United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

FAO Statement on the Themes for the Partnership Dialogues

Delivered by Mr. Audun Lem
Deputy-Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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

United Nations
15-16 February, 2017

Thank you Chair:
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the member States of the United Nations, outlines a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world. Multi-stakeholder partnerships have been recognized as critical for the mobilization of resources and activities to achieve the 2030 Agenda, we must work together if we are to achieve these ambitious targets.
Sustainable Development Goal 14 calls on States to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal ecosystems for their livelihoods and food and nutrition security – SDG14 therefore needs also to be considered in connection with other related SDGs, namely SDG1 and SDG 2.
Securing sustainable access to marine resources is therefore essential for securing sustainable fisheries that support livelihoods and provide food security for millions of people living in coastal communities. Fisheries and aquaculture offer ample opportunities to reduce hunger and improve nutrition, alleviate poverty, generate economic growth and ensure better use of natural resources areas relevant to multiple goals of the 2030 Agenda.
The Ocean Conference outcomes are expected to guide the thematic review of SDG14 at the High-level Political Forum in July 2017. The partnership dialogues represent an opportunity to present a unified path toward achieving SDG 14.
FAO supports bold actions, smart policies, and robust implementation of existing legal frameworks and agreed international guidance to achieve these ends, and we recognize that cooperation and collaboration are the only way forward. The FAO looks forward to contributing to the partnership dialogues established by the Ocean Conference and to working with a diverse range of partners to support the achievement of SDG 14 and the 2030 Agenda as a whole.
While each of the seven proposed dialogue themes is critical in achieving SDG 14, FAO would like to provide specific comments on three of them:
[Theme Four] Making fisheries sustainable (targets 14.4 and 14.6)
FAO welcomes the inclusion of theme four, sustainable management of ocean ecosystems is imperative for ensuring fisheries production to sustain human well-being and livelihoods. Given the variety and diversity of issues contained within these themes, FAO recommends ensuring ample time to enable meaningful dialogues during the Ocean Conference.
[Theme Five] Increasing economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets (targets 14.7 and 14.b)
FAO welcomes theme five, recognizing the critical need to increase economic benefits for SIDS and LDCs. Blue Growth and the Blue Economy offer an alternative pathway for SIDS and LDCs to generate greater benefits including decent work and incomes from the sustainable use of their aquatic resources.
FAO enjoys a long history of partnership with SIDS and LDCs, providing policy advice, analysis and technical assistance through its experts in fisheries and natural resources management and food security. FAO’s field programme and normative work has generated valuable experience, knowledge and lessons that are helping SIDS and LDC members to overcome their challenges. Now we must work together to build regional and national systems to sustain and multiply these benefits.
FAO equally appreciates target 14.b. It is estimated that the small-scale fisheries subsector accounts for more than 90% of the full-time or part-time workers directly depended on commercial capture fisheries value chains for their livelihoods. Small-scale fisheries actors therefore have to be key actors in the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Considering the livelihood function of small-scale fisheries, SDG target 14.b is also closely linked to other SDGs, in particular SDG 1 (No poverty), SGD 2 (End hunger), SDG 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production) and SDG 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts). At the request of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), FAO facilitated the development of an internationally negotiated instrument that complements the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. The implementation of these Guidelines calls for collaboration among key actors to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries and FAO is supporting its partners in these efforts.
[Theme Seven] Implementing international law, as reflected in UNCLOS (target 14.c)
Access to productive resources including those of the oceans and seas supported by good governance, participatory decision-making processes and robust implementation of existing negotiated guidance and legal frameworks, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its subsidiary agreements, are essential to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda.
FAO has supported the development of a framework of international instruments that contain the tools necessary to sustainably manage and use shared resources, if applied consistently at the global, regional, and national level. We look forward to supporting and providing inputs to the theme seven dialogue.
Thank you Chair.