United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Bangladesh

Statement by Bangladesh on behalf of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at the United
Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal
14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for
sustainable development
Delivered by: Mr. Md. Khurshed Alam, Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Dhaka
New York, 7 June 2017
Excellencies, distinguished representatives, and ladies and gentlemen,
I have the pleasure and honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Least
Developed Countries.
Let me begin by congratulating Republic of Fiji and the Kingdom of Sweden for their CoPresident-
ship of the Conference.
Healthy oceans are critical for sustaining life, eliminating poverty and promoting prosperity.
This is more applicable for LDCs. The time is now to move from words to actions to conserve
and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources.
Unfortunate as it may be, the overriding understanding among the LDCs is that they are being
treated rather unfairly so long as the question of an equitable world value chain is concerned.
Also, global investment and trading regimes are still far from being conducive for them to
embark an ecologically sustainable growth trajectory. We apprehend that the Blue Economy
would not be very far from this generalization. Hence for the development of the measures
associated with the SDG 14, LDCs deserve to be treated with special care.
Taking cues from Addis Ababa Action Agenda, 2015 and the concerns so rightly documented
in the Paris Agreement 2016, we believe that following points are critically important for the
LDCs in realizing the SDG 14 is concerned.
First: Raising awareness at all levels to change the centuries long notion that ocean is a nonexhaustible
source of food and also a dumping ground. There should be a paradigm shift in
the management of ocean pollutants and viable alternatives should be put into action. We
should take necessary steps for combatting ocean warming and ocean acidification in light
of the Paris Agreement.
Second: Formulating suitable fiscal policies for achieving all the targets of SDG 14, in
coherence with other SDGs. Here we call for prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies
which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated
fishing. We should also refrain from introducing new such subsidies, particularly by
completing the ongoing negotiations in the WTO on this issue without further delay while
recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing
and least developed countries should be an integral part of those negotiations.
Third: Capacity building of and transfer of technology to LDCs. We should find out ways as
how the recently established technology bank for LDCs could be better utilized for this
purpose. More importantly, such technologies should also be able to balance the needs of the
economies, as much in terms of growth and ecology, as in sustainability and adaptation to
adverse changes.
Fourth: Breaking the silos, building effective partnership, and adopting a cross-sectoral and
coherent approach. We also call for enhanced coordination and coherence throughout the
UN system on oceans issues. We must come up with an effective follow-up mechanism to
ensure implementation.
Fifth: Formulating a clear, LDC-specific strategic intent which justifies the need for
exploitation of the existing resources and exploration of the emerging ones.
Sixth: Ensuring sufficient and predictable allocation of resources for a sustainable
development of the ocean. As much for a careful design of the organizational interfaces to
leverage the critical assets and capabilities from the LDCs including developing clear criteria
to decide on unhindered access to time-bound investment schedules. In particular, there
should be specific commitments and oversight from the G7 and other developed nations to
nurture and fund the new initiatives in six major broad areas namely, i) Maritime trade and
shipping; ii) Food and Livelihood; iii) Energy; iv) Tourism; v) Coastal protection/ Artificial
islands/Greening coastal belts; and vi) Human resource development, maritime surveillance
and spatial planning, and their protection from the predatory nature of the markets and
other forces to allow them a sustainable take off.
Lastly: Fostering visions, values and cultures that provide for a common identity across the
comity of nations to help all involved see where the planet is headed for.
Mr./Madame Co-president,
The role of small-scale artisanal fisheries in food security and nutrition is often
underestimated or ignored. Their production is rarely reported separately in national catch
statistics although in some developing countries, they provide for more than 60 per cent of
protein intake. Their access to market as well as marine resources is compromised and
restricted in a number of ways. We need to ensure them a level playing field. Non-compliance
can lead to a vicious cycle of restricted access to foreign markets leading to stagnation of the
development of the fisheries industry and restrictions to market access. This needs to be
addressed.
Besides, ocean science needs to adopt a holistic approach towards understanding and
addressing cumulative impacts of various threats such as climate change, acidification,
pollution, coastal erosion, sedimentation and erosion and overfishing. Ocean research or
related services and acquisition of sufficient credible scientific data and information are still
weak in many LDCs due to high cost. Technical education in marine related fields is often
absent or inadequate. There has to be focused redress on these sectors.
Let me now turn to Voluntary Commitments. As of opening of the conference on 5 June
2017, more than 700 voluntary commitments have been registered. This is a great show of
solidarity as well as perhaps realization of the stakeholders to contribute to changing the
current plight of oceans and implementation of SDG 14. Among those pledgers, there are 54
member states, out of which four are from LDCs. We express our gratitude to all of them for
registering their commitments. In this respect, let me thank UNDP for their initiatives in
organizing national level consultation in 25 countries to prepare voluntary commitments.
I would like to thank member states or other organizations who made generous contribution
to the trust fund for supporting delegations from developing countries, in particular, from
LDCs and SIDS to attend this conference.
Before ending, let me endorse the group's support to the draft 'call for action' document,
which we expect will be adopted in this conference by consensus. This political document
tried to capture views of member states and groups for faithful implementation SDG 14 and
the need to sustain action over the long term to address the health of the ocean. This could
have been more ambitious though.
We also align with the statement delivered by Ecuador on behalf of G77 and China.
The Oceans are our mothers. We are sustained and disciplined by them. Let us never forget
where we came from - so that we may proceed with care and respect. That is better for all of
us as a whole. We still do not have anywhere else but this Blue Planet to call our home.
I thank you all.
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