MESTI advocates for renewed ocean commitment on World Oceans Day

Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Ophelia Mensah Hayford

By Kizito CUDJOE

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Ophelia Mensah Hayford, has issued a rallying call for heightened collaborative efforts to safeguard the health of the world’s oceans, ahead of the ‘World Oceans Day,’ on June 8, 2024.

The occasion, which will be marked this year under the theme “Awaken New Depths,” is an annual observance, established by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 63/111, which highlights the vital role oceans play in sustaining life on Earth and aims to foster global awareness and action for sustainable ocean management.

In a statement issued and signed by the Environment Minister, she acknowledged the critical importance of the oceans, which, despite their vastness, remain largely unexplored and profoundly impacted by human activity.

“Although we have only explored about 10 percent of the ocean, the repercussions of our actions on this vital resource are increasingly evident and alarming,” she noted.

It is against this backdrop that the Minister emphasized the urgency of shifting from a care-free mindset to one of active engagement and stewardship.

“It is, therefore, not appropriate for us to adopt the stand, “out of sight, out of mind”. We must drastically alter our relationship with the ocean. To motivate widespread momentum for the ocean, we need to awaken new depths,” she stated.

This year’s theme, she noted, is intended for the world to discover how earth is more than it may seem and generate a new wave of excitement towards cherishing and protecting the ocean and the entirety of our blue planet.

“The theme “Awaken New Depths” serves as a clarion call to governments, organizations, and individuals to prioritize the ocean’s well-being. It invites stakeholders to recognize the ocean’s true value, reflect on past actions, and implement new strategies to restore and protect this crucial ecosystem.”

The Minister stressed the need for a renewed wave of enthusiasm and proactive measures to ensure the ocean’s health for future generations.

President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo’s remarks at the 2023 National Summit on the Blue Economy were echoed, reinforcing the celebration’s significance. “This year’s observance is a wake-up call for Ghanaians to deepen strategic partnerships and build a progressive coalition for enhanced ocean health and the accelerated development of our coastal communities,” the Minister stated.

In Ghana, the observance of World Oceans Day, according to the Minister, involves a comprehensive programme organized by MESTI in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other stakeholders.

The initiative aims to heighten public education on sustainable ocean management, facilitate dialogues on critical topics such as the Ocean-Climate Nexus and Biodiversity, and engage the community through exhibitions and media activities.

Furthermore, the Environment Minister emphasized the necessity for individuals, institutions, communities, and national bodies to unite in exploring new depths of ocean management and protection. “We are called upon to generate newer and deeper waves of excitement towards cherishing and protecting our ocean, ensuring a bluer, safer, and better lifestyle,” she urged.

“Ocean tides are changing radically hence, the need to generate newer and deeper waves of excitement towards cherishing and protecting our ocean and the entirety of our blue planet. For us as individuals, institutions, communities, MMDAs, MDAs and a nation, we are, therefore, called upon to unite in exploring new depths towards managing, protecting and sustaining our ocean to achieve a bluer, safer and better lifestyle.

Let’s, therefore, use this day as a catalyst for social change; to underscore humanity’s connectivity to the ocean, illustrate its cross-sector potential, awaken new depths to chart a path to a cleaner, healthier and sustainable ocean for both ourselves and for posterity’s sake,” she added.

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