Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to contribute to the Opening Ceremony of the “International Conference on Fishing Communities 2023.”.
The oceans produce 70per cent of the oxygen we breathe and are responsible for over 80per cent of global trade. Around 60 million of the world's population are employed in primary fisheries. Of these, 85 per cent live in Asia and the Pacific, and 21 per cent are women.
Today's oceans are exposed to rising sea levels, extreme weather and natural disasters due to global warming. In addition, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and marine pollution pose a major threat to sustainable fisheries and biodiversity.
In addition to the ecological and natural challenges posed by changing marine environments, fishing communities face many economic and social challenges, including ageing, population decline, the gradual disappearance of traditional cultures and lack of access to education, healthcare and markets.
We believe that fishing communities are going through a new period of transition and data-driven policy making is essential to respond effectively to a changing environment.
Furthermore, since the challenges facing fishing communities are intertwined geographically and environmentally, there is a limit to what one single country can do.
As an intergovernmental organization, ESCAP is ready to work and help you to strengthen multilateral cooperation involving all stakeholders across our diverse region.
Before closing, I would like to thank the Korea Maritime Institute for organizing this conference.
I am confident that it will be a platform to support and drive change in fishing communities.
Thank you very much.