United NationsDepartamento de Asuntos Económicos y Sociales Desarrollo Sostenible

Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS)

Cook Islands, Federated State of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu,
Vanuatu
PACIFIC SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES
United Nations Member States
Phone: 212-557-5001
Fax: 212-557-5009
E-mail: pngmission@pngun.org
Permanent Mission of the Independent State of
Papua New Guinea to the United Nations
201 East 42nd Street, Suite 2411, New York, N.Y. 10017 ! "#$%&'!()*+,-.!/%0+1%234! !
STATEMENT
FOR THE EIGHT SESSION OF THE
UNITED NATIONS OPEN WORKING GROUP ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
DELIVERED BY
H.E. TOMMY REMENGESAU JR.
PRESIDENT OF THE
REPUBLIC OF PALAU
ON BEHALF OF THE PACIFIC SDG WORKING GROUP TROIKA
AND
THE PACIFIC SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES
REPRESENTED AT THE UNITED NATIONS AND TIMOR-LESTE
3 FEBRUARY 2014, NEW YORK
!
Cook Islands, Federated State of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu,
Vanuatu
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Co-chairs,
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS)
represented at the United Nations; namely, Fiji, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands,
the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga,
Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and my own country, Palau, as well as Timor-Leste.
While our moniker emphasizes the smallness of our islands and populations, we are in fact, large
oceans states. Our borders span vast expanses of water, the size of which is difficult to
comprehend outside of our region. Within them, we are custodians of some of the world’s richest
biodiversity and marine resources.
This natural endowment is our heritage; its vitality is integral to our environment, economy, and
culture: our lives as islanders are tied to the oceans. It should therefore come as no surprise that
we are advocating for a Sustainable Development Goal on oceans and seas.
Ensuring healthy oceans and seas is not solely an “island” issue, however. Sustainable oceans
and seas are universally essential to sustaining life and livelihoods on Earth. Oceans and seas are
the common fabric uniting states and continents. They cover two-thirds of the planet’s surface
and hold 97 percent of its water. Oceans and seas absorb heat and carbon dioxide, generate fully
half of the oxygen humans breathe, shape the world’s weather patterns, and are a potential source
of renewable energy.
Fish are an essential source of food globally. They are the world’s single largest source of
protein. They are relied upon as a primary source of food by nearly a billion people, most of
whom live in developing countries.
Oceans and seas are also a key tool to eradicate poverty. Fisheries and related industries employ
anywhere from 660 to 820 million people. That represents fully 10 to 12 percent of the world’s
population. A majority of workers in secondary industries, such as fish processing, marketing
and canneries, are women. Ocean and coastal tourism is also a large, fast-growing industry.
Undertaken sustainably, marine eco-tourism presents a tremendous opportunity to create good
jobs and preserve the environment for countries around the world.
Co-Chairs,
International efforts to sustain healthy oceans and seas are failing. Once thought to be limitless,
more than 80 percent of global fish stocks are now fully or over-exploited. Pollution is saturating
our waters. Ocean acidification and coral bleaching are decimating reefs and coastal habitats that
once teemed with life. Climate change is causing the seas to rise at unprecedented rates,
increasing the intensity of storms and threatening to wipe entire states off the map.
Cook Islands, Federated State of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu,
Vanuatu
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These pressures are interrelated and simultaneously impact our environment, economy, culture,
and heritage. Addressing them requires a global framework like the SDGs that spans all
dimensions of sustainable development.
Putting oceans and seas at the center of the UN’s development agenda will give them focus that
is commensurate to their importance.
Through the SDG process, we can deliver on the commitments World Leaders made at Rio+20
in The Future We Want. And we can do it in a way that aligns stakeholders around a common
framework for action with metrics to measure success.
Here is how: a stand alone SDG to achieve ‘Healthy, Productive, and Resilient Oceans and
Seas’.
An oceans and seas SDG should aim to meet three main targets.
1) First, we need a healthy and well-managed marine environment.
This requires the development of marine protected areas and other types of ecosystem-based
conservation measures, reducing pollution, and addressing the causes and impacts of coral
bleaching and ocean acidification. Our focus should be on securing the health of areas
particularly important for biodiversity and ecosystem services.
2) Second, we must restore healthy fish stocks.
Fish stocks are a driver of economic growth and a bedrock of food security. They must be
restored to sustainable levels. This will require ending destructive fishing practices, eliminating
Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, building strong monitoring, control,
surveillance, compliance, and enforcement systems, and undertaking environmental impact
assessments.
Meeting this target also requires measures to tackle over-fishing. Subsidies that contribute to
overcapacity and IUU fishing must stop. Science based management plans should be
implemented so that fishing effort will be reduced or suspended in line with the status of the
stock.
3) Finally, Least Developing Countries, African Countries, and Small Island Developing States
should be assisted so that they can realize the benefits of their sustainably developed marine
resources.
Too often we speak of our countries’ vulnerabilities. But we are not merely vulnerable.
Sustainable use of the oceans and seas can unlock our countries’ tremendous development
potential.
Cook Islands, Federated State of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu,
Vanuatu
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The Millennium Development Goals proved that we can make historic gains by marshaling
resources around a common cause and bringing stakeholders – governments, NGOs, the private
sector, and local communities – together. The same is true for the SDGs and oceans. Investments
in sustainable ecotourism, local fisheries, marine management, and data collection can make a
generational, transformative impact. We require only the right tools and the right partnerships to
protect our environment, grow our economies, and enrich our people’s lives.
Co-Chairs,
Life itself is said to have emerged from the oceans. They are our origin. They are also our future.
A truly sustainable development agenda must include healthy oceans and seas. The entire planet
and its people depend on them. They are essential to food, jobs, health, culture, and the
environment globally.
Recognizing their importance and their interconnectivity, the PSIDS propose that the oceans and
seas be dealt with as a whole through a stand alone SDG. That is the best way to deliver on the
promise that oceans and seas hold for the world and to ensure that they remain healthy,
productive, and resilient for generations to come.