United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


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The Permanent Mission of Iceland
to the United Nations
Statement by
H.E. Thorgerdur Katrin Gunnarsdottir,
Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture
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
Partnership Dialogue 7:
Enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their
resources by implementing international law as reflected in the United
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
9 June 2017
The Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations
800 Third Ave. 36th n. - Tel 212-593-2700. - Fax 212-593-6269
Distinguished Co-chairs. Mr. Moderator, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Oceans are of fundamental importance to all States. Without a clean, healthy, productive
ocean, Agenda 2030 will be almost impossible to attain. Sustainable management of natural
resources is key to our aims of eradicating poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives and
promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
Iceland has direct experience of the power and potential of the ocean. Iceland's longstanding
approach is carefully balancing the sustainable use and the conservation of oceans and their
In our experience this responsibility is best placed in the hands of those living closest to the
resources, directly affected by the decisions taken and with the greatest interests at stake. At
the same time we realize that international cooperation is essential to keep our oceans clean
and marine environment healthy.
The effective implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its
implementing agreements will have a critical impact on progress in all the target areas of
SDG 14 and interrelated Goals.
It is Iceland's firm position that UNCLOS provides the legal framework for all activities in
the oceans ands seas. The management of high seas fisheries through a regional approach, in
line with the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, has proven a firm basis for sustainable
management. The development of the third Implementing Agreement under UNCLOS, the
so-called BBNJ-instrument, might make the framework even more comprehensive in the near
We shouldn't try to reinvent the wheel in the international context. We already have the legal
framework for the achievement ofSDG 14- as long as States meet their obligations and work
With strict management systems and effective enforcement we can ensure that future
generations continue to harvest food from the sea Key to this is a strong scientific basis and
the sharing of knowledge and experiences.
Effective compliance with, and enforcement of, the key legal instruments remain a challenge.
This is particularly true for developing countries and especially for SIDS and LDCs.
Increased knowledge-sharing and capacity-building is thus of utmost importance.
Iceland is honoured to contribute to such capacity building through the United Nations
University Fisheries Training Programme in Iceland. We will continue to play our part in
strengthening the implementation of UNCLOS as the cornerstone of successful
implementation of SDG 14.
Thank you.