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Paje urges more international action on marine environment protection

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Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje is calling for more international action on boosting protection of the marine environment, warning this is increasingly reeling from pressure due to land-based activities like urban development and agriculture.

He noted such action is due to help the marine environment better recover from years of human abuse which generated environmentally degrading elements that inland channels carried into the open sea.

"We must double efforts on this," he said Monday when the Philippine government, through DENR, commenced spearheading in Metro Manila the two-day Global Conference on Land-Ocean Connections (GLOC)

GLOC aims exploring current and emerging marine issues arising from land-based activities.

The conference also seeks looking into options on managing such issues.

"We look to this conference as a venue to consolidate inputs and best practices so we can enhance environmental protection," Paje said.

Earlier, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) identified several emerging issues related to land-ocean connection.

Among such issues are plastics debris and loss of coastal ecosystem services.

Twenty-one emerging issues that UNEP and experts previously identified for the 21st century cuts across various concerns like food, land, biodiversity, water, climate change and energy.

"The issues are all big challenges which we need to face head on," UNEP chief scientist Professor Joseph Alcamo said during the conference.

He raised urgency for integrated governance, noting studies show potential collapse of oceanic systems warrants such intervention.

Science advisory groups must be established also to help generate other appropriate interventions for marine environmental protection, he added.

Dir. Ibrahim Thiaw of UNEP's Division of Environmental Policy Implementation also pointed out climate change, biodiversity loss, shrinking forest areas and other factors are altering coastal landscapes worldwide.

"Our planet's capacity to sustain us is being compromised," he said during the conference.

UNEP and its partners earlier produced 'The Green Economy in a Blue World,' a report that builds upon this organization's work on the green economy.

Such document is scheduled for launching on Jan. 25 also in Metro Manila.

"The report argues that the ecological health and economic productivity of oceans, which is currently on a significant decline, can be reversed by shifting to a more sustainable economic paradigm in which human well-being and social equity are improved while environmental risks and ecological scarcities are reduced," UNEP Acting Director of Communications Nick Nuttall said last month.

He also raised urgency for saving the marine environment, saying ocean industries and businesses "stand to benefit directly from healthier and more ecologically robust marine ecosystems."

Recommendations generated during GLOC will serve as inputs for the Third

Intergovernmental Review (IGR-3) on Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities.

IGR-3 will be held on Jan. 25 to 27 in Metro Manila after GLOC.

"Output of the conference will be the platform from which different insights and best practices will be inputed into materials that will go into the review," former Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos said during GLOC.

He reiterated his appeal for people to do their share in helping protect the environment even through measures like teaching children how to conserve water.

"I think, there are things we can do as parents," he said.

By PNA/PIA9-ZBST




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