United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Maldives

[Check Against DelivenJ]
Statement by the Republic of Maldives
on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States
at the 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
H.E Mr. Mohamed Shainee, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture,
Republic of Maldives
5 June 2017
Excellencies, Distinguished Representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a distinct honour for me to address you here today, on behalf of the
Alliance of Small Island States here at United Nations Oceans Conference
to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.
We thank the co-Presidents of this Conference, Fiji and Sweden, the
Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly for convening
this important event.
We welcome the Call for Action to be adopted at this Conference and
further welcome the voluntary commitments being announced at the,
Conference to further the implementation of SDG 14.
We are inspired with the enthusiasm that this Conference has generated so
far, and we welcome and appreciate the sustained commitment from the
international community to work together to ensure the health and well-
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being of our oceans and the communities and societies most dependent on
them.
SIDS interconnectedness with the ocean is the reason why we were at the
forefront of ensuring that SDG 14 found its rightful place in the 2030
Agenda. We will continue to work hard to -ensure its full and rapid
implementation.
Excellencies·,
Small islands face many unique challenges in ensuring our sustainable
development - from limited human and financial capacity, geographical
smallness in size, remoteness and the inability to achieve economies of scale
are few to list.
And although we fully recognize the indivisible and interconnected nature
of Agenda 2030, the ocean is of special significance for small islands, as
custodians of large expanses of.ocean, what we recognize as large ocean
states.
Excellencies,
Although the distances between our nations is often great, our presence here
today symbolizes our resolve to protect the great oceaisof this planet that
connects us in innumerable ways. In this regard, AOSIS remains steadfast in
its support for the full and rapid implementation of Sustainable
Development Goal 14 to ensure a healthy ocean for our generation and
future generations to come.
While we are ambitiou~and hopefulxin our plans for the ocean, we are ever
conscious of the impact that climate change has on our oceaix as we stand
on the frontlines of the impacts of climate change on the ocean ..
We note thy unquestionable link between climate change action, the ocean
and sustainable development for SIDS. -Climate change affects all areas of
/Jjr sustainable development, from agriculture to water security; from
extreme weather events to ocean acidification and coral bleaching. Each of
these impacts has potential devastating impacts but together they have and
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could cripple our food supplies, economies and development. Questions
have been raised in various forums about our existence in the next few
decades with these threats.
Moreover, oceans and seas are the primary regulator of the global climate
and an important sink for greenhouse gases. They provide us with water and
the very oxygen we breathe. Oceans and seas are indeed a topic of universal
importance. This is the reason why AOSIS countries have underscored that
oceans and seas is a thematic priority for the post-2015 agenda.
Excellencies,
As a result of unsustainable consumerism and industrialisation, Marine
pollution is also becoming a significant challenge across the world, and
particularly for. small islands. More people, and industries, have access to
the ocean than in any other time in history. Millions of people throw trash
into our oceans everyday, and vessels and factories of all shapes and sizes
dump pollutants into the ocean.
This is especially sensitive subject for SIDS as we are disproportionately
affected by marine pollution, compared to other countries. While part of the
solution is reusing, reducing and recycling waste, a more difficult part of the
solution is retrieving marine debris that end up in our oceans. Often debris
from far away distances that does not necessarily originate from SIDS.
Therefore, any effort to clean up our Ocean, must be a collective effort. We
must work together to forge partnerships to clean up our oceans, to recycle
waste, and to build the capacity needed to care for our Ocean
But the task before us in restoring the ocean goes well beyond marine
pollution: ocean acidification due to greenhouse gas emissions and illegal,
unreported and unregulated fishing, are fundamental challenges that need to
be addressed immediately as well.
These issues are of particular concern for SIDS, as large ocean states and as
custodians of the oceans. SIDS are dependent on oceans for economic
development, sustainable livelihood, our culture and the ocean remains an
important resource to sustainable use in our efforts to eradicate poverty.
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SIDS are aware that sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, coastal tourism,
the possible use of seabed resources and potential sources of renewable
energy are vital for the realisation of SDG Goal 14 and the full
implementation of the 2030 Agenda. For all of these reasons, AOSIS
reiterates the importance of sustainable use and management of our oceans
and sea
For SIDS, the ocean is a hallmark of our very existence, our way of life,
history and heritage. Healthy oceans vitalize not only SIDS, but the planet
that we call home. Therefore, we must be steadfast in our efforts to care for
and restore the health of the ocean.
It is only through the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and in
particular SDG 14 under it 1that we can ensure strong, healthy and resilient
oceans for small islands and for the rest of the world.
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Excellencies, r"" 1
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. . · · ( ,, ,---t"-· \ v\"~ { I v ~ -~ c-· '-1. ~ • , -- (Jr..-. ~;('~ V --A-s-th~@ad.,of::delegation for the Maldiv..es, I would also like to highlight
that marine pollution, especially due to plastics and microplastics, is an
issue of utmost urgency. Plastic pollution affects marine biodiversity, food
security, and industries such as fishing and tourism that SIDS must depend
on for our livelihood.
Proudly, Maldivian fishery has a reputation as the cleanest and the greenest
fishery in the world. On this occasion, I am proud to announce that our
fisheries industry, consisting over 1250 pole-and-line, handline and longline
fishing vessels and ~processors will move one step ahead to reduce and
phase out use of plastics, and intercept ocean plastics in our I-million
square kilometre wide EEZ. The plastics intercepted by fishermen and
collected at designated collection points will be handed over to Parley for
the Oceans , who Maldives has been closely working with to recycle and
reuse plastic wastes. We urge other nations to follo.w_.our-footsteps to
achieve environmental sustainability globally:. \_)cs'- °\A_ ('.>v,& 9
I look forward to fruitful deliberations in the Conference and this would
ultimately result in a healthier oceans for our future generations.
Thank you
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