EX United Nations chief BanBan Ki-Moon has issued a strong warning against proctecing the world’s oceans to ensure a sustainable seafood – a vital resource to combat populism and nationalism.
The former Secretary-General of the UN was the star speaker of this year’s aquaculture conference Aquavision, hosted by Skretting/Nutreco in Stavanger, Norway.
He told the sold-out event: “Fish farming is central to being able to cope with climate change, ensure social responsibility, sustainability goals and while reducing environmental impact. This is essential for our seas and for food safety which is central to healthy food and healthy life.”
Moon said global cooperation was crucial to fight back against the fragmenting political landscape, which also put the oceans at risk.
“Our body consists of over 60 percent water. The world is roughly the same, 60-70 percent of water. Man cannot live without water and blood. It is critically important that our waters and rivers are sustainable. Given the critical importance of the ocean, it’s vulnerable to pollution and overfishing. Eight million tons are dumped into the sea every year. A plastic bottle takes 450 years to break down. That’s a long time.”
“By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. So do you want fish or plastic bottles from the sea? This will have a big impact on business.”
The experienced top diplomat painted a gloomy picture of the challenges facing the world community today.
“Climate change, new trade and tax regimes, populism and nationalism, while at the same time new technologies, such as nanotechnology and robotics, will have a major influence on how people will behave.
“To meet this, we must join forces in smart diplomacy. We also need a strong commitment from individuals and companies, “he says, calling for what he calls “global citizenship.”
“Too many political leaders act only as leaders for their countries, not as global citizens. They build walls,” he said, in a nod to US President Donald Trump.
He then added “therefore, I would like to address global citizenship, especially for young people.”
The South Korean led the UN from 2007 to 2016, overseeing the world’s biggest challenges during the period.
“When I took over as Secretary General, I had the goal of making the world a better place – for all. I’m not sure if the world is a better place to be today. I feel responsible for it. All political leaders should feel that responsibility” said Ban Ki-Moon.
He pointed to climate change, but also the threat of nuclear war.
The doomsday clock
“Doomsday clock has moved two minutes closer to the apocalypse” said the Secretary General.
The Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board, the clock represents an analogy for the threat of global nuclear war. Since 2007, it has also reflected climate change and new developments in the life sciences and technology that could inflict irrevocable harm to humanity.
“Therefore” he said “it is important that this North Korea affair be handled properly. It is an irreversible decision.”
“Melting glaciers and permafrost, increasing water temperatures. Over 100 years the water level has increased by 19cm. I have seen icebergs in Greenland. I have seen these changes with my own eyes. Climate change is no longer just a future hazard. It is here now, he says, before returning to criticism against Trump.
“The fact that President Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement has caused major damage. But he can not change science. He can not change scientific facts. I trust that in the future, the United States will return to the cooperation relating to the Paris Agreement.”
“We need all hands on deck, including President Trump, for this Paris agreement. The story will show that Trump was on the wrong side in this case.”
However, President Trump aside, it was China’s hegemony as a world player, that gave Ban Ki-Moon optimism.
“China alone has taken 450 million people out of poverty, but it’s still a big job to do.
“We must never forget that we are all global citizens. We share the earth, we share the air and the sea. We are connected. The solution is also linked. If we build the future on sustainability, there are simply no limits to what we can achieve” he concluded.