United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Permanent Mission of the Republic of Namibia to the United Nations
135 East 36th Street, New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 685-2003 • Fax: (212) 685-1561 • E-mail: namibia@un.int
Statement by H.E. Mr. Neville Gertze Ambassador & Permanent
Representative, on the occasion of 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
New York, 9 June 2017
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Over the past week, we have gathered here in this august Assembly of
nations to reflect on the health of our Planet Blue, and to hear the plight
of the oceans around the world. We have listened and heard the clear
call for decisive action to right our wrongs and to take to heart the
undeniable reality that water through the oceans is life. How we treat
this life sustaining resource, will determine whether we will leave
behind a world suitable for future generations to live in. With this
heavy responsibility on our shoulders, I am honored to put on record
the contributions of Namibia in pursuit of Agenda 2030 as well as the
AU Agenda 2063, relative to achieving the Sustainable Development
Goal 14.
2. May I however first join others in congratulating Your Excellencies,
the Prime Minister of Fiji and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of International Development Cooperation and Climate of Sweden, on
your appointments as Presidents of this Conference and for the
outstanding manner in which you have presided over our work this
week. My delegation endeavored without fail to support your
stewardship of this historical event, up until its conclusion today.
3. Co-Presidents, Namibia aligns itself with the statement made by the
distinguished representative of Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77
and China.
4. Namibia further welcomes the . concise, focused and balanced
intergovernmental "Call for Action" Declaration that is to be adopted at
the conclusion of this historic and important Oceans Conference, which
amongst others encapsulates all the basic tenets that would enable us to
salvage our deteriorating marine ecosystems, especially the health of
our seas and oceans, which are the primary sources of life for
approximately 3 billion of the world's population.
5. With a coastline that stretches approximately 800 nautical miles and,
with seas and oceans that have an exceptionally high biological
productivity, Namibia boasts one of the most productive fishing
grounds in the world, traversed by the cold Benguela current, as a result
of the upwelling ecosystems that brings nutrient rich waters up from the
depths of the seas and oceans, thereby stimulating the growth of
. . . .
m1croscop1c marine organisms.
6. Namibia therefore, recognizes and attaches great importance to this first
ever UN Conference to support the implementation of Sustainable
Development Goal 14 under the theme entitled: "Conserve and
sustainably use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable
7. The convening of this Conference is both befitting and opportune,
seeing that it guides and provides us the opportunities to make decisions
that would have positive and sustainable impacts on the health of our
marine and coastal ecosystems, geared towards the sustenance of our
future generations. In this connection, it is incumbent on all of us to
work in tandem to overcome the challenges that may present themselves
in order to make sure that "no one is left behind". The health and wellbeing
of the oceans is vital therefore, if we were to successfully address
other challenges of hunger and poverty amongst others. The
interlinkages between SDG 14 and SDGs 1 and 2 therefore cannot be
8. Distinguished Co-Presidents, we all have a global responsibility to
humankind and, that responsibility must be executed now. We need to
join our energies in combating the challenges to our oceans and seas,
which inter alia, include the acidification of the seas and oceans, overand
illegal fishing and waste pollutions, such as untreated domestic and
industrial waste, the discharge of hazardous and toxic waste substances
that are non-biodegradable and bio-accumulative, from various landbased
industries and sea sources.
9. However, I wish to underscore the need for practical support, in terms
of capacity-building, technology transfers relative to scientific
knowledge to climate change adaptation expertise and financing, to
effectively address these challenges relative to the management of our
ocean resources sustainably and the creation of resilience amongst the
most affected sectors of our societies.
10. Shortly after our independence in 1990, Namibia crafted three tailormade
and strategic policies for the sustainability of its fisheries
industries, including the protection of its maritime environment, as
contained in its Marine Resources Policy of 2004. I am also pleased to
share with you that Namibia is amongst the first countries in Africa that
inserted the concepts of environmental protection as a legal provision
in its Constitution, as contained in Article 95 of our Supreme Law.
11. Article 95, provides, and I quote, "for the maintenance of
ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of
Namibia and the utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable
basis for the benefit of Namibians, both present and future", end quote.
12. In 2013 Namibia joined forces with its coastal neighbors namely,
South Africa and Angola to establish the Benguela Current Convention
in pursuit of our strategies and plans of action to promote a coordinated
regional approach for the long-term conservation, protection,
rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela
Current Large Marine Ecosystem, including improving ocean health
and stewardship, complemented by the generation of new tools to
increase resilience.
13. We firmly believe that no ecosystem will remain unaffected by the
diverse effects of rising carbon dioxide ( CO 2 ) levels. The future of the
ocean's health depends on us. We are, therefore concerned about the
adverse impacts of climate change; the singular biggest threat to the
well-being of human-kind, human health and socio-economic
14. The Paris climate accord, which indeed is the first global blueprint
is a reflection of our determined multilateral efforts and, I submit is a
historical victory for multilateralism.
15. It is a reflection of our multilateral efforts aimed at curbing the
effects of a warming planet, but most importantly, it is a reflection of
the scientific consensus on the severity of the crisis. It equally captures
the crucial elements for the protection of our seas and oceans, under the
UNFCCC blueprint for global climate action to fight ocean
acidification, which indeed is a major threat to marine organisms,
ecosystems, including other climate induced disasters, such as rising sea
levels, ocean warming and deoxygenation, to mention, but just a few.
16. We all have the moral obligation and duty, not only to lead in
reducing emissions, but to support poorer economies, especially those
of the developing world who are on the frontlines of the effects of
climate change. The transition to low carbon societies is inevitable.
I thank you for your attention.