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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

29 October 2020

Excellency Mr. Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau,

Excellency Mr. Simon Kofe, Minister of Justice, Communications and Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu,

Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization,

Mr. Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Assistant Director General – UNESCO,

Ambassador Mr. Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean,

Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is my pleasure to extend my warmest welcome to all participants to the Third Asia-Pacific Day for the Ocean!

 

Our oceans are lifeline to tens of millions of people around the Asia-Pacific region and offer enormous socio-economic opportunities and welfare. Conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and coastal areas are key drivers in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.   

 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased the burden on communities and vulnerable groups as they continue to face existing long-term negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.

 

This crisis has not only exacerbated the socio-economic challenges but also impacted livelihood of people those are dependent on oceans, seas and marine resources, causing severe challenges to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

 

May I now highlight several priority areas related to Ocean for Asia and the Pacific region:

 

There is an urgent need to step up efforts to manage marine resources sustainably. The sustainability of our fish stocks is fundamental to food security and nutrition, and to economies. There is a need to effectively implement and enforce the Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.

 

There is an urgent need to focus on reducing single-use plastics waste. Time is now to embrace sustainable social norms that transform our addiction to single-use plastics. Leveraging the digital technologies to monitor and manage plastic waste is now possible and essential.  

 

There is an urgent need to scale-up efforts to rely on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry. Enhanced regional cooperation can support in improving accessibility of affordable shipping services, accelerating digitalization of maritime and port services, securing transport safety and social conditions.

 

While we recognize that we can provide comprehensive decision-making supported by integrated oceans data solutions, there is a clear case for collecting and sharing more comparable and integrated data on oceans. Lack of availability of data for SDG 14 has limited the ability to provide adequate policy responses.   

 

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

 

With the above background, may I now focus on four policy issues and directions for your further deliberations.

 

The first one is to accelerate international and regional cooperation and enhance multi-stakeholder engagement to manage tourism and fisheries. Promotion of a common Pacific brand to raise the global profile is an important step forward.

 

Second, to encourage sub-regional and cross-border initiatives around river basins to reduce single-use plastic. ESCAP is supporting the ASEAN Framework for Action on Marine Debris to undertake an innovative project: Closing the Loop. This initiative is facilitating local governments to prevent plastic waste pollution and leakages entering into the ocean using remote sensing and artificial intelligence.   

 

Third, to enhance sustainable regional maritime connectivity. Through ESCAP’s Regional Action Programme on Sustainable Transport Connectivity and capacity building programmes, member States can forge strategic partnerships with the regional and global standard setting organizations and stakeholders.

 

Fourth, to promote regional cooperation activities for effective ocean governance. ESCAP’s Global Ocean Accounts Partnership is supporting member States to measure and manage progress towards sustainable ocean development. Viet Nam, Malaysia, China, Thailand and Samoa are part of the development of pilot Ocean Accounts initiative.

 

 

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

 

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, I call on the regional stakeholders to strengthen cooperation in the promotion of the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. We are counting on your continued leadership.

 

We have enhanced our support to countries, in particular least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, as well as developing middle-income countries, in sharing experiences and adaptation of good practices across the region.

 

ESCAP together with colleagues from all UN system are committed to further strengthen and facilitate Oceans-related work with member States, multi-stakeholders through dialogue and technical assistance programmes as we embark upon the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).   

 

Today I look forward to hearing your policy-solutions to accelerate progress on the delivery of SDG14 and the protection and sustainable use of the ocean for our communities in Asia and the Pacific.  

 

Thank you very much.

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