UN-OHRLLS x Parley: Call to Action for the Oceans

Parley and UN-OHRLLS invite Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to join Parley and support and endorse the Parley A.I.R. Strategy to end ocean plastic pollution.


The event brought together small island leaders, Parley partners and supporters from the private sector, civil society, and members of the United Nations to discuss the eradication of plastic pollution from the ocean and formulate an alliance towards solutions under the Parley A.I.R. Strategy—our plan to avoid, intercept, and redesign plastic. 

In conjunction with the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Parley for the Oceans, the Government of the Republic of the Maldives, the Government of Grenada, and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) held a High-Level Luncheon on September 22, 2016, at the UN headquarters in New York.



“Small islands depend on collective action and partnerships from a multitude of diverse stakeholders to safeguard rich marine resources. Sustainable Development Goal 14, for the world’s oceans, aims to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution. With this goal in mind and through collaborative efforts these vital ocean states can tackle some of the most significant challenges facing the planet including eradicating plastic pollution from the oceans.” 

Gyan Chandra Acharya Under-Secretary-General and High-Representative for UN-OHRLLS


Eric Liedtke from Adidas shared the vision and impact of a global brand which embraces the power of collaboration and eco-innovation to set new industry standards. Cyrill Gutsch, Parley’s Founder, showed us that plastic is a design failure and a global threat—one we can only fix long-term through international and interdisciplinary cooperation across three pillars of action: Avoid, Intercept, and Redesign.

Finally, President of the United Nations General Assembly 71st Session, newly appointed Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji warned that action is our only choice, echoing the words of Under-Secretary Acharya of the UN OHRLLS, who on behalf of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need for collaborative efforts, collective action, and partnerships to fight the growing problem of plastics.

Island nations are especially threatened by a changing ocean and climate, but they are also uniquely positioned to lead the solutions. Through the Parley A.I.R. Strategy and initiatives of our comprehensive Ocean Plastic Program, Parley and partners unite with governments and local organizations worldwide in the diversion of plastic waste from remote and vulnerable ecosystems and landfills. Together with SIDS members, we will develop a blueprint to avoid unnecessary plastic, intercept and recycle waste, and drive eco innovation, education and awareness, as well as economic development for long-term solutions. 

During the event, Parley and the UN-OHRLLS officially extended an invitation to all UN SIDS member states to answer a vital Call to Action for the Oceans — to join Parley and support and endorse the Parley A.I.R. Strategy (Avoid, Intercept, Redesign) and work collaboratively towards eradicating plastic pollution, currently one of the largest threats to global marine ecosystems. The call to action was first presented at the recently held “He Lei Holo Puni Honua” ceremonial presentation of declarations on World Oceans Day 2016. 

The UN SIDS x Parley Call to Action for the Oceans is seen as an opportunity for SIDS to rally together in targeting ocean plastic pollution and set a tone of unity and action ahead of the the 2017 Oceans and Seas Conference to be held in New York. Throughout the afternoon, we heard commitments from both the Prime Ministers of the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, and from the Governments of the Seychelles and the Bahamas. 

Both the Maldives and Grenada, island nations leading the way in the implementation of strategies to eradicate plastic pollution, recommitted to the fight against ocean plastics, endorsing Parley A.I.R as a viable solution.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, iconic oceanographer and Parley’s Chief Science Officer, urged the need to protect and explore our Blue Earth with the unprecedented knowledge, technology, and tools we now possess. 


“Island nations are the first to witness and suffer a changing ocean. In extending this Call to Action, we look to them not only as our partners, but as our leaders and teachers as we define a blueprint to end ocean plastic pollution through the Parley A.I.R. Strategy. Each nation, industry, community, and citizen holds a unique piece of the solution. Our goal at Parley is to be the glue that joins it all together, the space where agreements and strategies are made and, most importantly, implemented.”

Cyrill Gutsch



Speakers at the event included:


  • H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly 71st Session
  • Cyrill Gutsch, Founder of Parley for the Oceans
  • H.E. Dr. Mohamed Asim, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Republic of the Maldives
  • H.E. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High-Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing State
  • Dr. Sylvia Earle, Explorer and Chief Science Officer, Parley
  • Eric Liedtke, adidas Executive Board Member, Global Brands, member of the Parley Steering Committee
  • H.E. Dr. Angus Friday, Ambassador of Grenada to the US, Mexico and Co-Founding Member of the Blue Network
  • H.E. Ronny Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change, Seychelles
  • Honourable Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister, Tuvalu
  • Shaahina Ali, Executive Director, Parley Maldives