UN Environment Executive Director's Statement on the 25th Anniversary of ASCOBANS

A message from Mr. Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UN Environment, to the 25th anniversary of ASCOBANS

A Silver Lining for Whales & Dolphins

Whales, dolphins and porpoises are among the most fascinating and iconic creatures on our planet. They migrate even further every year than the millions of people travelling across continents to catch a glimpse of them. Their incredible intelligence and social behavior still hold many secrets for the scientific community. Yet these mesmerizing mammals face growing threats from human activity, not only in the open seas and coastal areas, but in our homes and businesses.

Every year, our choices leave about 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises caught up in fishing nets. Thousands more suffer from the impact of energy, shipping, underwater munitions and pollution like noise, chemicals, plastic or other marine debris. For example, look at the recent images of a whale in Norway dying from a stomach full of plastic bags from Denmark and the UK.

That’s why the last 25 years of work by the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans in the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas is so important. With such amazing species and migration patterns to protect, the Agreement’s impact reaches far beyond the European waters at the heart of its effort. And the team is not alone. Growing global support is clear, from governments and individual citizens, to major oceans conferences and UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign.

The dedication of the Secretariat and Member States in caring for these creatures and the seas through which they travel, make UN Environment proud to support the work coordinated from Bonn. We wish them all the best on this special Silver Anniversary and look forward to redoubling our efforts to give whales, dolphins and porpoises the home they deserve.


Last updated on 20 March 2017

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