United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

THE OCEAN CONFERENCE — United Nations Conference to Support the
Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the
oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
New York, 05-09 June 2017
Statement by UNIDO
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) proudly associates itself
with the proceedings of the Ocean Conference and congratulates the organizers for a wellmanaged
event. We stand ready to take active part in the recommendations of the Ocean
Conference, within our domain of competence in the UN family.
And what is our domain of competence in the UN family as it mobilizes towards Agenda
2030? Under the guidance of our member states UNIDO actively promotes a path of
Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development. On the strength of empirical evidence, we
are convinced that industrialization represents an essential part of any country socioeconomic
progress: it adds value to local commodities, it creates incomes, it provides
employment opportunities to a typically youthful workforce. We make it our task to
encourage a path of industrialization that is inclusive and environmentally sustainable.
In the language of the Ocean Conference, it translates into the Blue Economy, that is, the
income and jobs created by seas and oceans for the coastal communities. That is where
inclusive and sustainable industrialization comes to the shores. Let me articulate the
argument along four points, supported by concrete illustrations:
First point. Some of the world’s poorest communities live by the sea. In fact, they live off
the sea in small-scale fisheries along the coastline. Fish is their main source of proteins and a
critical element of their nutrition and food security. Processing for most is very simple
indeed—it is about sun drying or smoking. However, a modern value chain from the catch to
the inland markets can considerably increase the economic benefits accruing to the fishing
communities: in Sudan and Sierra Leone, UNIDO has worked with local communities to
improve the vessels, train fishermen to maintain their fleet, help design more efficient jetties,
support the organization of cold storage and modern markets so as to reduce post-harvest
In Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan and Vietnam we have been working with traders and
processors to improve quality and food safety in line the stringent seafood standards,
facilitating thereby access to competitive international markets. We have helped establish to
that effect testing and certification laboratories fully equipped to detect traces of chemical
and biological contamination at par with the strictest international standards.
We acknowledge the support of donors such as Norway, the EU, Canada, the Russian
Federation and others in this task.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
If it is to provide a stable source of income for coastal communities, the marine fishery
resource must be managed sustainably. That is my second point. An accurate assessment of
the fish stock is difficult in low-income countries were data are typically difficult to find.
Through the project “Building institutional capacities for the sustainable management of the
marine fishery in the Red Sea State” (2015-2017) funded by Norway and jointly executed
with the Marine Fisheries Administration of Sudan and the Norwegian Institute for Marine
Research we are providing training, capacity building and technical assistance for monitoring
surveys of the fisheries resources along the Red Sea State coast and the development of a
fisheries statistics system combining fishery-independent data from the survey with fisherydependent
data on the landings delivered.
The aim is to develop and maintain data bases on abundance and distribution of living marine
resources and of landings, as well as to analyze and interpret these data so that changes in
abundance and distribution patterns can be identified in time and addressed through
appropriate management responses.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
And that brings me to my third point where inclusive and sustainable industrialization meets
the Blue Economy. By promoting green industries and the circular economy, by facilitating
the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies, UNIDO helps abate pollution
discharge in Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs).
For nearly 10 years now, we have been actively engaged alongside Mexican and US
authorities to promote the ecosystem-based and sustainable management of the Gulf of
Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem. During 2008-2013 the project “Integrated Assessment and
Management of the GoM-LME” funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) set the
foundations for ecosystem-based LME management approaches to rehabilitate marine and
coastal ecosystems, recover depleted fish stocks, and reduce pollution and nutrient overload.
After six years of research and careful analyses for informed transboundary policy decisions,
the Strategic Action Programme for the GoM-LME is ready to go. With the continued
support of the GEF over the coming five years, the new project will improve water quality
thanks to the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies to industries discharging
effluents to the GoM’s water bodies. The project will help recover depleted stocks of living
marine resources through the implementation of a transboundary stock assessment and
technical assistance towards sustainable small-scale fisheries. It will upscale the conservation
and restoration of the ecosystem by up-scaling the mangrove restoration efforts.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Lastly, no economic activity, let alone industrialization, can progress without energy. My
fourth point is more specifically targeted at small island developing states, where energy
imports drain public finances and fossil fuels undermine fragile ecosystems. Replacing
diesel-powered generators and outdated cooling equipment by affordable renewables and
energy-efficient technologies increases the productivity and competitiveness of domestic
small-scale fishery. I acknowledge here the support of Austria, Spain and the EU in this
But think of the nexus between energy, waste management, and costal and fresh water
protection in small island developing states such as the Caribbean. Dumping organic refuse
and effluents into the sea is wasting a valuable commodity; it also harms coral reefs, touristic
sites and fisheries. Waste-to-energy solutions help promote domestic economic development,
mitigate coastal and marine pollution and reduce energy generation costs. Biogas plants using
feedstock from agro-industries, treated sewerage sludge, waste materials from rum
distilleries, breweries, food markets, slaughterhouses and fishery rely on proven technology,
as demonstrated in a joint initiative with the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and
Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) in the region.
UNIDO and partners such as SIDS DOCK, IRENA and CCREEE recommend to integrate
ocean energy technologies—wave, tidal or ocean thermal energy conversion—in the
outcomes of the Ocean Conference. Some of the technologies are not mature yet: SIDSs can
become important technology accelerators and offer a platform for testing, verification and
the provision of real-time data. SIDS DOCK, UNIDO and CCREEE have formed a multistakeholder
partnership to develop the first utility-scale Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion
generation plant in the Caribbean and invite interested industry partners and investors to join.
In all the examples listed here, UNIDO operates in close partnership with the local
communities and public authorities, as well as with international donors, institutions, and,
most importantly, private enterprises eager to share expertise, knowledge and experience.
That is SDG#17 at work, probably the most important of all for without effective
partnerships, Agenda 2030 remains an abstract concept. No more, no less.
I thank you for your attention.