United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Timor-Leste

1)1-:1\IOCl{ATIC REPUBLIC OF Tl MOR-LESTE
VI ('ONSTITUTIONAL (;OVERNMENT
STATEMENT UY
IIIS EXCELi.ENCY T IIE M I NISTER OF STATE,
COOIU)INATING MINISTER fOR ECONOMIC AFFAIRS, AND
M INISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND FISII ERIES,
ENC. ESTANISLAU ALEIXO DA SILVA,
ATTIIE
Tl-IE UNITED NATIONS THE OCEAN CONFERENCI.:
TO SUPPORT THI: IMPLEMENTATION OF SUSTAINABLI: Dl: VELOPMENT GOAL 14
PLENARY MEETING
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Distinguished Co-Presidents and Co-Facilitators;
Excellencies;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is a great honor to address The Ocean Conference, on behalf of
Timor-Leste. My delegation and I have travelled all the way from the
other side of the globe to be here today and to convey to all of you, a
message of hope, persistence and conviction. That we must cement a
solid basis for partnership;', join forces; and work hard in building the
future we want;, whereby our oceans are well protected and provide
economic benefits to our citizens and serve the international
community.
Timor-Leste is a young country, a Small Island Developing State, an
LDC of only 1.2 million inhabitants. Being an LDC is not by choice.
Being an LDC is not a curse either! I call upon all participating countries
to have strong political will and promote national consensus to work
hard on increasing the sustainability levels of development, make sure
we have peace, stability and security, in order to ensure a better quality
of life for current and future generations.
Economic development in Timor-Leste relies largely on our oceans in
some form, whether it be fisheries, tourism, or trade. The decisions we
make today, and those in the future, will direct how sustainable that
economic development is. As a sovereign State, we must delimitate our
maritime borders based on the United Nations Convention on the Law
of the Sea, and better monitor our Exclusive Economic Zone.
But our oceans are not solely influenced by the Timorese people.
Oceans do not know boundaries! On our own, we cannot succeed in the
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fight needed to protect our oceans. It is only when we consider the
ocean as one, which we all contribute to, and we all draw from , then we
can begin to understand how important our cooperation is.
Engaging partners across all levels, from individual fishers to national
governments, will be the only way to ensure transparency, joint
responsibility, and co-management of the most important resource of
all for small island states.
Therefore, in recognition of this way forward, and in acknowledgment of
the Government of Timor-Leste's responsibility to support these
actions, we stand ready to the following seven Voluntary Commitments:
1 . Implement a national pollution awareness campaign, under our
Zero Plastic Policy, to address the issue of plastics, with particular
attention to our oceans;
2. Approve and implement Our Ocean Policy to ensure we are all
working towards the sustainable development of our marine area,
in close partnership with our neighbors;
3. Address our knowledge gaps for our offshore fishing grounds to
combat over harvesting and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated
fishing, while protecting the key biodiversity areas;
4 . Review our fishing licensing and fees to ensure a balance between
sustainable harvesting, food security, international and domestic
fishers;
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5. Map our highly vulnerable coastline to guide sustainable
development and protect the fragile areas from climate change
impacts and unsustainable development practices;
6 . Develop a suite of nature-based tourism guidelines to protect the
marine life, while providing the best experience possible for
tourists; and
7. Ratify CITES to combat the illegal trade across borders of TimorLeste's
unique wildlife, and that of its neighbors.
This is the message of hope, persistence and conviction we wanted to
convey to all of you on the occasion of The Ocean Conference.
Thank you all for your generous attention.
New York, June 2017.
gor~l@moc;io.gov.t l
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