SCELG at the UN Ocean Conference

June 2017: SCELG co-director Elisa Morgera and SCELG member Daniela Diz attended the UN Ocean Conference from 5-9 June 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York. The Conference focused on supporting the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.)

SCELG organized a side-event entitled SDGs and the Blue Economy: Investing in Marine Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation on 7 June at 18:15. The side-event, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Eritrea to the United Nations, also counted with the following partners: the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme, the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI), the  UK Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), and Marine Scotland. The side event provided an opportunity to discuss blue economy concepts and investment in natural capital in the context of SDG 14, as well as relevant findings from fisheries-related ESPA projects, including the Marine Benefits project and its upcoming special issue of the Marine Policy journal on SDG 14 and synergies with other Sustainable Development Goals. The Special Issue analyses SDG 14 through the concepts of ecosystem services and poverty alleviation as elements of the ecosystem approach to fisheries, and explores relevant synergies with other SDGs.

This side event demonstrated the complex nature of poverty alleviation, especially in light of a changing climate, and how the ecosystem services framework can help identify appropriate conservation and management measures, as well as beneficiaries and the most vulnerable in society, and inform decision-making processes and trade-offs in the context of an ecosystem approach, and how the multiple dimensions of poverty relevant to multiple SDGs have been addressed by ESPA fisheries-related projects. It also shed light on how the ecosystem services framework can bridge biodiversity law and human rights. The work presented at the side event will be part of a forthcoming ESPA synthesis report and policy briefing concerning Ecosystem Services and the Sustainable Management of Fisheries in the context of an ecosystem approach.

Overall, the UN Ocean Conference generated great momentum for the implementation of all SDGs, highlighting the interface between ocean and climate health, and the role of small-scale fisheries and traditional knowledge in a sustainable blue economy. The Conference resulted, among other things, in the adoption of a declaration - the Call for Action - which added conceptual clarity to the contribution of SDG 14 to poverty eradication, food security and nutrition, decent work and livelihoods.

Research-Led Teaching

Prof Elisa Morgera and Dr Daniela Diz are the Co-Directors of the LLM in Law of the Sea, Sustainable Development and International Law.