Brussels, 8 June 2022/OACPS: On behalf of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, joins the global community scattered across our Blue Planet – on continents and islands – to mark World Oceans Day, whose theme for 2022 is, “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean.”

On this Day, we are reminded of the central role of the ocean to life on our planet. It provides a large part of the oxygen we breathe, regulates the climate, is our source of food for each passing day, and provides livelihoods, health, and wellbeing for millions of people within the Members of the OACPS.

Regrettably, the World’s oceans are under severe threat from global warming, ocean acidification, overfishing, and pollution. These drastic changes disrupt the environment, increase climate hazard risks, and fuel the biodiversity loss crisis at a planetary scale, impacting peoples, places and prospects.

In the face of these challenges, it is urgent that we accelerate actions to sustainably manage, use and conserve the oceans and its resources so that they become healthy, productive, and resilient; so they can continue to support the social and economic wellbeing of all societies now and into the future. Addressing the ocean’s problems is a uniquely cross-national challenge that requires the cooperation of partners at all levels, with every one playing their part.

This year’s theme of World Oceans Day is a call to action to ensure resilient oceans for our own sustenance and survival on this planet. Secretary-General Chikoti urges a reaffirmation of our resolve to the implementation of the bold and ambitious commitments and policy guidance of the 7th Meeting of OACPS Ministers in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture, held in Accra, Ghana on 7-8 April, which the OACPS see as being critical to galvanise global, regional and national actions to improve ocean health and its sustainable development.

Secretary-General Chikoti notes that the need to revitalise the ocean’s role in the food and nutrition security of Member States of the OACPS has never been greater, particularly as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and other exogenous shocks. He further emphasizes the importance of ensuring the sustainable management of fisheries resources and taking decisive action against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The collective actions of the OACPS must focus on providing an enabling policy space for developing a thriving, resilient, and sustainable small-scale fisheries sector that is crucial for the livelihoods, health and wellbeing of OACPS populations.

The OACPS Secretary-General pledges that the OACPS will strengthen its partnerships, and support cooperation and coordination across Members while leveraging lessons learnt from existing projects and programmes to catalyse further action in Member States to improve ocean governance and reduce existing pressures to ensure healthy, resilient, and productive oceans.