Prescott to seek creation of ocean co-ordination group

UK Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott is to press for the formation of a UN group to co-ordinate world-wide efforts to tackle the effects of global warming and pollution on the oceans.


Speaking at the Second London Oceans Workshop on December 10, Prescott said a co-ordination group was needed to ensure that the work being done to protect the oceans around the world is properly focused.

“If we are to get the full benefits from this work, we need to ensure that it is co-ordinated,” said Prescott. “The UN General Assembly needs to consider how all the pieces of the jigsaw are fitting together to achieve sustainable management of our seas. I shall be making this point strongly when I attend the Commission on Sustainable Development in New York early next year.”

Prescott said that the decline of coral reefs was an example of the effects of the ‘seven threats to the seven seas’: fishing; run-off and discharges from land-based activities; dumping waste at sea; exploitation of sea-bed minerals; coastal zone development; and climate change.

“Coral’s sensitivity to increases in temperature makes it an excellent indicator of global warming. Temperature rises of only a very few degrees can cause coral bleaching on a large scale. It can also show where other things are wrong too. According to the World Conservation Union, as much as 10 per cent of the world’s coral reefs have been degraded – and are now beyond recovery. Other research suggests that about 60 per cent of the world’s coral is at medium to high risk of damage,” he said.

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