United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


First, Canada would like to recognize the
opportunity that the United Nations Ocean
Conference presents to significantly advance
work to conserve and sustainably use the
oceans, and calls on all States and interested
parties to take full advantage of this chance to
amplify our individual efforts.
The Sustainable Development Goals are
integrated and indivisible. Work toward the
targets under Goal 14 must be undertaken with
awareness for connections with the other
SDGs, and looking for opportunities to advance
toward targets under multiple Goals. For
example, sustainable fisheries management will
be critical in achieving the goals of eradicating
poverty and ensuring food security.
The targets under Goal 14 are interrelated,
and progress on one can increase progress
toward others. A prime example of this
interrelation is Target 14.a on increasing
scientific knowledge. Access to information and
sharing information is key to increasing the
overall scientific knowledge about oceans and
successfully achieving Goal 14. This is an
important element of our efforts to build
The Call to Action should emphasize that
progress toward all the targets under Goal 14
must be supported by the best available
scientific information and advice. More technical
work is required in order to develop practical
indicators for measuring ecosystem health and
performance in addressing conservation
targets. We need effective and realistic
indicators and thresholds to better guide
fisheries and oceans management, and these
indicators and thresholds need to factor in risks
from factors we cannot control, such as climate
change. For example, we are currently
developing a methodology for incorporating
climate change considerations into fisheries
stock assessments. And through enhanced
research and monitoring activities, and in
collaboration with international partners, we are
increasing our knowledge of the biological
impacts of ocean acidification on species of
The declaration should urge States and
organizations to make tangible investments in
scientific research, scientific cooperation and
knowledge sharing to underpin efforts toward
multiple targets. It should also emphasize the
importance of the ecosystem based and
precautionary approaches. To demonstrate our
commitment in this regard, last year our
Government announced an investment of
almost $85 million over five years to ensure we
are able to realize the 10% target for protecting
Canada’s marine estate. At the same time, our
Government committed $197 million over five
years to enhance our capacity to undertake
freshwater and oceans science.
The Call to Action should also recognize the
significant expertise possessed by various
organizations involved in oceans issues at the
sectoral and regional levels; expertise that
should be seized up on and used in order to
improve the conservation and sustainable use
of our oceans and their resources. In this vein,
the Call to Action should also emphasize the
importance of enhancing cooperation and
coherence amongst those organizations.
To achieve the targets under Goal 14,
Indigenous peoples as well as local knowledge
will need to be meaningfully included in
planning, decision-making, and implementation.
This is true of all the targets, and in particular
target 14.b regarding small-scale artisanal
fishing. The Call to Action should reflect this
need to consult with and engage local and
Indigenous people in implementing Goal 14.
All work toward achieving the SDGs also
requires an understanding of the active role that
women play in sustainable development,
poverty alleviation and peace-building.
Addressing these issues effectively requires
gender-sensitive interventions, reporting and
data requirements, and indicators.
Women make up about half of the fishers
and fish workers in small scale and artisanal
fisheries worldwide. Women have an important
role to play in the governance and conservation
work of protected area management. The Call
to Action needs to emphasize that engaging
and including women in implementing Goal 14
will be crucial to achieving the suite of targets.
To achieve the goal of conserving and
protecting ten percent of coastal and marine
areas by 2020 we must be flexible in our
approach, such as using other effective areabased
conservation measures. Recognizing the
contribution of other effective area-based
conservation measures allows the use of the
most appropriate tool in each context to
maximize marine biodiversity conservation and
foster the buy-in from stakeholders that will be
needed for implementation. Internationally,
more expert work is needed on the question of
what ‘other measures’ means.
Canada advocates a science-based
approach to defining other measures in the
marine environment. What we report and how
we report it needs to be ambitious, transparent,
and credible. Canada has offered to host an
international technical expert workshop on
‘other measures’ to provide scientific and
technical advice on the biodiversity
conservation benefits of these measures in the
marine and coastal environment. The Call to
Action should emphasize the importance of
credible reporting of conservation measures
toward this target.
We look forward to working with States and
other participants in drafting this declaration.