United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Partnerships Dialogue:
"Enhancing The
Conservation and
Sustainable Use of Oceans
and Their Resources by
Implementing International
Law as Reflected in the
United Nations Convention
on The Law of the Sea."
STATEMENT by the Minister
1 •1 Conference on Goal no 14
Our Oceans, our Future:
Partnering for the
Implementation of the
New York, 05 - 09 June 2017
• Distinguished Co-Chairs, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen ...
• As I speak to you representing my island nation at the edge of the vast Pacific
Ocean, one of the world's 37 Small Island Developing States, I am reminded
how urgent these issues are to all of us, although from many different
prospective and reasons.
• For Timor-Leste, like many other SIDS, the maritime territory of our nations, are
always larger than our land mass. They provide not only the means or potential
means of livelihood to our people but also the identity and the limits of our
sovereignty. Unfortunately, the legacy of our history, dictated a different path of
our journey during decades and centuries. Many of us are still facing the reality
of uncertainty on the extent of our rightful maritime sovereignty, hence denying
the opportunity for our countries to achieve an otherwise reasonable
development and wellbeing of our people.
• This is being intensified by the scarcity of resources on land and the
advancement in science and technology which commence to unveil the
economic potential of seas and oceans. Hence the run toward the oceans is
inevitable. If in the 15th centuries the oceans were, primarily the vehicle through
which maritime powerhouses reaches new horizons for territorial expansion, in
our century, the islands and continents are themselves the starting point for
jurisdiction claims over seas and oceans.
• If there is no rule to which we all shall adhere to and accept it as the norm for
our global engagement, than the future of our generations survival and the future
of our civilization could be compromised.
• The good news is that, the world have realized it quite early and produced the
monumental UNCLOAS document in 1982.
• If we look at the provision in the UNCLOAS it provided the legal coverage for the
operationalization of many of the aspects being discussed in this conference
during the past 5 days from the perspective of rights and responsibilities of each
• The question is how far each of us is willing to be abide by the provision in the
UNCLOAS ? How we as an inseparable part of the world civilization perceive it ?
One question one might ask is wether our adherence to UNCLOAS is a matter of
principle or a matter of circumstantial convenience?
• We believe that It's a question of political will not capacity: We can restore the
health of our ocean for this generation and those to come. Let us be clear: with
UNCLOS as the legal framework upon which SDG14 implementation is based
and under which all ocean-related activities and agreements are governed, with
partnership from the community of nations to help with capacity building,
infrastructure, and financing to implement our commitments, I know that working
together, we can begin to change the current course - so that long after we are
gone, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren can chart a course to a
sustainable future.
• Since its foundation, Timor-Leste, have realized the importance of
multilateralism principle in addressing issues of global interest, therefore, we
applaud and cherish the world leaders, for agreeing to the global agenda of our
planet for the coming 15 years, the SDG's in 2015. This conference which touch
upon one of the critical element of the future of our planet and survival, the
oceans, is in itself self-explanatory of the concept that we all know so well, that
no country is an island. The failure of any one of us, without exception, will
ultimately affect all of us, sooner or latter, direct or indirectly, that is why the
mantra of Leave no One Behind, is wise, just and necessary.
• As an island nation we know to well the importance of the seas and oceans,
therefore, in despite of our limitation as a newly independent country, early in this
conference we have made public seven voluntary commitments as a contribution
to our common efforts. We believe that we, with your support, can deliver it. No
journey is to hard if it is travelled along a good friend.
I thank you all