“We can and need to do better” – Grete Faremo at UN Ocean Conference

In New York this week, UNOPS Executive Director met with UN agencies, the private sector and advocacy groups to discuss common ways forward in support of coastal communities and ocean sustainability.

​"There are two things that we want to focus on here – the need to build awareness among younger generations and the ability of UNOPS to implement projects that will have an immediate and positive effect on coastal communities and those currently affected by the state of the world's ocean," said Grete Faremo.

The week-long conference at UN Headquarters brings together Member States, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, the private-sector and a host of advocacy groups, to address the importance of immediate action on ocean health.

The conference will usher in a Call-to-Action to combat ​marine pollution. Eighty percent of ocean debris comes from land-based sources.

Attendees highlighted the urgency of diverting further pollution through strong policies and cross-border regulations, as well as through the  strengthening of waste disposal infrastructure.

Overfishing, changing consumer behaviour through innovation, and building awareness were also common topics of discussion at the week's side events.

On the side lines of the Ocean Conference, UNOPS held a joint reception with partner WATO, which was attended by some 200 people. There, Ms. Faremo and WATO representatives spoke about the importance of their new partnership in engaging with younger generations and those with the biggest stake in ocean health.

"WATO connects with generation Z - the most connected generation ever - while UNOPS works with governments​ and UN agencies to implement sustainable projects," said Ms. Faremo.

"We are building on our respective strengths with the goal of creating long-lasting change."​