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Celebrating World Ocean Day 2024

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🌊🐙 𝐇𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐎𝐜𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐃𝐚𝐲! 🐳🐚

Oceans and marine ecosystems, which cover over 70% of the planet’s surface, are indispensable to life on Earth. They provide numerous ecological, economic, and social benefits. They generate more than half of the world’s oxygen through the photosynthetic activities of marine plants and algae. Oceans are also critical for climate regulation, as they absorb a significant portion of the Earth’s carbon dioxide and heat, helping mitigate climate change’s effects. Economically, marine ecosystems support many industries, including fishing, tourism, and transportation, contributing billions of dollars to the global economy. Furthermore, they are a food source and livelihood for millions, particularly coastal communities. Biodiversity in marine environments is essential for the health and stability of these ecosystems, with countless species playing vital roles in maintaining ecological balance. Protecting and conserving our oceans is crucial for sustaining these benefits for future generations.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, also known as the Global Biodiversity Framework, recognises the importance of a healthy marine and coastal ecosystem within its various Targets, mainly Target 3, Target 5, Target 6, Target 8, Target 10, and Target 11. In particular, Target 3 aims to ensure that by 2030, at least 30% of coastal and marine areas, which are crucial for biodiversity and ecosystem functions, are effectively conserved and managed. This includes creating ecologically representative and equitably governed protected areas that integrate with wider seascapes and oceanic landscapes.

Today, let’s take a moment to listen to Sudha Kottillil, a researcher and ecologist specializing in marine conservation and fisheries management in India. She underscores the urgent need for local, national, and international efforts to protect our oceans. She highlights the critical role healthy marine and coastal ecosystems play in sustaining biodiversity, regulating climate, and supporting livelihoods. Kottillil argues that effective conservation strategies must incorporate the unique insights and contributions of women, who often act as primary stewards of marine resources in many communities. Recognizing and empowering women’s roles in these efforts is essential for fostering sustainable and resilient ocean management practices. Through coordinated actions and inclusive policies where women and youth are also a part of the decision-making process, Kottillil envisions a future where our oceans can thrive for future generations.

Sudha Kottillil is the co-coordinator of the India Chapter of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) — Indian Youth Biodiversity Network (IYBN). Currently, she is working on understanding elasmobranch species diversity and management and on projects to improve public support and engagement for marine ecosystems and their conservation through school education programs. She has also carried out research and worked on different terrestrial conservation projects. As part of GYBN, Sudha engages in the UN policy space to push for youth inclusion and participation in biodiversity-related decision-making platforms.

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