United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Universal Esperanto Association

Statement for the UN Oceans Conference 2017
Mr Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It has been an incredible week, full of events, and a genuine commitment we could breathe all around the various rooms. I am really honoured to have spent this week with all of you.
First, I would like to fully support the statement from the Major Group Children and Youth. Young people are an extraordinary resource, for the present, not just for the future, and they are passionate change-makers. During the conference I have met extraordinary young people, with great knowledge and incredible skills, devoted to our oceans and to a more sustainable planet. They really have a lot to bring on the table.
Looking at the various aspects related to oceans, science and technology are inevitably entangled. From ocean measurements and sensing, to field intervention, energy harvesting, marine waste reduction, the progress in marine systems has made significant advancements. Globally, we are in the process of the fourth industrial revolution. Robotics and autonomous systems have become a key component for so many industry sectors: manufacturing, agriculture, health care, just to name a few. Significant progress has been made in marine systems as well: I can cite for example the EU-funded projects Pandora and TIC-AUV - the last one being a cooperation among Jacobs University Bremen and MIT - about persistent autonomy in the oceans and DexROV about autonomous underwater manipulation. The fourth industrial revolution in the oceans is coming and it can provide incredible resources and tools for all stakeholders: from local communities to marine scientists contributing to the blue sustainable economy.
As a scientist, having worked in marine robotics for the past ten years, I could witness - and contribute to - a really remarkable progress. Marine systems can represent a key enabler to achieve the goals set for SDG14. Many engineers around the world are really eager to cooperate with this community here, concretely, goal-oriented, looking to make a real impact.
Finally, as a representative of Universal Esperanto Association, I would like to highlight once again the important link between oceans and local communities, in particular regarding with traditions, languages, and identity. With the raising of sea level and the consequent relocation of entire communities, it is of the utmost importance to make sure that the intangible cultural heritage is safeguarded as an important worldwide richness.
We need a paradigm shift from endangering cultural diversity to protect and value it, in the perspective of a real empowerment and deep engagement of the local communities in the implementation process of the Agenda 2030.
In conclusion, the remarkable steps forward in technology, and in particular autonomous marine systems, are unlocking a new potential for the mankind and for the oceans. We need to work together to make sure we fully explore this potential, for the benefit of both the current and future generations, safeguarding the important values of both biological and cultural diversity.