United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Ukraine

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Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Ocean conference
(7 June 2017)
Mr. President,
Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset, we would like to commend this extremely important and timely
endeavor, and to express our gratitude to the Governments of Fiji and Sweden for cohosting
this conference to promote the implementation of Sustainable Development
Goal 14.
Oceans, seas and their resources support the well-being of humanity and
underpin the health of our ecosystems. They are essential to poverty eradication, food
security, trade and economic growth. They provide mankind with water and oxygen,
while also serve as primary regulator of the global climate and an important sink for
greenhouse gases.
Lamentably, the issue of the marine environment continues to be a matter of our
most serious concern due to climate change, marine- and land-based human activities,
marine debris, over- and illegal unreported and unregulated fishing. All
abovementioned increases pressure on marine ecosystems leading to their gradual
disruption.
Thus, it is of paramount importance for international community to pay much
needed attention to these problems and take concrete steps to address them. We also
have to continue fulfilling our commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals,
in particular, in regards to Goal 14 which recognizes the importance of conservation
and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and their resources.
Mr. President,
The outcomes of this high-level conference can give a strong impetus for
innovative and concrete new partnerships to advance the implementation of Goal 14.
Ukraine supports the declaration “Call for action” planned for adoption during
this conference, which will provide the inclusive framework for cooperation and
coordination of joint efforts.
My delegation strongly believes that the document will serve as a clear signal to
all stakeholders on the urgent need to implement a more constructive approach towards
the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.
The importance of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals is one
of the main priorities of international cooperation for Ukraine. We continue our efforts
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to fulfil commitments under the SDGs, Goal 14 in particular, at the national level
despite the challenges my country is facing today.
Due to the temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the
city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation Ukraine is now unable to use a substantial
part of its potential as a maritime state, including its research facilities and vessels.
Nevertheless, within recent years several joint EU-Ukraine expeditions have
been held to assess the state of marine environment of coastal and open sea areas in the
economic maritime zone of Ukraine.
It is worth to mention that my country is actively developing the following areas
in the field of marine research: biosafety and biodiversity, ecology of the seas etc.
Moreover, according to the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the
EU, we have already started the implementation of the EU Framework Directive on
marine strategy on improving the marine environment and sustainable development.
The initial assessment of the state of marine environment, definition of the good
environmental status, development of the program of integrated monitoring of the
marine environment of exclusive maritime economic zone are among the priority tasks
of the mentioned Directive.
Mr. President,
The international law, as reflected in UNCLOS, provides the strong basis for
cooperation among states at different levels. The States Parties to the UNCLOS have
recognized the desirability of establishing through this Convention, with due regard for
the sovereignty of all States, a legal order for oceans and seas which will facilitate
international communication, and will promote the peaceful use of oceans and seas, the
equitable and efficient utilization of their resources, the conservation of their living
resources, and the study, protection and preservation of the marine environment.
Regrettably, nowadays the UNCLOS legal order faces great challenges in
Ukraine and its adjoining maritime areas. In view of the temporarily occupation of the
Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine’s rights as the
coastal state in maritime zones adjacent to Crimea in the Black Sea and Kerch Strait
have been undermined and usurped by the aggressor state.
In this context, acting in a good faith, Ukraine is taking reasonable steps to
resolve the existing dispute with the Russian Federation by peaceful and legal means
by instituting the arbitral proceedings under the UNCLOS on May 12, 2017. We are
convinced that the Tribunal will take an appropriate and fair decision.
Mr. President,
My delegation strongly believes that we, as member states, should keep a steady
focus on the implementation and realisation of the existing commitments at national,
regional and international levels in order to promote peaceful and sustainable use of
oceans, seas and marine resources.
Ukraine stands ready for cooperation and new partnerships with the view to
advance the implementation of Goal 14.
I thank you.
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