From Awareness Raising to Action for the Oceans: the role of Youth and Civil Society
Friday, June 9, 3:00 – 4:30 pm, Conference Room #6, UN Headquarters

This side event will focus on the role of education and awareness raising for action for the oceans, and to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, it will focus on the crucial role of youth and civil society.

The experience of the NGO Peace Boat, which conducts education and advocacy programmes related to the Sustainable Development Goals on board regional and global ocean voyages will be shared at this event. The “Global Goals” logo is painted on the side of Peace Boat’s vessel, which is used as a unique platform to highlight the Sustainable Development Goals in a public awareness raising campaign. This utilizes the ship’s presence to draw local and regional media attention, mobilize public opinion in support of the SDGs, and connect civil society, United Nations agencies, and governments working towards these goals in countries visited. A number of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are visited during Peace Boat’s three global and two regional voyages per year, and grassroots representatives from SIDS working in collaboration with Peace Boat will present their community’s concerns and messages relating to SDG14, including connections to climate change and resiliency, at this event. With 2017 named the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development,” the role of sustainable tourism will also be explored in relations to SIDS, both as a tool for education and awareness raising about ocean degradation and climate change, and also in connection to Target 14.7.

Furthermore, the concrete example of the Ecoship – as both a call for and an example of action – will also be highlighted at this event. Introduced as one of the first Voluntary Commitments at the Ocean Conference preparatory meeting in February, Peace Boat has made the commitment to the concrete action of the Ecoship Project, a 55,000 ton, 2000 passenger capacity nature-inspired vessel which will set sail in 2020 as a flagship for the SDGs, in particular for ocean protection and climate action. The ship itself seeks to implement Target 14.3, to minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification with an estimated 30% CO2 reduction compared to a good current design, and a zero-emission target in ports achieved through achieved through the combination of energy efficiency in propulsion and accommodation (hull optimization, re-use of waste energy, anti-drag systems, cleaner fuels and fuel adaptability), the use of renewable energies (solar, wind, kinetic) as well as through management tools. The Ecoship Project is committed to a target of zero discharge and close to zero waste operations and will incorporate closed-loop waste and water management systems, to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution (Target 14.1). Ecoship’s contribution to SDG14 will come not only through its technology and design but also through its diverse activities. Four annual global voyages including to Small Island Developing States will create the framework for hundreds of educational programmes, advocacy campaigns, media appeal and applied research, as well as for hosting international conferences, public awareness raising events and exhibitions on green technologies, climate action, and ocean welfare.


H.E. Mr. Luke Daunivalu, Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations (opening remarks)
H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations/ Chair of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) (Keynote Speaker)
Yoshioka Tatsuya, Founder and Director, Peace Boat & Ecoship Project
Jon Bruno, The International Ecotourism Society
Representative from The Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the United Nations
Representative from Marshall Islands Students Association (MISA4thePacific)
Representative from The United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) (TBC)
Moderator: Karen Hallows, International Coordinator, Peace Boat

Main Organizers:

Peace Boat is an international NGO with Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the United Nations and associated with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). Since 1983, Peace Boat has been conducting advocacy and education programmes onboard a chartered passenger ship. Three global voyages are carried out each year for approximately three months each with around 1000 people on board. As a committed campaigner for the Sustainable Development Goals, Peace Boat works to inspire people onboard and in countries visited during voyages to make an active engagement in achieving the goals. Since August 2016, Peace Boat’s ship has been sailing with the Global Goals logo on its hull, unveiled at a ceremony in cooperation with UNDPI and the UN Information Center Tokyo. 

The Ecoship Project is a transformational programme to construct the planet’s most environmentally sustainable passenger ship. The Ecoship will be a platform for Peace Boat’s round-the-world educational voyages carrying 6,000 people per year; host exhibitions on green technology in up to 100 ports per year; and serve as a floating sustainability laboratory contributing to research on the ocean, climate and green marine technology. The ship will also create awareness and encourage active engagement with the challenges embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). It was presented as one of the first Voluntary Commitments to SDG14.

Organizing Partners:

The Permanent Mission of the Maldives to the United Nations, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS)
The Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the United Nations
The United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) (TBC)
Marshall Islands Students Association / MISA4thePacific
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)
The NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-New York
The World Ocean Festival

Potential Contribution to the Conference:

This event will provide a platform for participation by youth and grassroots island community organisations to have a voice at the Ocean Conference. Furthermore, it will focus on outreach and awareness raising, two key themes to ensure that the targets of SDG14 and the outcomes of the Ocean Conference are shared with a broader constituency outside of the United Nations, member state governments and expert organisations. This is part of a series of activities Peace Boat is arranging in Japan, at sea on board its 94th Global Voyage, and together with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the ship is docked in Stockholm on June 2, 2017.

The event and Ocean Conference itself will be promoted through Peace Boat’s social media, which reaches more than 30,000 people around the world; onboard Peace Boat’s global voyage as it travels to over 20 countries around the world, and in an “Ocean Youth Ambassadors Programme” to be announced at the Ocean Conference and to take place in September-October 2017, as a concrete follow up action to the conference.