In preparation for the Conference on the Oceans held in Portugal from June 27 to July 1, ECLAC co-organized with the Embassy of Portugal, the Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System, FAO and the United Nations Program for the Environment the Blue Talks – Chile. Jeannette Sánchez, the director of the Natural Resources Division of ECLAC, made a presentation on the regional situation and the progress of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in meeting Sustainable Development Goal 14 on underwater life . The director presented the results of the report Panorama of the oceans, seas and marine resources in Latin America and the Caribbean developed by ECLAC in 2020 and which was recently published in Spanish, in addition to mentioning some key data generated by ECLAC in collaboration with other actors in the region and about Chile specifically from United Nations sources.
Among the aspects addressed, it was stated that SDG 14 is one of the three SDGs in the region whose goals and indicators have fewer sources of official information available for monitoring the agreed international indicators. He also addressed the relevance of land activities in the pollution of coastal and marine areas. Latin America and the Caribbean was identified as the region with the most plastic trash per km2 of beach in 2016 and 2018 and has 31 areas with eutrophication and 19 “dead zones” (hypoxia) due to the effect of nitrogen pollution. Additionally, he highlighted a lack of sustainable use of marine resources and the need to strengthen the management of coastal-marine areas. Sánchez also mentioned that the fish population at biologically unsustainable levels reaches very high levels, which has an effect on capture fisheries that has decreased by 33.8% between 1999 and 2019.
Regarding goal 14.5 on the conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems, he highlighted that the region has shown an increase from 1.4% to 23.6% in the area of marine protected areas between 2000-2020. However, when reviewing the figure by country, the minority of Latin American and Caribbean countries have reached the goal individually and many have less than 2% protected.
On the other hand, the director of the DRN delved into the role of harmful subsidies to sustainable fishing (goal 14.6) that reach around USD 50 billion a year in the world and that strengthen the increase in fishing capacity and the promotion from various forms of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Jeannette Sánchez called for adherence to and compliance with the four multilateral treaties that complement the commitments of goal 14.6 on fishing subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity, since to date only five countries have adhered to them as a whole (see map 1).
Map 1. Latin America and the Caribbean: adherence to the international framework to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing), by country, 2022
Source: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), on the basis of United Nations, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, New York, 1982; Agreement on the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of December 10, 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, New York, 1995; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, Rome, 2009; Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas, Rome, 1993.
In turn, the Natural Resources Division of ECLAC was also present at the fourth thematic panel of the event on “Scientific knowledge and development of research capacity and transfer of marine technology.” This thematic panel was moderated by Marcia Tambutti, a specialist in biodiversity, and included the participation of three leading experts on the subject to talk about successful experiences:
Luis Menezes, president of the Portuguese Committee for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO) and associate professor in marine geology and geophysics at the University of Aveiro, who mentioned two projects that have contributed to capacity building, the creation of the All-Atlantic Floating University Networkan Atlantic university network that promotes training at sea and the mobility of students and professionals in the ocean in early stages of their career (ECOP, for its acronym in English), and the creation of the IODE Ocean Teacher Global Academy Training Centera web platform to create capacities in different topics of the program of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
Alejandro Maass, director of the Center for Mathematical Modeling of the University of Chile and in charge of the CEODOS Chile program, who highlighted the importance of establishing bridges between questions or problems, scientific evidence and public policy in the early stages, in order to establish a multidisciplinary conversation for the development of public policies. In that sense, that the CEODOS Network that has managed to be a multidisciplinary benchmark by uniting eight Chilean centers, linking disciplines such as mathematics, data science, genomics, oceanography, ecology, climate sciences, among others, with the aim of facing the challenge of measuring the health of coastal zones with innovative tools that contribute to understanding the health of the ocean, making public policies and having a baseline available for the actors that work in the ocean.
Finally, Andrés Sepúlveda, associate professor at the University of Concepción, mentioned successful cases of scientific knowledge transfer in Chile, such as the Interface PartiMOSA showing a particle dispersion model to understand the behavior of currents and the platform CHONOS, which hosts the Chilean Patagonia oceanographic information system open to the general public and widely used by fishermen to improve safety and planning in the territory . The panelist emphasized that there are a great number of opportunities to develop cooperation, collaboration and scientific education by bringing science closer to communities to influence their own needs.
Check the document online “Blue Talks: Road to the Conference of the Oceans 2022, Santiago – Chile”