United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Croatia

CROATIA
Statement by
Ms. Maj a Markovci6 Kostelac
State Secretary at the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure
at the
General Debate
on
UN Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve
and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and marine Resources for Sustainable Development
7 June 2017
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Mr. President,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is a proverb saying: when you put the finger into the ocean, you are
connected with the entire world. Indeed: seas and oceans are our common heritage
and· out common responsibility. Individually and collectively., we should all fulfill
. our mission. It is a common endeavor of various stakeholders such as public and
:. : private sectors, civil society, scientific and education institutions.
Therefore, allow me to express Croatia's strong support for this pivotal global
conference, dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of the world's oceans
and seas.
We are very pleased that the very first UN conference dedicated to the
implementation of an indiyidual Sustainable Development Goal, has been devoted
to Goal 14 and the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine
resources.
Oceans and seas represent one of the world's greatest treasures and an
indispensable source of food, income and well-being for millions of people all
around the globe. Having in mind the fragility and vulnerability of this crucial
resource, it is the high time to redouble our efforts towards activities for its
preservation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Croatia is a Mediterranean State, with a long coastline on the Adriatic Sea and
1244 islands, islets and reefs. Our long lasting maritime tradition, where for
hundreds of years our people lived by the sea, with the sea and from the sea,
obliges us to harmonize our efforts with the pulls of the sea.
The Adriatic Sea as the semi-enclosed sea is by its definition sensitive. Sensitive
to all source of pressure from the shore and from marine related human activities.
Urban development, tourism, fishery, exploitation of natural resources are
recognized to be potential threat.
Economic growth, health and prosperity are legitimate goals of every human
being and every nation. The growth however needs to be in line with what has
been incorporate in the sintagma sustainable development. Development based on
holistic and ecosystem approach insures that the growth does not tum into its
contradiction.
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In this vein, we fully recognize the importance of sustainable development of
islands and coastal regions and sustainable use of the seas and marine resources.
With tourism being vital for Croatian national economy, we recognize the
ultimate need to ensure its sustainable character. Towism based on the respect
and understanding of traditional values, cultural heritage and preservation of
natural environment has its economic justification and provides for long-lasting
sustainable growth.
Nautical tourism as a fast growing branch of tourism and marine activity may
have adverse impact on the marine environment if not regulated and exercised in
line with the highest environmental and maritime safety standards. Therefore,
Croatian government pays particular interest to ensure safe and environment
friendly framework for the development of nautical tourism.
Although we are not the island state, our 49 low populated islands and high
sensibility and dependence of island communities deserves particular attention.
Connectivity is one of the pre-condition for the existence of island communities.
Croatia plans to turn the entire system of island maritime connectivity to
alternative fueling and thus contribute significantly to the reduction of emissions
from marine transport.
Fishery is a very important economic activity in Croatia. As a traditionally
maritime country, fishery is a part of our national identity and it constitutes a
backbone of local coastal and island communities' development.
As a European Union member state, we are dedicated to implementation of the
EU Common fisheries policy, which makes an excellent example of responsible
management. On a global scale, we support the approach of expanding national
jurisdictions beyond territorial waters and in such way increasing the area under
the national management, monitoring and control in fisheries. Although aware
that it means significant increase of costs, the long-term benefits are
unmeasurable. As for the areas beyond the national jwisdiction, we all must put
additional efforts into improving the work of Regional fisheries management
organizations and develop initiatives to enhance the protection of biodiversity in
such areas.
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Most of the marine pollution, including litter, comes from land-based sources and
this is where we must insist on making serious efforts. Smart urban development
and green technology in general are tools, which provide us with the opportunity
to ensure economic growth without jeopardizing the essence of our existence- our
natural environment, our oceans and coasts. Here, in _particular in semi-enclosed
sea area, such as the Adriatic Sea is, the regional co-operation of coastal s~tes is
vital. ·
In that .context, we would like to confirm our strong commitment to the integrated
coastal zone management approach as one of the instruments applicable for the
implementation ofSDG14. Croatia is the proud host of PAP RAC, being a part of
UNEP, established in 1977, with the main aim to provide healthier Mediterranean
environment, resting on the principle of sustainable development. Regional
instruments such as Barcelona Convention could provide valuable framework for
institutional coordination of implementation of targets contained in SDG 14 and
related action plans.
Shipping, although the most environmentally friendly mode of transport still has
the adverse impact on the environment. Therefore, we. should continue to work
together in the framework of the international organizations, particularly the IMO,
to reduce the emissions from shipping in line with the Paris Agreement.
In this regard, Croatia is actively contributing to the development and
implementation of international standards for the protection of marine
environment from ships sourced pollution. One of known and identified threats
coming from maritime transport activities are invasive alien species, introduced
through ships' ballast water. Since 2008, Croatia has proudly participated as a
leading partner in the IMO-GEF-UNDP GloBallast Partnerships Program.
Participation in the program enables us not just to build our own capacity for the
implementation of international treaty addressing the ballast water management,
but also provides us with the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience
with other Adriatic states, the wider Mediterranean and on a global level. This
was a truly positive example of co-operation in addressing and galvanizing global
efforts to manage the ballast water issue.
Mr. President,
The implementation of widely adopted international instruments setting global
standards is crucial for addressing global challenges facing oceans and seas. I
would like to underline the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and
its Implementing agreements as key instruments establishing a comprehensive set
of rules governing the oceans, human activities, protection of the marine
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environment and management of marine natural resources. Efforts should be even
more strengthened to ensure that all States become parties to the relevant
instruments and to implement their obligations.
In addition, the international legal framework should be constantly improved and
developed. Part of this process is the important development of an instrument on
the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas
beyond.national jurisdiction (BBNJ), which Croatia fully supports.,· , : ..
Dear Colleagues,
In conclusion, Croatia strongly believes that the only way we can preserve our
oceans and seas, and at the same time use their full potential for growth and
progress, is by ensuring genuine sustainable development and the preservation
and sustainable use of marine resources. We have settled the goals, and now it is
a time for action. We cannot afford ourselves to watch but not to see, to listen but
not to hear. The oceans kept the genetic code of humankind. Therefore, we should
be always reminded that we do not possess the oceans, we are here thanks to the
oceans and this privilege has only been borrowed from generations to come.
It is the beginning of the journey when more than ever, shared responsibility and
joint efforts are the key for the successful achievement of our common goals.
Croatia is all heartily ready to jo~ this journey with our partners worldwide ....
Thank you.
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