United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Report of the Co-Chair of Partnership Dialogue 2

Statement by H.E. Mr. Tommy Remengesau, President, Republic of Palau,
and co-chair of Partnership Dialogue 2 on Managing, protecting,
conserv~ng and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems
Ocean Conference, Plenary Meeting
General Assembly Hall, UN Headquarters, 9 June 2017, 4:30pm
Number of words: 547
Allocated time: max. 5 min
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to be able to share with you a ·summary of partnership
dialogue two on "Managing, protecting,' conserving and restoring marine
and coastal ecosystems", which aimed to address SDG targets 14.2 and
I had the honou~ to chair this partnership dialogue together with my fell ow
co-chair, H.E. Ms. Silvia Velo, the Under Secretary of State for the Italian
Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea.
The dialQgue was moderated by Ms. Martha Rojas-Urrego, the Secretary
General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The panelists were Mr.
Lin Shanqing, the Deputy Administrator for the· Chinese State Oceanic
Administration; Ms. Christiana Pasca Palmer, the Executive Secretary for
the Convention on Biological Diversity; Ms. Cyrie se_.dashonga, the Global
Director for the Program and Policy Group for the International Union for
Conservation of Nature; and Mr. Jake Rice, Chief Scientist Emeritus for
Fisheries and Oceans, Canada.
The dialogue started off with panelist presentations, wltich covered the
guiding questions incl0:ded in the concept note for this dialogue and
included recommendations on how to successfully manage, protect,
conserve and restore marine and coastal ecosystems; on how to ensure local
community involvement, alternative livelihood development and the
equitable sharing of benefits derived from area-based measures; and on
how to measure the impacts and effectiveness of area-based measures and
their socio-economic costs and benefits.
In a comprehensive interactive dialogue, representatives from Member
States and other stakeholders touched upon a broad range of measures for
managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal
ecosystems, including the application of an ecosystem approach, marine
spatial planning and marine protected areas. It was emphasized that these
measures are critical as marine and coastal ecosystems, despite their
important role for humans and sustainable development, were being
destroyed or damaged at an unprecedented rate.
Participants also stressed that it was essential to include all stakeholders,
especially local communities in the process of devising policies and
measures to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystem.
The overriding need for adequate, timely, and accessible means of
implementation was stressed as well as the need to find synergies between
different frameworks to help implement SDG 14 and the whole 2030
Agenda. Many speakers stressed the importance of developing and
strengthening multi-country and multi-stakeholder partnerships - ranging
from.the local to the global level- highlighting the fact that the ocean could
only be protected if all stakeholders were working together.
Among the voluntary commitments presented, inany countries announced
that they would either increase their marine protected areas or establish
new ones. Other voluntary commitments, presented by either Member
States or other stakeholders, were related to the blue economy, improving
regional and coastal monitoring, effective waste management, banning of
plastic shopping bags and other plastic items, exploring indigenous
practices and their contribution to maritime protection, capacity-building
activities, and a range of projects and initiatives that ensured the protection
and restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I indicated in my opening statement, the Ocean now has a primary and
respected home within the UN family. We now need to institutionalize this
home and provide it with the mandate and the institutional foundation that
will shepherd our work forward in this 21st Century. Like Climate Change
and Biodiversity, we need special treatment and special representation for
the Ocean that will guarantee a primary voice in our global discussions.
We need a bridge builder and a champion of oceans within the larger scope
of sustainable development. We also need a new and vibrant financing
mechanism, let us call it a Blue Fund, that will sufficiently, efficiently and
effectively respond to the needs of all of our members, including LDC's and
My friends, it is undeniable that careless human activity has undermined
the sustainable development of the ocean and that we now have an
obligation to develop a truly responsible and sustainable approach to the
management, protection, conservation, and restoration of our marine and
coastal ecosystems.
The ocean ne_eds to be saved, not only for our generation, but for our
children and their childr~n as well.
The time for action is now and the voluntary commitments made during
this dialogue are an important step in the right direction.
I thank you.