United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS)

Pacific Troika Intervention by H.E. Mr Robert G. Aisi, Permanent Representative of Papua New Guinea to the United Nations and Chair of PSIDS on Focus Area 13 on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Resource, Oceans and Seas to the Eleventh Session of the OWG on SDGs, 8 May 2014, New York
“Check against delivery”


This intervention on Focus Area 13 on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Resource, Oceans and Seas is being made on behalf of the Pacific OWG Troika; namely Nauru, Palau and my own country, Papua New Guinea. It is also representative of the 9 other Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) represented at the UN, namely, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

We align ourselves with the statement on this Focus Area made by the AOSIS Chair - Nauru and also take note of the intervention by Bolivia on behalf of G77 and China.


We will be unable to heal the planet without healing the ocean. And we must acknowledge the reality that the 3 dimensions of sustainable development are mutually reinforcing. We must address environmental issues or we will be unable to ensure sustained economic development; without addressing economic development we will be unable to provide for the social dimension of sustainable development and vice versa.

The importance of the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and of their resources for sustainable development is unquestioned and we are pleased to see the work moving forward on a dedicated goal on oceans and seas and we thank you, and all our colleagues, for all the hard work done in this area and welcome the suggested targets.

For the Pacific SIDS, we reiterate that we are fully supportive of a stand-alone SDG on a Healthy, Productive and Resilient Oceans and Seas, as a transformative agenda that Rio-Plus 20 trumpeted. We are also grateful for the growing support for a dedicated SDG in focus area 13 not only amongst UN Member States but the wider international community. This was clearly resplendent at The Hague Action Summit on Fisheries and Food Security last April, where this call was iterated in its outcome document.


We would suggest that the chapeau of this potential goal be amended to read “take urgent and significant action to ensure, healthy productive and resilient oceans and seas” in line with text from The Future We Want.

Fisheries are crucial for employment, can help alleviate poverty and boost food security for millions of vulnerable people. Women represent the majority in secondary activities related to marine fisheries and marine aquaculture, such as fish processing and marketing, and in many places, employment opportunities have enabled young people to stay in their communities and strengthened the economic viability of isolated areas, often enhancing the status of women in developing countries.

Given the critical importance of sustainable fisheries to food security, poverty eradication, and social welfare, we believe that Target (c) needs to be especially robust – and we suggest that fish stocks need to be restored to above levels which can produce maximum sustainable yield. This would be in line with existing commitments.

We would also note the importance of small scale fisheries – especially to women and youth, and would suggest that this topic is worthy of its own target.


Healthy, productive and resilient oceans and seas provide us the oxygen we breathe – whether you are an island state, a coastal state, a land-locked state, or other. They provide us with water for drinking, hygiene and sanitation, agriculture and industrial development.

Marine protected areas are a key component to ensuring the health, resiliency and productivity of oceans. In line with that, we are fully supportive of target (f) and would suggest strengthening it by reflecting existing commitments, and also adding that MPAs should be created in line with the best available science.

We are also be supportive of a new target on ocean acidification, and would suggest we add text on “adopting measures necessary to enhance ocean resiliency, in accordance with best available scientific information.”


We take your admonition to create goals that will set us on sustainable path – so we suggest that we add to target (g) elimination of subsidies which artificially maintain the profitability of otherwise unsustainable fisheries and that the target be broadened to specifically eliminate global fishing overcapacity.

Finally, we would suggest a target to encourage the promotion of investment in sustainable tourism. Such a target could include facilitating access to finance, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential.

Thank you.

Pacific SIDS Proposals on the Targets for Focus area 13. Conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, oceans and seas______________________________________________
Take urgent and significant actions to protect and restore healthy, productive and resilient oceans and seas
a) By 2020, prevent, control and make steady progress towards achieving at least a [50]% reduction in marine pollution and marine disposal of waste and tailings, including from land-based activities
b) Take immediate action to, restore and protect marine ecosystems, including by halting and preventing ocean acidification and by adopting measures necessary to enhance ocean scientific information
c)Take immediate action to maintain or restore all stock at least to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield, with the aim of achieving this goal in the shortest time feasible as determined by their biological characteristics. Where overfishing is occurring, take immediate action to adopt science based management plans reducing or suspending fishing catch and effort commensurate with the status of the stock to ensure that by 2020 overfishing has ended.

c bis) by 2020, eliminate global fishing overcapacity, without prejudice to the rights of coastal States, particularly developing States and SIDS, to develop or maintain sustainable fisheries for straddling and highly migratory fish stocks within and adjacent to their own waters compatible with agreed stock-wide precautionary reference points.
C ter) Increase by [x]% the economic benefit from sustainable development of coastal and marine resources to, in particular, LDCs, African countries and SIDS.
cquat) By 2030, improve equity and access to fisheries and markets by, subsistence, small-scale and artisanal fishers and women fishworkers, as well as indigenous people in developing States, particularly small island developing States.
d) By 2020, adopt domestic legislation andinternational management measures,with the view to ensure the full implementation of existing commitments, including those adopted by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, and regional and international regimes governing oceans and seas, including for resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction
e) Take immediate action to, in accordance with relevant commitments, including those made in the JPOI and TFWW (The Future We Want) to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices.
f)by 2020 establish Marine Protected Areas, including marine reserves, with management plans, size, andoverall area coverage determined in accordance with best available science and consistent with existing commitments.

g) by2020, eliminate fishing subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, or which artificially maintain the profitability of otherwise unsustainable commercial fisheries.
gbis) by 2020, reduce bycatch and discards to levels of ecosystem sustainability.
gter) by 2030, increase by [x%] support for sustainable tourism activities, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential, andrelevant capacity building in developing countries.