United NationsDépartement des Affaires Économiques et Sociales Développement Durable

Solomon Islands

Statement delivered by
H.E Mr. Milner Tozaka
Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands
6th June 2017
UN Oceans Conference
New York
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Co - President,
Excellencies
Distinguished delegates,
Thank you for giving me the floor,
Allow me to join the previous speakers in offering Solomon Islands' congratulations and
support to the co-Presidents of this important conference, Fiji and Sweden. That we are
meeting on matters affecting our ocean is already a success. This conference marks a
significant milestone for the United Nations in the era of the SDGs. I commend its focus to
achieving the targets set out in Sustainable Development Goal 14, which aims to Conserve
and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
I am pleased, on behalf of my Government, to welcome the Call to Action which underscores
the strong political will to address measures that address the deteriorating health of our
ocean and its resources. Concrete action on the ground should now be our measure for
success.
Solomon Islands along with its neighbouring Pacific Island states fully understand that the
Ocean and marine life is the most important resource for our countries and our people. It
cuts across the three dimensions of sustainable development. Thus, as I have mentioned in
previous fora, this Conference provides us another opportunity for the global community to
once again undertake a fresh perspective on ocean governance.
Solomon Islands along with its Pacific neighbours know that we are stewards of the largest
expanse of Ocean in the world and its bountiful resource base. The ocean space under our
collective jurisdiction is not only important to us. These spaces and their resources have a
global significance as well.
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As such the Pacific region boasts a number of regional and sub-regional marine and ocean
related frameworks, a testament to our strong commitment to improving governance on
ocean and marine life issues. These frameworks remain very relevant today. Their
implementation will also complement SDG 14.
Mr. President,
Great challenges remain before us, from collapsing fisheries to plastic pollution to ocean
warming and ocean acidification. These challenges threaten the integrity of marine
ecosystems around the world. We simply cannot survive - let alone prosper - if we do not
reverse the destruction of the ocean's natural capital. However, the burden of conserving our
oceans and its resources should not disproportionately fall on us. We call for the continued
support of our development partners to share the burden associated with effective
implementation.
At the national level, I am pleased to inform that the Solomon Islands policy approach on
ocean governance is guided by the government's National Development Strategy 2016-2035.
The government is working on developing a national ocean governance framework that aims
to rationalise and enhance coordination as well as implementation of all ocean related
legislations. This framework is spearheaded by Oceans 12 which is made up of our
Government's leading ministries responsible for the management of the ocean space that
surround our country and marine life that occur therein.
In our efforts to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, Solomon Islands, as a
member of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, has employed the purse seine Vessel Day
Scheme (VDS) to monitor fishing efforts within our waters.
As a member of the Coral Triangle Initiative, Solomon Islands has been implementing a
coordinated approach to marine and coastal management with the leadership of our
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government that focuses on people centered natural resource management. Solomon Islands
with the support of the Forum Fisheries Agency, utilised the Vessel Monitoring System to
undertake monitoring, control and surveillance activities within our Exclusive Economic Zone.
We must invest in our Ocean. In particular, we need investments in science and research in
order to better understand the capacity of our Ocean to provide for our future, including the
need to understand and build resilience against ocean acidification. We will also need
capacity building and the transfer of appropriate, modern and environmentally sound
technologies. We call on the international community and partners, including the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, to ensure that transfer of relevant marine
and ocean technologies to SIDS are realized under an appropriate framework.
Mr. President
Genuine and durable partnerships are the key to unlocking the knowledge and the finances
needed to meet the SDG14 targets. We need to bring others along if we want to achieve
success: government, international institutions, non-governmental organisations, civil
society, academia, the scientific community and the private sector.
We must keep the momentum going. Over the last year we have seen a sharper focus on the
sustainable development of the Ocean by the international community. We are encouraged
by the progress towards a legally binding instrument under UNCLOS on BBNJ. In addition, the
SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have been significant
milestones in addressing Oceans issues.
This Ocean Conference will start the next chapter, namely to accelerate implementation. It is
imperative that even when this conference comes to a close, that all of us remain committed
to achieving what we have voluntarily committed ourselves to achieving for the sake of our
ocean.
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I call on all partners and stakeholders for a stronger commitment to improve linkages
between local, national, regional and international frameworks on oceans conservation and
management. I further call for stronger public-private partnership to address this and in this
regard I am pleased to announce Solomon Islands intention to working closely with Parley for
the Oceans, Adidas on the A.I.R initiative in terms of recycling plastics and protecting marine
wildlife. Solomon Islands also supports the declaration on tuna traceability which brings
together partners from governments, and the private sector to crack down on IUU caught
tuna making it to the market.
Mr. President
For Solomon Islands and other Small Island Developing States, the interlinkages between
climate change and ocean related conservation are strong and clear. The climate challenge
demands a global and decisive response that is based on scientific evidence and reality.
Indeed, all human induced activities that lead to the depletion of oceanic resources must be
addressed. The threat of climate change multiplies and further exacerbates the degradation
of the ocean.
Our resolve must remain strong. Now is not the time to waver. The future that we, our
children, and grandchildren want is at stake. Let us continue to work together for the sake of
our ocean - for the sake of our future.
Co-President, Excellencies and distinguished delegates, I thank you for your attention.
Thank you.
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