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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


The Ocean Conference – High level, 5–9 June 2017
Statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Slovenia
Mr President, Co-Presidents of the conference, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me a great pleasure to address you on behalf of the Republic of Slovenia at the first
UN Ocean Conference. While aligning myself with the statement made earlier by the
European Union and its Member States, I would like to make some additional remarks in my
national capacity.
At the outset, I would like to extend my government's outmost appreciation for the
tremendous work done by the organisers of this conference. Being aware of the rapid decline
in ocean health, this conference comes at a critical time, a time that calls for our concerted
resolve and global action to #SaveOurOceans.
Slovenia is reaffirming its commitment to the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for
Sustainable Development and its Goal 14. We are determined to continue contributing
actively at the national, as well as regional, macro-regional and global levels.
Mr President,
As a maritime state situated on the shore of the Adriatic Sea and in the broader
Mediterranean region, Slovenia recognizes the multifaceted challenges relating to the
conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources. This is
particularly true as its characteristics place the Adriatic Sea among small seas, where flora
and fauna are especially vulnerable to human activities. Due to climate change, small seas
are warming up much faster. This affects their water balance and, in turn, their biodiversity.
Additional significant pressure is caused by factors such as changes in acidity and salinity,
marine litter and excessive fishing.
With a view to promoting sustainable development of fisheries, Slovenia supports
historic, traditional fishing practices, which have a minimal impact on the marine
environment. Small-scale coastal fisheries now represent about 90% of Slovenian fisheries.
In this context, Slovenia attaches great importance to regional cooperation for sustainable
fisheries management.
Slovenia is also actively tackling marine pollution, including marine litter. The recent
international assessment reports (DeFishGear Project) affirm that marine litter and micro
plastic are a major environmental problem, including in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Proper
and efficient waste management, reduction of land based litter, sustainable plastic
design and reducing the use of micro plastic in products are critical. Slovenia is an
active party of the Barcelona Convention under the umbrella of which the guidelines for
tackling marine litter have been adopted. We remain committed to furthering cooperation in
addressing these challenges. To this end, Slovenia, in cooperation with the neighbouring
countries, will continue to organise training events aimed at a common response to marine
Furthermore, in the context of the importance of interconnectedness between marine and
coastal ecosystems, I would like to point out recent Slovenia's achievement in
addressing the coexistence of a port with the natural reserve in its immediate vicinity.
With the closure of the road between two coastal towns, Slovenia dedicated almost one
tenth of its coastal belt for sustainable use of the coast and the sea. This measure
created a green corridor, i.e. a connection between ecosystems and habitats, with two
neighbouring countries. We hope that this example of good practice will inspire other
examples of interdisciplinary cooperation and urbanisation. A video on this project entitled
"Towards the Green Coast: The case of Slovenia" is available on the website, Twitter and
Facebook of Slovenia's Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.
Mr President,
Our seas are not only connected to our coasts, they are also linked with oceans. With their
powerful impact on the planet's climate and human lives, high seas require close attention
and effective action.SDG14 targets clearly attest to this.
This includes devoting special attention to those ocean inhabitants that go beyond national
borders and require vast ocean areas, namely cetaceans. Their conservation requires joint
efforts and shared management. Slovenia contributed to this end by hosting two regular
meetings of the International Whaling Commission, the leading international body tasked
with conservation and sustainable management of cetaceans. We are pleased that our
country contributed to the unanimous adoption of the first decision regarding dolphins, which
was outstanding for decades. In line with Slovenia's longstanding interest in marine research,
we also hosted three regular meetings of the Commission's Scientific Committee.
Mr President,
Proper conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources also depend
on the full implementation of UNCLOS, the cornerstone international legal instrument for
the law of the sea. Slovenia therefore awaits the fourth session of the BBNJ PrepCom with
high expectations. We call for the opening of negotiations on a new agreement under
UNCLOS during the 72nd General Assembly session.
Today, it is broadly accepted that successful responding to environmental challenges
requires a global action. In this context, Slovenia deeply regrets the decision by the United
States to withdraw from the historic first universal legally binding global climate deal – the
Paris Agreement. Slovenia remains committed to global climate action and calls for the
strengthening of partnerships and cooperation in achieving the goals set with respect
to climate and SDG 14.
Mr President,
This conference is an important opportunity for the international community to
commit to the strengthening of its efforts to #SaveOurOceans, including through
global, regional and macro-regional cooperation. To this end, and as announced during
the recent Blue Economy Conference (Marseilles, 30th – 31st May 2017), Slovenia will
advocate for increased cooperation and new synergies between the Mediterranean states,
with the aim to effectively respond to biodiversity challenge through the establishment of
marine protected areas in the Mediterranean high seas.
We look forward to the adoption of the Call for Action.
Let me conclude by offering Slovenia's best wishes for tomorrow's global celebration of the
World Oceans Day.
Thank you.