United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (OLA)

Statement of Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares
UN-Oceans Focal Point
Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs
and United Nations Legal Counsel
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
Plena_ry meeting, [xx] lune 2017, General Assembly Hall
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In my capacity as UN-Oceans Focal Point, I am pleased to
address this Conference on behalf of the 24 members of
UN-Oceans - the inter-agency coordination mechanism on
ocean and coastal issues within the United Nations system
which also includes the International Seabed Authority.
We, the UN-Oceans members, welcome the request
addressed to the Secretary-General, in the draft "Call for
Action", to enhance inter-agency coordination and coherence
throughout the UN system on ocean issues, taking into
consideration the work of UN-Oceans.
We are ready to build on the activities we have
undertaken thus far to strengthen and prof!1ote coordination
and coherence of United Nations system activities related to
oceans and coastal areas. In particular, we developed an
inventory ·of mandates and activities of participating members
to help us identify further areas for collaboration and synergy
and coordinated responses. The inventory can also assist
States and relevant stakeholders in identifying the support
available from UN-Oceans members, inter alia, towards the
implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
In addition, UN-Oceans has been carrying out awarenessraising
activities through joint side events and statements and
in particular has called attention to emerging and pressing
issues, such as the impacts of climate change on oceans and
ocean acidification.
In fact, as a further testimony to our commitment to
"deliver. as one", we are pleased to announce that UN-Oceans
registered a voluntary commitment for this Conference that
focuses on awareness-raising of relevant regulatory and policy
frameworks as well as its members' activities in support of
their implementation.
We consider that UN-Oceans has a great potential to
further develop and become more than the sum of its parts.
As a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary partnership, if
sufficiently empowered and supported, UN-Oceans is well
placed to enhance in an integrated manner the required
assistance to States. In particular, UN-Oceans members
consider that they can, through joint projects and products,
deliver effective assistance to support States in the
implementation of the 2030 Agenda and relevant SDGs.
However, we note that such-enhanced role for UN-Oceans
would rely on the strengthening of its terms of reference, which
are scheduled to be reviewed by the ·General Assembly, as well
as sustainable funding.
In closing, I wish to reiterate UN-Oceans members'
commitment to support the implementation of the
2030 Agenda.
I thank you for your attention.