would adopt the Declaration as its outcome document and recommend that the General Assembly endorse, at its seventy-sixth session, the Declaration as adopted by the Conference.

Speaking before action, MARTIN BILLE HERMANN (Denmark), co-facilitator of the intergovernmental negotiations for the draft Declaration, said that while it was an intergovernmental process, a range of other actors participated, including civil society, youth and the private sector. The ocean is an issue that affects everyone and it is fundamental to life on the planet. It is also in trouble and facing a global emergency, he said, pointing to sea-level rise, acidification, degradation of ecosystems, overexploitation of fish stocks and species extinction. “We are running out of time. And we are running out of excuses,” he said. Noting that the Political Declaration adopted at the first Ocean Conference in 2017 was titled “Our ocean, our future”, he said the co-facilitators took the liberty to reuse that excellent title for the 2022 Declaration. “But we added two words — ‘our responsibility’ because the world is looking to us, to our Governments, to our Heads of State to work together to tackle these challenges,” he said.

KEISHA ANIYA MCGUIRE (Grenada), also co-facilitator, said in the Declaration, Member States emphasized deep regret at the collective failure to achieve the four targets under Goal 14 that matured in 2020. The Declaration further reaffirms that climate change is one of the greatest challenges today — also for the ocean and marine life. Climate change is already impacting the ability of marine and coastal ecosystems to provide, inter alia, food, income and decent livelihoods. And at stake is the survival of many islands and coastal nations. The Declaration is meant to be a source of hope. “It demonstrates our joint commitment to raise our ambitions,” she said, stressing that all are needed to work together across borders, regions, sectors and people to implement change, a vital component of the solution. Most importantly, with the Declaration, all 193 Member States commit to urgently take a number of different science-based and innovative actions to reach collective goals. The world is watching, she stressed.

The representative of Azerbaijan said his country is facing growing challenges linked to transboundary water management and pollution. One of the region’s environmental hotspots still under impact is the transboundary river Okhchuchay, polluted by heavy metals and hazardous substances. Copper and molybdenum plants in Armenia operated by a number of international companies are the main source of this pollution. Azerbaijan has asked the international community to urge Armenia to stop this harmful activity, which negatively effects the environment of the whole region. Unfortunately, up until now, international organizations have not reacted adequately to this serious transboundary issue, he said, adding the riverbed urgently needs rehabilitation from harmful substances.

The representative of Armenia said that, at this critical stage when those present are prepared to endorse a declaration resulting from successful intergovernmental discussions, the representative of Azerbaijan is spreading groundless, fictional scenarios, hindering the Conference’s proceedings and demonstrating a “pitiful effort” to falsify and distort developments in the region. Stressing that the Azerbaijani representative’s statement has no relevance to the scope of this Conference and is not linked to the text of the political Declaration, he urged the representative of that country to show “minimum respect” to the Conference’s participants.

“L.1” was then adopted without a vote.

Through the Declaration, Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives participating in the Conference noted that greater ambition is required at all levels to address the dire state of the ocean, declaring: “As leaders and representatives of our Governments, we are determined to act decisively and urgently to improve the health, productivity, sustainable use and resilience of the ocean and its ecosystems.”

Affirming the Declaration adopted at the 2017 Ocean Conference, they recognized that the ocean is fundamental to life on the planet and to the future and that it is an important source of the planet’s biodiversity and plays a vital role in the climate system, as a sink and reservoir of greenhouse gases. They further recognized that the ocean contributes to food security, nutrition and decent jobs and livelihoods, as well as provides a means for maritime transportation, including for global trade.

Deeply alarmed by the global emergency the ocean is facing, they warned: “Marine pollution is increasing at an alarming rate, a third of fish stocks are overexploited, marine biodiversity continues to decrease and approximately half of all living coral has been lost, while alien invasive species pose a significant threat to marine ecosystems and resources”.

Despite progress toward achieving some of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (life below water), it is not advancing at the speed or scale required to meet global goals, they said. “We deeply regret our collective failure to achieve targets 14.2 (protect and restore ecosystems), 14.4 (sustainable fishing), 14.5 (conserve coastal and marine areas) and 14.6 (end subsidies contributing to overfishing) that matured in 2020,” they said, renewing their commitment to take urgent action and to cooperate globally, regionally and subregionally to achieve all targets as soon as possible without delay.

Further, the leaders cautioned against the adverse effects of climate change on the ocean and marine life, including the rise in ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, deoxygenation, sea-level rise, shifts in the abundance and distribution of marine species, as well as coastal erosion. They emphasized the importance of implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change — including the goal to limit temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit that increase to 1.5°C — as well as the Glasgow Climate Pact on mitigation, adaptation and the provision and mobilization of finance, technology transfer and capacity-building to developing countries, including small island developing States.

The leaders also called for an ambitious, balanced, practical, effective, robust and transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework for adoption at the second part of the fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity — to be held in Canada in December 2022 — while also noting the voluntary commitments by more than 100 Member States to conserve or protect at least 30 per cent of the global ocean within marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2030.

Welcoming the decision by the resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, held in February and March 2022, to convene an intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, they also called on delegations to reach an ambitious agreement, without delay, on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

In addition, the leaders recognized the devastating impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on ocean-based economy and ocean health, including through increased medical plastic waste, which has disproportionately affected small island developing States. Conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and the advancement of nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches play a critical role in ensuring a sustainable, inclusive and environmentally resilient pandemic recovery, they affirmed.

Noting 2022 marks the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, they emphasized that actions to implement Goal 14 should be in line with existing legal instruments, arrangements, processes, mechanisms or entities. They called on participating delegations of the intergovernmental conference on an international legally binding instrument under the Convention on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction to reach an ambitious agreement without delay.

Actions, international cooperation and partnerships based on science, technology and innovation can help achieve Goal 14, they stressed, including by informing integrated ocean management, planning and decision-making, through improved understanding of the impact of cumulative human activities on the ocean; restoring and maintaining fish stocks at levels that produce at least maximum sustainable yield in the shortest time feasible; and mobilizing actions for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

Further, in that regard, they cited preventing, reducing and eliminating marine plastic litter, such as single-use plastics and microplastics, including through encouraging resource efficiency and recycling, ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns and developing viable alternatives for consumer and industrial uses.

The leaders also recognized that developing countries — in particular small island developing States and least developed countries — face capacity challenges, and committed to taking urgent science-based and innovative actions, including the strengthening of scientific observation and data collection to inform decision-making and planning as well as enhanced mechanisms for collaboration, knowledge-sharing and exchange of best practices.

They also expressed commitment to establish effective partnerships, including multi-stakeholder, public-private, cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary and scientific partnerships, as well as to promote innovative financing solutions to drive the transformation to sustainable ocean-based economies.

In taking these actions, the leaders pledged to empower women and girls, as their full, equal and meaningful participation is key in progressing towards a sustainable ocean-based economy and to achieving Goal 14, and vowed to ensure that people, especially children and youth, have relevant knowledge and skills to contribute to the health of the ocean, including in decision-making, by supporting quality education and life-long learning for ocean literacy.

Recognizing the important role of indigenous, traditional and local knowledge, innovation and practices, they committed to strengthen the science-policy interface for implementing Goal 14 and its targets, to ensure that policy is informed by the best available science and relevant indigenous, traditional and local knowledge, to highlight policies and action that may be scalable, through processes such as the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects.

Further, they committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international maritime transportation, especially from shipping, as soon as possible, noting the need to strengthen ambitions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) initial strategy in that regard.

They also committed to implementing their respective voluntary commitments made in the context of the Conference and urged those who have made voluntary commitments at the 2017 Conference to ensure appropriate review and follow-up of their progress.

The Secretary-General was called upon to continue his efforts to support the implementation of Goal 14, in particular by enhancing inter-agency coordination and coherence throughout the United Nations system on ocean issues through the work of UN-Oceans.

“We know that restoring harmony with nature through a healthy, productive, sustainable and resilient ocean is critical for our planet, our lives and our future,” they concluded, calling upon all stakeholders to urgently take ambitious and concerted action to accelerate implementation to achieve Goal 14 without undue delay.

In explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of the United States emphasized her country’s commitment to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14 alongside other Goals and to take urgent action to combat rising sea levels, coastal erosion, biodiversity loss and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. She went on to say that, while the United States’ delegation joins others in adopting the legally non-binding Declaration that emphasizes the need to implement Goal 14, language in paragraph 4 presents as compulsory and threatens to undermine the aspirational nature of the document. Pointing out that strong intellectual-property protection and enforcement provides the incentives needed to foster innovation, she said that her delegation understands that references to the transfer or dissemination of, and access to, technology contemplates voluntary transfer on mutually agreed terms. Further, all references to access to information and knowledge are understood to refer to that which is made available with the authorization of the legitimate holder thereof.

The representative of Iran said that, while his delegation joined consensus in the spirit of constructive flexibility, there are several important issues not reflected in the document. Despite the important role played by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the consideration and sustainable use of the oceans and marine resources cannot be solely linked to ratification thereof. Iran’s Government has actively participated in negotiations regarding protecting marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, but this constructive engagement should not be construed as a change of national position with regards to the Convention. He added that coastal States must have due regard for the rights of adjacent coastal States.

The representative of Costa Rica confirmed the announcement made on 30 June by the President of France that France and Costa Rica will jointly host the third United Nations Ocean Conference in 2025. Further, the two countries commit to drive forward the blue agenda, along with action to implement conservation measures, and hope that the international community will support this effort.

The representative of Venezuela, pointing out that Caracas is not party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, said that the Government is only bound by those provisions of the Convention that are present in national legislation. Conditions preventing Venezuela’s accession to the Convention still exist, and the Political Declaration does not constitute a change in the national position thereon.

Source: United Nations