United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

Cluster 6 – Oceans and Seas
10th Session of the OWG on Sustainable Development
Intervention Statement for Alliance of Small Island States
2 April 2014
We take the floor today to underscore that healthy, productive, and resilient oceans and
seas are a critical source of livelihoods and are an important element of our identity.
Oceans and seas are critical not only to ourselves, but to the whole global community.
And, we believe that oceans and seas are a priority that should be prominently reflected
in the Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda, including through
consideration of a thematic Sustainable Development Goal.
The IPCC report published on Monday gave a stark picture of the state and future of
oceans for humanity. Among the conclusions:
- The ocean is warming because it's absorbing more than 90 percent of the energy
increase in our climate system.
- Marine organisms sensitive to temperature are following warming systems, and fish
and plankton are moving rapidly towards the polar regions at a rate of 100km per
- The migration of key food species like tuna creates a potential crisis for many small
island states dependent on the species for food and income.
- In the western Pacific, for example, tuna have migrated hundreds of kilometers in an
easterly direction in the past few decades.
- Additionally, the absorption of carbon dioxide is acidifying our seas making it more
difficult for species like coral to build skeletons, and disorienting fish due to neurological
Healthy oceans and seas contribute to poverty eradication by creating sustainable
livelihoods and decent work in fisheries and marine aquaculture, shipping and
shipbuilding, ports, tourism, oil, gas, mining, and maritime transportation industries.
They are crucial for global food security and human health. They are the primary
regulator of the global climate and an important sink for greenhouse gases. They
provide us with water and the very oxygen we breathe.
Oceans and seas are indeed a topic of universal importance and should have a
prominent place in the SDGs and post-2015 agenda. Indeed, failure to address oceans
and seas in the SDG process will hamper efforts to meet development goals, especially
those related to poverty eradication, food security and health efforts.
Co Chairs—
In line with the importance of oceans and seas to SIDS, we believe the following targets
should be reflected:
Target 1. Marine ecosystems are restored and safeguarded, marine
biodiversity is effectively protected and fish stocks, are rebuilt and maintained at
healthy and productive levels
Target 2. Coastal and marine areas critical to food security and livelihoods
are protected and restored through area-based conservation measures, including
effective and equitably managed systems of marine protected areas (MPAs),
consistent with international law
Target 3. Oceans and seas are sustainably managed through the
implementation of the ecosystem-based approach
Target 4. All types of maritime uses are effectively managed and controlled
and all types of marine environmental impacts, (including the effects of climate
change and the different types of land-based pollution) are assessed,
understood, and mitigated.
Target 5. The effects of climate change and ocean acidification to the marine
ecosystems are effectively addressed and the rate of investment to strengthen
the resilience and security of all countries, particularly of the most vulnerable
including SIDS, against the adverse impact of climate change and natural
disasters is increased.
Target 6. Increase the rate of investment in environmentally friendly
infrastructure that strengthens the resilience and security of all countries.
Target 7. Build human and institutional capacities to conserve, sustainably
manage, and realize the benefits of sustainable fisheries.
For oceans and seas, the issues are known. What is needed is political will to take the
actions necessary. We are at a historical juncture and we need a paradigm shift. We
look forward to working with all of our partners in this process to ensure that it provides
a framework for the delivery of sufficient means of implementation and effective
partnerships to allow for us to go beyond the rhetoric of sustainable development and
make real, measurable progress on the ground in the post-2015 development
I thank you.