United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


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Co- Presidents
Your Excellencies
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and gentlemen
At the outset, let me thank you for the excellent work you
have done so far as the President of this conference, which is the
first of its kind. My delegation sees this conference as a veritable
opportunity to assess mankind's activities in the oceans
especially, since the beginning of the industrial revolution and its
impact on the oceans.
towards the
Nigeria notes the commitment of a vast majority of countries
clarion call to save our oceans and coastal
As you are aware, the oceans cover more than
two-thirds of the earth surface, providing resources that sustain
human society. Indeed, our oceans are the planet's human capital
producing an incredible array of goods and services for mankind.
The marine environment provides us with a lot of resources and
services, some of which we use everyday, like oil and gas, and
Coo Presidents
3. The sheer number of people who use and depend on the
oceans and sometimes employ unsustainable methods to exploit
the resources have created problems such as overharvest of
resources, reduction in biodiversity and degradation of marine
habitats and species. It has become a recurrent decimal that we,
on a daily basis, degrade, over-consume and pollute this
productive asset to a point of ever-diminishing returns.
4. It is indeed, worthy of note that the coastal zone, which is a
land-sea interface, is one of the most complex areas in terms of
management, being the home to an increasing number of
interwoven human activities. The pressures on the oceans and
the adjoining coastal zones have the real potential to damage the
social, economic and environmental interests of the residents
within this area. Over the years, the issue of coastal zone
development has been of great concern especially in the face of
global climate change. This has been motivated by the polluted
state of the coastal zones, unsustainable exploitation of coastal
and marine resources giving rise to high mortality of aquatic
animals. Similarly, there is an impairment of human healthr loss
of biodiversity in breeding grounds, vegetation destruction and
other ecologicaJ hazards. Populations have also lost portable and
industrial water resources, reduction in fishing activities,
experienced poverty and rural underdeveJopment°
Co- Presidents
5. In Nigeria, the overall mandate to protect the ocean and
coastal areas is entrusted on the Federal Government in
accordance with section 17 of the constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria. The major thrust of this provision is 4
enumerated in the National Policy on Environment. Agencies of
the FederaJ, State and Local Governments have been involved in
different activities. Research Institutes, Universities, Private
organizations and NGOs have also contributed positively in this
6, Another significant development was the establishment of
the Federal Ministry of Environment which has impacted on
raising the issue of environmental consciousness, as well as the
ability to comply with the global environmental best practices.
The Ministry has developed innovative strategies that emphasize
the use of environmental
job creation, poverty
encouraging sustainable
re - engineering as a veritable tool for
eradication, ensuring food security,
economic development and general
improvement in the livelihood of the Nigeriarl populace. At the
international level, it has pursued the use of the environment in
advancing the country's foreign policy thrust.
7. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency
(NIMASA) is the line agency charged with the administration of
maritime safety, seafarers standards and security, maritime
labour, shipping regulation, promotion of commercial shipping
and cabotage activities, pollution prevention and control in the
marine environment.
International Maritime
It also implements
Organization (IMO) and
Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions. The Agency's efforts are
complemented by the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and
marine Researchÿwhich conducts research into the resources and
physical characteristics of the Nigerian territorial waters and the
high seas.
Coo Presidents
8. My delegation wishes to note that in spite of the provisions
of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, most
developing states are yet to fully benefit from ocean activities and
resources, including the much-needed technical assistance, It is
also worth mentioning here that scientific data gathering has
become a challenge for many of the indicators that have been
developed for all targets under SDG 14,
9, In accordance with these targets and indicators, not only are
we expected by 2020 to sustainably manage and protect marine
and coastal ecosystems, we are also expected to conserve at
least, 10 percent of coastal and marine areas consistent with
national and international laws and based on the best available
scientific information,
10, Nigeria believes that with unsustainabie exploitation of
oceans and coastal resources coupled with climate change, the
world could be faced with a dying ocean while the achievement of
these targets could be a mirage. In the words of the President of
the General Assembly (PGA), Mr. Peter Thomson, "every second
breathe you take comes from ocean-produced oxygen. Without a
healthy ocean, we are in deep trouble; whether it is food,
whether it is our climate, we have to have. the integrity for the
ocean, the source of lifeo" Nigeria will continue to support all
pragmatic actions necessary to save our seas and coastal
Co= Presidents1 Your Excellencies
11. We must act concertedly to buiJd bridges of cooperation in
the areas of information sharing, technical assistance, transfer of
marine technology, including the creation of new opportunities for
developing states. Thus, our universal push to have the integrity
for the oceans would be all inclusive and indeed, leave no one
Thank you