United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Report of the Co-Chair of Partnership Dialogue 5

UN Oceans Conference 2017 / R, 9. juuni 15.00-18.00
Increasing economic benefits to
SIDS (Small Island Developing States) & LDCs (Least Developed Countries),
and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Honourable Secretary General, Co-Presidents, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and
Good Afternoon!
It is my privilege to present the summary of partnership dialogue No 5 on behalf of co-hairs Grenada
and Estonia. Our dialogue focused on promoting partnerships and finding workable solutions for
challenges faced by SIDS, LDCs and artisanal fishing communities.
Let me begin by extending our deepest gratitude to Co-Presidents Fiji and Sweden,
Secretary-General of the Conference Wu Hongbo, President of the United Nations General
Assembly Peter Thompson, and the hardworking staff of the United Nations Secretariat for their
exceptional work in organizing this vitally important event, and especially for laying the groundwork
for productive partnership dialogues.
Partnership dialogue No 5 addressed two distinct but interrelated targets of SDG 14. First, target 14. 7
on increasing economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs from the sustainable use of marine resources,
and second, target 14.b on providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and
The dialogue was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, and
H.E. Mr. Marko Pomerants, Minister of the Environment of Estonia. The co-chairs shared
observations from their respective national contexts, including on the importance of regional
cooperation; and the importance of supporting home-grown capacity and expertise.
We enjoyed an extremely productive discussion under the skillful moderation of Dame Meg Taylor,
Pacific Ocean Commissioner and Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
I would also like to extend our gratitude to our four panelists: H.E. Mr. Mohammed Shainee,
Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Maldives; Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa 'Utoikamanu, USG of
OHRLLS; Ms. Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank Group; and
Mr. Mitchell Lay, Coordinator of the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations.
The panelists offered compelling inputs that covered a range of perspectives regarding this complex
theme, stressing in particular sustainability aspects of development that prioritizes economic benefits
for local communities while preserving the natural resource base. Panelists noted that in all areas of
the blue economy, community-based management is critical, as are policies protecting tenure rights
for small-scale fishers, emphasizing the importance to include fishing communities in policy making
decisions that affect their lives and livelihoods. Several panelists pointed to the Nauru Agreement on
tuna fisheries, and its Vessel Day Scheme, as a successful example of regional cooperation to
maximize economic benefit to the SIDS. The panel also cited the World Banlc report, "The Sunken
Billions," which argues in favor of managing annual catch in regions around the world in order to
allow fish stocks to regenerate.
Interventions from the floor - a total of 25 statements - reaffirmed many of the themes presented by
the panel, and demonstrated wide-ranging partnerships from combating illegal, unregulated and
unreported fishing to promoting early warning systems for natural disasters, and supporting SIDS as
they work to conserve and sustainably manage their marine resources. In addition, many partners are
dedicating significant resources to addressing vulnerability to climate change.
Other topics covered by voluntary commitments included social responsibility and human rights in
fisheries and aquaculture, transitioning to low impact fishing gear, using satellite images for fisheries
management, building capacity in WTO sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and others. Some
initiatives also aimed to build capacity in implementing the F AO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing
Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication.
Governments and other stakeholders also discussed a number of innovative alternative financing
mechanisms, including a sovereign "blue bond" to raise money from private investors interested in
supporting sustainable development.
To sum up, the discussion demonstrated a board commitment to the common goal of sustainable
mamangement of marine resources, particularly the Blue Economy agenda. The people of SIDS and
LDCs have a long history of stewardship of their marine resources and expertise in sustainable
management - this must be respected and supported. However, we also need to reduce pressure on
those resources by providing more alternatives and more rewarding livelihoods for the coastal
communities of SIDS and LDCs. The participants also underlined that broad partnerships with all
stakeholders are a precondition for achieving these goals. In addition, we must also bear in mind that
we are talking about a diverse group of countries and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Each
country faces unique challenges of their own, and therefore local circumstances must also be taken
into account.
In his opening remarks., our co-chair, H.E. Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, quoted an
African proverb that says - if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.
This is particularly fitting in light of the challenges faced by SIDS & LDCs, and the landmark
international agreements of 2015 that bind the international community in our common goal of
transitioning to a more sustainable future. Today, SIDS and LDCs are on the front lines of climate
change - for many of them it is a matter of survival. We remain steadfast in our commitment to the
vision and unity enshrined in Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris
Finally, I would like to conclude with extending our gratitude to all participants for their
contributions and commitments to support the objectives of this partnership dialogue. It is truly
inspiring to see nations from all over the world stepping up and joining forces to help the most
vulnerable. We hope that the insights gained from this dialogue will inspire even more new
partnerships for speeding up action in these urgent matters. We must take collective action to ensure
the sustainable use of the marine environment and its preservation for future generations. There is no
time to waste. For the sake of our fellow nations, I hope we can tum the tide. Thank you!