Oceans, climate change, and social equity: Association of Pacific Rim Universities Keystone Speech

Nereus Program Director of Policy Yoshitaka Ota (University of Washington) gave a keynote speech at the Association of Pacific Rim Universities’ (APRU) Annual Meeting, which took place between June 25 and 27, 2017 at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. The APRU is an alliance of 50 Pacific Rim universities that acts as an advisory resource for international organizations, governments, and businesses. The APRU specializes in shaping Asia-Pacific higher education, research, and global leadership.

Yoshitaka Ota delivered a keystone speech on the interrelationships between oceans, climate change, and social equity, with an emphasis on their importance in contributing to sustainable development. Within his speech, Ota introduced the concept that achieving SDG 14 ocean targets has the potential to assist in the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals.

Examples of co-benefits include how ending overfishing would boost economies, how ending ocean acidification would help reduce world hunger, or how ending marine pollution would help reduce gender inequalities. Ota warned about the potential consequences of not fully embracing social equity principles while implementing SDG 14 measures; while imposing marine conservation efforts, it is crucial to prohibit the abuse of human labor, such as human trafficking, forced labor, and child labor. Ota’s speech can be viewed below.