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Wednesday 17 July 2019

Pledge to protect oceans and island nations to be focus of Irish UN Security council bid

Enjoying the festivities: Charlie Murray, of Ballyvolane, being chased by the SeaFest Artastic diver in the Port of Cork, at the event. Photo: Darragh Kane
Enjoying the festivities: Charlie Murray, of Ballyvolane, being chased by the SeaFest Artastic diver in the Port of Cork, at the event. Photo: Darragh Kane

Ralph Riegel

Protecting the world's oceans and small island nations will now become a cornerstone of Ireland's bid to secure a seat on the UN Security Council.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney used the 2019 SeaFest event in Cork to launch a global campaign to protect the world's ocean wealth - with former US secretary of state John Kerry attending to lend his support.

Ireland aims to harness the power of more than 38 small island nations who are threatened by everything from plastic pollution of the oceans to climate change and rising sea levels.

Officials from more than 90 countries have visited Cork for SeaFest 2019 - with total attendance of close to 100,000 for the three-day event.

Mr Coveney said that Ireland would now offer leadership for small island nations at the UN.

The central plank of the SeaFest 2019 event is an 'Ocean Wealth' conference in Cork City Hall today.

"There are people here from the Caribbean, the Pacific, the African coast and from Asia - from some of the most beautiful places on Earth, from places that we consider paradise," he said.

"However, many of these small countries are under threat so they're coming to Ireland at a very senior level and we, as an island, are looking to give leadership through the United Nations.

"This is Ireland giving international leadership on protecting the sea and countering climate change and it is a long-standing part of our campaign to take a UN Security Council seat."

Mr Coveney, a keen sailor, warned that the world cannot underestimate the threat now facing its oceans.

The United Nations is represented at the Cork event by Peter Thomson, who is the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on World Oceans.

SeaFest has also boasted a strong social dimension, with Mr Coveney hosting a special marine barbecue for visiting dignitaries.

The event programme also included maritime displays, naval exercises, eco-tourism and research.

Irish Independent

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