The COVID-19 pandemic could provide some ‘much-needed breathing space’ for the marine environment in Asia - Pacific, according to a new report by the UN published in May.
As activities on land have come to a standstill, shipping traffic and the demand for marine resources have dropped, giving the oceans a chance to recover from the effects of pollution, overfishing and climate change.
The study - entitled Changing Sails: Accelerating Regional Actions for Sustainable Oceans in Asia and the Pacific - also suggests that this pause in economic growth could be a ‘window of opportunity offered by reduced emissions and energy demand to protect the marine environment.’
Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, head of the UN office in the region, suggests that if governments were to direct recovery investments towards more “green” practices in shipping, fisheries and tourism, marine sustainability and resilience could be vastly improved in a post-pandemic world.
Given just how important the oceans are to the Asia Pacific region, where they provide food and income for over 200 million people, taking advantage of this unique opportunity is vital.
The report outlines three key areas - marine connectivity, sustainable fisheries and marine pollution – for governments to rally around and take the required steps to halt, and even reverse the declining health of our oceans and marine ecosystems.
Read the full report report here.