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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

29 June 2022


Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, 

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, 

I would like to thank the focal points of UN-Ocean for their continuous support to this interagency body throughout the year and for organizing this important event.  

Today, I would like to highlight our successful collaboration with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)-UNESCO in the technical assistance provided to the G20 Process under the Indonesian Presidency, which has a strong component on the environmental protection of the ocean within the Climate Sustainably Working Group.  

G20 members contribute more than 80 per cent of global GDP, 75 per cent of international trade and represent 60 per cent of the world population. Hence, actions by G20 members on climate change mitigation through effective policies can produce results at a large scale.  

In collaboration with IOC, we are preparing a study to present findings and recommendations that may assist G20 policy- and decision-makers to address climate change, informed by sound ocean science. 

Our study identifies gaps and underperformance related to investments in ocean science across the G20 group, which will benefit from a more strategic allocation of resources.

We focus on ocean-based solutions, identifying common areas of cooperation and investments in ocean science, marine technology and innovation that are necessary for an enhanced understanding of the ocean-climate nexus.  

The recommendations a call for the enhancement of ocean science-policy interfaces and the integration of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) and ecosystem-based approaches, such as investing in blue carbon storage for climate change mitigation and increasing marine protected areas to preserve key ocean ecosystems, especially around mangroves, salt marshes and coral reefs.  

We emphasize the conservation of coastal habitats, as they have the capacity to sequester two to four times the amount of carbon per area than terrestrial forests. Yet, they are being lost at about 1.5 per cent per year.  

Our region has crucial reservoirs and it is necessary to protect them. For example, Indonesia’s seagrasses and mangroves combined account for 3.4 pentagrams of carbon (PgC), approximately 17 per cent of the world’s blue carbon reservoir. 

We must do better to leverage scientific research, developments and technology to harness ocean-based solutions to climate change. Only 1.7 per cent of national research budgets are allocated to ocean science.  

We must also enhance science-policy interfaces. This can be achieved by facilitating dialogue platforms between scientists and policymakers to support sound and comprehensive policy design, and by increasing the number of ocean science career professionals with appropriate incentives and measures to balance gender representation. 

The recommendations included in the study will guide delegations as they reach an agreement on the key elements to be included in the communique. We are confident that these recommendations will make a strong and positive impact on the protection of the ocean and climate. 

I would like to take this opportunity to briefly highlight another successful collaboration in Asia and the Pacific. Jointly with the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Development Programme, also members of UN-Oceans, we have developed a Regional Decade Programme to support the implementation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Activities in this programme will address several challenges and objectives of the ocean decade, have a strong emphasis on the ocean-climate nexus and facilitate collaboration amongst UN agencies for the protection of the ocean.  

We look forward to strengthening our collaboration with further UN-Oceans members throughout the Ocean Decade to accelerate and guarantee the delivery of Sustainable Development Goal 14 by 2030.   

Thank you very much.

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