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UNESCO conference eyes planet's threatened oceans and coastal communities

UNESCO conference eyes planet's threatened oceans and coastal communities

The global community should intensify its efforts to protect the planet's threatened oceans and endangered coastal areas and communities, agreed environmental experts and senior officials gathered at a global conference in Paris hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The 400 participants at the Third Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, pointed out that that no international organization holds responsibility for tracking the progress of programmes in integrated coastal and ocean management. And there is no regular collection of information on the social and economic well-being of coastal communities, where half of the world's population lives.

The conference, titled “Moving the Global Oceans Agency Forward,” was organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands. The forum was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002.

In addition, the conference participants found, logistical and financial constraints make it difficult for the world's 43 Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to enforce conservation policies and control development. These constraints are getting worse as overseas development assistance declines to these States, which have stewardship over vast areas of the world's oceans.

During a six-day conference that ended Saturday, participants examined the progress made in the objectives set during the Johannesburg Summit as well as progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of time-bound targets for addressing global ills.