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The health and future of the world's oceans should be a part of the agenda for the United Nations climate talks to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December. So urged the representatives of 76 nations at the World Ocean Conference held May 14th in Manado, Indonesia.
The declaration issued by the conference reiterates "the importance of achieving an effective outcome at the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, and invite parties to consider how the coastal and ocean dimension could be appropriately reflected in their decisions."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the conference "today our oceans are under stress from several sources: acidification and over fishing have threatened marine eco-systems; unconstrained development and pollution have damaged coastal regions; global warming has led to rising sea levels and more intense storms." These phenomena, said Secretary Clinton, "point to the same conclusion: "We must do more to protect our oceans and preserve the long term health of our planet and its people."
Maggie Hayes, Director of the U.S. State Department's Office of Oceans and Polar Affairs, said the Manado conference did much to raise awareness of the need for international cooperation to protect ocean environments:
"One great example occurred on the last day of the meeting. There was a coral triangle initiative summit, where the heads of the 6 states that surround the coral triangle, met to launch this project to take care of the marine environment, the spectacular coral reefs and the fabulous bio-diversity in that part of the world."
The U.S., said Ms. Hayes, is doing its part:
"We have many, many domestic laws and regulations; everything that is protecting or promoting clean air, clean water, sustainable management of fisheries, the protection of marine habitats – all of those go to promote a healthy ocean. But it's all one ocean and we can't do it by ourselves."
"We must remember the human costs of climate change," said Secretary of State Clinton. "As we continue our efforts to address climate change," she said, "we must remember that its effects can be seen not only in melting glaciers and dying coral reefs, but also in damaged homes, falling wages, rising poverty, [and] diminished opportunities."