United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Barbados

Permanent Mission
of Barbados to
the United Nations
STATEMENT BY
SENATOR THE HON. MAXIME MCCLEAN
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND FOREIGN TRADE
BARBADOS
AT THE
UNITED NATIONS OCEAN CONFERENCE
OF THE
71 sr SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASS EMBLY
6 JUNE, 2017
United Nations Headquarters
New York
please check against delivery
Mr. President,
Barbados is pleased to participate in this important Conference,
convened under the theme "Our Oceans, our future: partnering for
the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14)".
It provides an important opportunity to focus the attention of the
international community on our collective responsibility to preserve
and protect our marine environment. We are especially pleased with
the format of the Conference -which brings together all stakeholders
to discuss how we can address collectively the opportunities and
challenges of SDG 14 implementation.
As you know, Barbados is a small island developing state, or SIDS,
with an ocean space several hundred times its limited land mass of
166 sq. miles or 430 sq. kilometres. As such, Barbados attaches
great importance to the oceans and seas. Like other SIDS, Barbados
has intrinsic geographical, cultural, social and economic ties to the
coastal and marine environment. It stands to be severely impacted.
by the unsustainable use of the ocean and its marine resources. It is
against this background that Barbados has systematically played an
active role in multilateral efforts to address environmental and
sustainable development issues.
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Mr. President,
Barbados views the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea (UNCLOS) as the overarching legal framework for all activities
of the oceans and seas. As a framework instrument, UNCLOS has
provided the basis for the crafting of a number of implementing
agreements. UNCLOS has also catalysed the development of several
multilateral environmental treaties to which Barbados is a state
party. At the regional level, Barbados is party to the Cartagena
Convention and is an active supporter and beneficiary of the UNEP
Regional Seas Programme. We therefore welcome the adoption of
the Regional Seas Strategic Directions during the 17th Global
Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Actions Plans in
Istanbul, Turkey, in October 2015.
Barbados has also been a staunch supporter of the Caribbean Sea
Initiative and has been involved in efforts to have the Caribbean Sea
recognised as a Special Area in the context of sustainable
development. While there is currently no international consensus on
the establishment of special areas other than to reduce or contain
pollution, we remain committed to working with others to protect and
safeguard the unique biodiversity and the highly fragile ecosystem
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that comprise the Caribbean Sea, as well as, the interwoven
livelihoods of millions of Caribbean people.
Barbados recognises the benefits derived from ocean ecosystem
goods and services, such as education, recreation, food and
tourism. Specifically in 1983, the Government of Barbados embarked
on a programme to improve coastal zone management in order to
safeguard our coastline and protect significant infrastructure
threatened by erosion and other coastal processes. With the
assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank, Barbados was
able to develop a globally recognised model programme of
integrated coastal zone management that was built on the principles
of participatory governance, evidence-based decision making,
ecosystems-based adaptation and knowledge transfer.
We are presently engaged in a project to improve ecosystem
services that reduce the impact of climate change on natural and
built coastal assets. In particular, we are interested in adopting an
integrated coastal risk management approach to address emerging
climate risk. We believe that this approach will allow us to
incorporate risk management solutions into infrastructure planning
and regulation that will address current and future vulnerabilities, as
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well as reflect changes in environmental and socio-economic
conditions over time.
In this regard, Barbados stands ready to share the emerging lessons
and the projected outcomes from this ongoing initiative with
interested jurisdictions. We are particularly keen to work with
partners and agencies that wish to support SIDS-SIDS Cooperation
in the area of coastal ecos-ystems-based adaptation and
management utilising SIDS-applicable models.
Barbados shares the view that an integrated and collaborative
approach to ocean governance is needed to address the multiple
stressors facing our oceans and their resources. We are cognisant
of the negative impacts that ocean acidification and rising sea
temperatures are having on the oceans and their resources. We have
also witnessed the invasion of alien species, such as the lion fish
and Sargassum seaweed. The expanding lionfish population is
threatening the well-being of coral reefs and marine ecosystems,
and the commercial and recreational activities that depend on the
coral reef and associated habitats.
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We also welcome continuing efforts to combat Illegal, Unreported
and Unregulated (IUU} fishing and overfishing. These destructive
practices pose a major threat to the sustainability of local and
regional fisheries. They also negatively impact the economy,
employment, marine recreation and food security of Barbados.
We support the efforts of the Cartagena Convention and the
Regional Fisheries Bodies to join forces in addressing this and other
issues of relevance to SDG 14 implementation, including ecosystem
conservation. We also look forward to partnering with others to
support the establishment of an effective vessel monitoring system.
We believe that the development of a vessel monitoring system for
the region including effective national observatory platforms will
also assist us in developing a catch documentation, reporting and
traceability systems, and sustainably manage our fish stocks while
enhancing our ability to export fish and fishery products.
Barbados is also very aware of the negative impact of land-based
pollution on the marine environment. In this regard, we wish to
highlight the important role that regional Protocols on land based
sources of pollution can play in the successful and inter-connected
implementation of SDG 6 and SDG 14.
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Mr. President,
In closing, the authors of the First World Oceans Assessment noted
and I quote "the greatest threat to the oceans come from a failure to
deal quickly with the manifold problems. Many parts of the oceans
have been seriously degraded. If the problems are not addressed
there is a major risk that they will combine to produce a destructive
cycle of degradation in which the ocean can no longer provide many
of the benefits that humans currently enjoy from it".
I thank you.
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