United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Statement by H.E. Feridun H. Sinirlioglu Permanent
Representative of Turkey to the United Nations at the United
Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sutainable
Development Goal 14, 9.6.2017
Mr. President,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
- I would like to thank the Governments of Fiji and Sweden as well as
the UN for making this high-level event possible.
- I would also like to thank the President of the General Assembly for
overseeing such an important gathering.
- Turkey welcomes the UN Ocean Conference to support the
implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14 ).
-We believe that the Conference will reach a successful outcome in the
way of recovering our oceans for humanity and our planet.
- While getting one-step closer to conserve and sustainably use the
oceans for sustainable development, we are here to "Call the world for
- As the great explorer Jacques Cousteau, who inspired many
generations to learn more about the oceans, once said:
"The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before,
the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat. "
Mr. President,
- Oceans and seas cover two-thirds of our home. As the Secretary
General put it at his opening remarks, it would be more pertinent to call
it "Planet Water" rather than "Planet Earth".
- Our future and livelihood rely on oceans and seas.
- However, they are under threat, more than ever. Overfishing,
pollution, ocean acidification, plastic waste and invasive species are
only some of the man-made pressures.
- We believe that the SDG 14 is an essential framework for addressing
issues relating to the oceans.
Mr. President,
- Turkey has been actively contributing to the global and regional
efforts to achieve SDG 14.
- Without going into details, I would like to touch upon some regional
cooperation initiative and some i1nportant projects.
- Turkey is the only country that is party to both the Bucharest
Convention (Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against
Pollution) and the Barcelona Convention (Convention for the
Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the
- On the margins of the Ocean Conference, we have made a voluntary
commitment regarding marine litter. Marine Litter Strategic Action
Plans will be completed for all our coastal cities by the end of2018 and
will be put into effect.
- We aim to reach a recycling rate of 65 % for packaging waste and 35
% for all recyclable waste by 2023.
- "Blue Card" system, which is an environmental program to protect
the sea against pollution, has been initiated for tracking sea vessel waste
in our coastal regions. 29.000 vessels have been provided Blue Card.
- In 2016, Turkey ranked second in the Blue Flag Reward, which is
widely considered the gold standard for beaches, with our 444 beaches
and 21 marinas.
- We have also made the necessary amendments to our legislation for
the conservation of endangered fish species. Turkey signed last April
the "MedFish4Ever Declaration" together with other coastal states of
the Mediterranean.
- We have taken the necessary meas ures to prevent the construction of
fish fanns in fragile ecosystems like enclosed bay and gulf areas.
Mr. Pres ident,
- Before concluding my remarks, I would also like to wish Fiji success
for its incoming presidency of the 23rd session of the Conference of
the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,
which will be held in Bonn, Germany on November 2017.
- Efforts to combat adverse effects of climate change are also crucial to
restore the health, productivity and resilience of oceans and marine
- Turkey remains committed to implement the concrete actions needed
to protect our oceans.
- "People protect what they love. " And we must protect the oceans, our
Thank you.