United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

H.E. Ms. Thorgerdur Katrin Gunnarsdottir, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Iceland

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The Permanent Mission of Iceland
to the United Nations
Opening remarks by
H.E. Thorgerdur Katrín Gunnarsdóttir,
Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture
Co-Chair of Partnership Dialogue 6: Increasing Scientific Knowledge and
Developing Research Capacity and Transfer of Marine Technology
8 June 2017
High-level 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
www.iceland.org/un/nyc
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The Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations
800 Third Ave. 36th fl. - Tel 212-593-2700. - Fax 212-593-6269
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The background note of the Secretary General for this conference makes a compelling
case for increasing scientific knowledge and research capacity as well as the transfer
of technology. While all the seven partnership dialogues are addressing fundamental
aspects of fulfilling the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the present session is no
doubt of special interest, because unless we acquire the necessary scientific
information and share it, we will not be successful in meeting our targets.
We have come a long way in our understanding of the challenges related to sustainable
conservation and management of the oceans for current and future generations.
However, understanding the vast oceans can be compared with sailing towards the
horizon - never seems to get closer until we see land. We have charts to guide us on
this journey. It is important to base our practice firmly on frameworks as established
by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Sustainable management must start at
the local level – extend to a regional level and in the end we must all be accountable.
All policies for the conservation and sustainable management of the oceans should be
based on sound scientific research. This means ensuring we have well-funded,
competent and independent research institutions. Where financial resources are limited
we should note that assessment methods have been developed in recent years to cope
with data limited situations.
Cooperation in scientific activities and capacity building in marine sciences, is taking
place in bilateral projects and also takes place regionally and under the umbrella of
global organisations, such as FAO. Sharing of knowledge is essential at all levels for
all countries, because marine sciences are most often large-scale activity, where
cooperation gives much added value.
Sustainable harvesting, processing and transport are also vital and we need to ensure
better use of existing technologies. This entails sharing of technology and know-how.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
As a country heavily dependent on the sustainable use of living marine resources,
Iceland has much to contribute, but we also appreciate the opportunity to learn about
other experiences. Iceland has for almost two decades contributed to capacity-building
in fisheries management in developing countries. We have mainly done so through the
UN University Fisheries Training Programme in Iceland.
Finally, politicians also have a major responsibility. The challenge and responsibility
for them is to have the strength to follow scientific advice, even when it is unwelcome.
Science should provide the basis for responsible policy making. We politicians must
look to the long-term interests of society and the environment – and stand against short
term, narrow interests.
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