United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Malta

REPUBLIC OF MALTA
Statement by
H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of
the Republic of Malta to the United Nations
United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of
Sustainable Development Goal 14:
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine r~sources
for sustainable development
8th June 2017
United Nations, New York
(Please check against delivery)
Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We would like to begin by expressing appreciation to you, Mr. President, for your leadership in
convening this important High-Level Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable
Development Goal 14 of the 2030 Agenda.
We would also I ike to thank the Governments of Sweden and Fiji as Co-hosts of this Conference. Our
gratitude also goes to the two Co-Facilitators from Portugal and Singapore, as well as the UnderSecretary-
General for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations as the Secretary-General of
the Conference for their crucial role in bringing together all Member States and stakeholders which
has led to agreement on our 'Call for Action'.
Malta fully supports the ' Call for Action' for the SDG14 which also takes into account the different
national realities, capacities and levels of development.{Iii particular, Malta is in agreement with the
importance given to enhance further marine scientific research to enable policy makers to adopt
effective and efficient measures.{Fe also welcome that knowledge hubs and networks to enhance the
sharing of scientific data and best practices are encouraged and promote'!)
Mr. President,
The Ocean Conference comes at a timely moment for the international community. Malta has always
been at the forefront on maritime and marine related issues. As a maritime nation, strategically located
in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has made its own contribution to international efforts
towards the conservation and sustainable use of our seas and oceans. It was in this room in November
of 1967 when Malta's first ~ermanent Representative to the UN, the late Arvid Pardo, known also as
' '
"the Father of the Law of the Sea Conference", contributed to the birth of the modern law of the sea
enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). His quest to protect
the oceans from arbitrary appropriation and his call for a regime to efficiently administer their
resources created the necessary momentum -ttt- that time for promulgating this crucial concept which
would pave the way for a 'Law of the Sea', consequently materialising in 1982. The unsustainable
scramble for resources and minerals had inspired the Maltese Initiative that defined the seabed, ocean
floor and sub-soil thereof as the 'Common Heritage of Mankind.' Determined to act decisively and
urgently, leaders and governments have since then acted upon their obligations under international
law, to continue to fulfil their commitments on maritime and marine related issues.
Mr. President,
The Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union succeeded in ensuring political
endorsement by means of Council Conclusions for a more coherent, comprehensive and effective EU
policy to improve the international ocean governance framework and the sustainability of the oceans.
In addition, on 20th April 2017, Malta organised an Informal Ministerial Conference on Blue Growth
and Ocean Governance. During this Meeting, the Valletta Declaration was endorsed by all EU
Ministers responsible for the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy, which inter alia focused on the
importance the EU should give to Blue Growth, Ocean Governance and Nautical Tourism.
Malta would also like to recall that SDG 14 target C, which calls for implementation of international
law as reflected in UN CLOS, is pivotal to the achievement of all SDG 14 targets. One way . towards
achieving target 14( c) is to irrevocably bring legal protection to high seas biodiversity. The High Seas
are a global issue and hence their conservation and sustainable use require a global solution.
We take this opportunity to urge the Preparatory Committee on the development of an international
legally-binding instrument under the UN Convention on Law of the Sea for the conservation and
sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, to conclude its
discussions within the timeline established by UNGA resolution 69/92. We hope that the Preparatory
Committee will complete its work successfully next month and that a decision will be taken during
the 72nd Ses~ion of the UN General Assembly to launch an Intergovernmental Conference.
Mr. President,
Allow me to briefly highlight action taken by Malta towards the conservation and sustainable use of
the sea under its jurisdiction. Malta recognises the importance of identifying and designating Marine
Protected Areas in order to ensure good governance, management, conservation and protection of our
seas and therefore has been giving this sector specific attention. Given Malta's geographical position,
in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, its MP As contain a diversity of important species and habitats.
Malta has so far designated a total of fourteen marine protected areas with nine MP As declared in
2016. ,~ .
With thek-designation nf the oine MPA.s estaalished in 2016, Malta has further contributed to cover
important areas for marine turtles, dolphins and a number of protected seabirds. These sites will help
restore and strengthen ecosystem resilience which will help protect ecosystem services and may
mitigate adverse effects from global wanning and other stressors on the marine environment.
Collectively these fourteen MP As exceed 3,450 square kilometres which essentially covers a
significant protected area especially when considering that the land size of Malta's archipelago is 316
square kilometres. ·
With these designations, and its future commitments, Malta has contributed towards the achievement
of the Aichi Target 11, set out by the Convention on Biological Diversity, which aims at achieving the
conservation and equitable management of 10% of global coastal and marine areas, by 2020. In its
national capacity, Malta is thus currently protecting close to 30% of all the waters under its
jurisdiction, exceeding by far the 10% target set for SDG 14.5.
2
Malta continues to work within the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, under which inter alia
pollution levels are also monitored. The EU Maritime Transport Ministers, who met in Malta in
March 2017, welcomed in the Valletta Declaration, the progress made at IMO Marine Environment
Protection Committee (MEPC) 70 with, the setting of 1st of January 2020 as entry-into-force date of
the 0,5% global sulphur cap for marine fuel, which should significantly reduce the global amount of
sulphur which gets into the ocean and seas from 2020 onwards.
Mr. President,
The recognition that our ocean is a shared resource has resulted in multiple national, international and
regional obligations which aim at safeguarding our ocean's sustainability, for future generations. [uch
protection has to be a holistic one, which addresses the challenges presented from various sectors, by
all relevant stakeholders.~e strongly believe that it is through structured collaboration with our
regional and internationaf°partners that issues such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,
marine pollution and the negative effects that climate change have on marine environment, will
continue to be successfully addressed]
Our global commitments can only be achieved through global efforts. In this regard, Malta is pleased
to host the next 'Our Oceans Conference', which will be held in Malta in October 2017. We have to
maximise on the momentum that has been created through this annual ocean conference and focus our
energies to coordinate our efforts towards safeguarding our ocean. In this light, Malta together with
the European Union will continue providing its support towards such collaborative efforts. Malta
looks forward to hosting a successful Oceans Conference in October, which will build on
commitments made in order to ensure a more sustainable use of the oceans and their resources.
3
Stakeholders