United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


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Statement by
Mr. Jóhann Sigurjónsson,
Special Envoy on Ocean Affairs,
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14
Preparatory Meeting
16 February 2017
Thank your for the comprehensive input and fruitful discussions we have had over the
past two days. In addition to our previous statement, we would like to touch upon a
few additional points in reaction to other interventions.
Clean and healthy oceans are of fundamental importance to all life on Earth. Although
in our statement yesterday we did not specifically touch upon marine pollution,
Iceland shares many of the views expressed on this important aspect of the SDGs. In
this context we emphasize the importance of effective implementation of the Paris
Agreement for the success of our efforts to combat ocean warming and ocean
acidification. As regards marine pollution we must not lose sight of the fact that 80%
of the pollution in the seas are derived from land-based activities. Proper wastemanagement
and efforts to reduce the use of plastics and other waste are therefore of
great importance.
Fundamentally we should base our efforts on the agreements that already exist when
it comes to oceans. We are not here to re-negotiate the goals, targets or indicators of
the SDGs. We have to base our work on the modalities resolution that includes
important principles on the way forward. We should further not derail the focus of the
conference, to support the implementation of SDG14, by engaging here in complex
and delicate legal or political issues that are being discussed in other fora. However,
we should use this event as a platform to highlight the importance of the oceans and
the challenges we are faced with. The added value of the conference is to bring
together all relevant stakeholders to foster partnerships to address those challenges.
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As regards follow-up to our commitments, Iceland is of the view that we should make
use of existing processes to integrate SDG implementation into all our work related to
the oceans. We should make use of the limited resources we have to put efforts into
action rather then meet in special follow-up conferences as has been suggested by
some delegations.
We look forward to engaging constructively with you in the negotiations ahead.