The session started with the introduction of the guest, in the person of Miss Paula Bernasconi, leading to the reason why she is concerned with this particular Sdg, and in response to this she stated that she had always been passionate about it and as always been taught the importance of it while she was growing up and has even done a field work on it and at some point in her life she wanted to be a Marine Biologist.
This was followed with the question of the link this goal had with all other SDGs, she stated that it is very much intertwined, like with that of climate change and from there she went on to explain further how it is linked and also how life below water is linked to all other goals. This led to the question of the greatest threat to our oceans, which she believes that asides from apathy, people don’t understand how deeply rooted life below water can be and how it affects all manner of life, she believes the solution to this includes progressive fining of organisations or individuals who flout the rules; and remaking of statistics, ensuring that the figures put out there are very understandable to the public. This was followed by the question of if this goal was actually the least important as compared to all other goals, and she couldn’t agree with this, she believed that because of how intertwined and interconnected all the goals are they need to be achieved together and not one goal left to the side-lines.
The next question was on balancing the need of man alongside the protection of marine animals, our guest believed that for us to achieve this we have to think more in the long term, that would our actions today affect that of tomorrow and that we must start now and not wait till when it’s too late. This was then followed by the question of how far we had come to achieving target 14.5 which is concerned with conserving at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, she believes that it totally depends on the country and how far the country has come to achieving their individual targets, she further explained stating that quite a number of countries have been able to accomplish their set target to conserving coastal areas.
On the question of marine pollution, she believes that other practical solutions include, progressive fining as earlier said; releasing of pollution statistics by government on organisation who pollute, in order for the masses to boycott such organisations; then having options within an industry so the citizens can have a choice who to choose from. All these solutions she provided are new solutions that should be tried for the purpose of reducing marine pollution.
In concluding the session, she stated that the government has a huge role to play and we have to pressure them to get the result we want, stating that the government are put there to serve us and they alone cannot achieve this but private sector through social innovations, grants to entrepreneurs in this field, recognizing entrepreneurs in this field would certainly go a long way. Also, schools should begin teaching these subjects earlier on in the curriculum. While individuals also have a huge role to play in ensuring that the life below water is preserved, such as better understanding what the SDGs are about and figuring out how they can play a part to foster its achievement, for example a simple way individuals come in is through using solar panels, buying food locally and without plastics and most especially getting to know the problems closest to them and getting involved.