United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

High Level Conference on SDG 14: OECD plenary statement
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking the United Nations for convening this Conference, as well as the co-hosts,
the governments of Fiji and Sweden. I would also like to commend the admirable leadership of the
President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson.
Our oceans are facing unprecedented pressures from human activity, and these are only projected
to rise in the future. Five years ago, the OECD launched a foresight exercise that projected this
acceleration will double the size of the ocean economy by 2030 – reaching $3 trillion and employing
40 million people – both figures are about the equivalent of Germany’s economy and work force
today. At the same time, there is a growing recognition that today’s trends are not sustainable.
That business as usual no longer works. The conservation and sustainable use of our oceans, our
seas and marine resources is an imperative.
The existential issues driving our effort to save the ocean are echoed in the other 16 goals that
comprise the 2030 Agenda. They have urgency in common. And we must make greater efforts to
achieve them, from achieving food security to eradicating extreme poverty, to fostering biodiversity
and ecosystem services conservation.
All countries have a responsibility to work to achieve the SDGs – including OECD Members – and
they have a long way to go in achieving them. Last year, the OECD committed to support all
countries with its Action Plan on the SDGs. We are putting the Organisation’s existing policy tools
and evidence at the disposal of countries as they work on implementation.
The OECD recognizes the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda, and is responding with a multidisciplinary
approach. This is also required if we are to realise a sustainable ocean economy – in our
publication The Ocean Economy in 2030, the OECD concluded that the connections between climate,
ecosystems, energy and water are of such primordial importance that threats in each individual area
cannot be resolved without action in the others.
We need a better alignment of policies across multiple sectors, integrating the value provided by
ecosystems into our economic decision-making frameworks, scaling up finance in innovative ways
and investing these resources more efficiently and strategically. This is also a key conclusion of our
publication on Marine Protected Areas: Economics, Management and Effective Policy Mixes.
OECD expertise, in close coordination with the United Nations, is contributing concretely to helping
countries implement SDG 14. This includes our work on the marine environment and biodiversity,
the ocean economy, on fisheries, and on development finance, with a particular focus on most
vulnerable countries including Small Island Developing States.
In this light, I am pleased to announce that the OECD has made five voluntary commitments to
support this Conference and the implementation of SDG14:
1. Explore financing approaches and mechanisms to promote sustainable development and the
Blue Economy in SIDS.
2. Expand our work on biodiversity, land use and ecosystems, which provides policy analysis to
promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
3. Grow and share our database to measure progress toward the goal of eliminating subsidies
in the fishing industry that contribute to overfishing and illegal fishing.
4. Provide data and information via our Policy Instruments for the Environment database
(PINE), to improve policies on issues like fishing fees, entrance fees to MPAs, and subsidies to
promote biodiversity.
5. Review innovation mechanisms to support a sustainable ocean economy and develop tool
kits to help decision makers use the latest technology to harness the ocean economy’s
potential.
But none of us do this alone. Our job – and that’s all of us – is to search out the solutions (and find
ways to finance them) through the most innovative and creative and comprehensive means at our
disposal.
The OECD will continue to use its convening power to raise awareness, promote an exchange of
views and foster partnerships in these policy areas. And I’d like to extend an invitation to all of you
to Ocean Week at the OECD in November.
Achieving SDG 14 requires partnerships between national and international actors, the private
sector and civil society. It will also require approaches and instruments through which the
international community can support the most vulnerable countries, so that no one is left behind in
the pursuit of this agenda.
For the billions of people who depend on our ocean and for the generations to come, we have a
solemn responsibility to restore the lifeblood of our planet to health.
That means recognizing the interlinkages and following one simple rule as we nurse the patient back
to full strength: First, do no harm.