United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


The Republic of Vanuatu
The 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
National Statement
Delivered by the Hon. Seremaiah Matai NAWALU, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock,
Forestry, Fisheries and Bio-security
(New York, 8 June 2017)
Distinguished representatives,
Happy World Oceans Day!
I am honored to deliver this statement on behalf of the people and the Government of the
Republic of Vanuatu.
Allow me at the outset, to join other distinguished delegates to congratulate the Republic
of Fiji Islands and the Kingdom of Sweden as Co- Presidents of this important conference
and I express my Government's full support to your stewardship as you guide us through
the Ocean Conference. I would also like to place on record our profound gratitude to the
President of the General Assembly, H.E. Peter Thomson and the United Nations
Secretary General H.E. Ant6nio Guterres for convening this august conference.
At the opening ceremony of the UN Ocean Conference, we were reminded of how
significant cultures are intrinsically tied to the ocean. We have a shared responsibility to
ensure that the ocean will continue to be the dwelling place of our future generations as
it has been for our forefathers. We acknowledge the importance of the ocean principally
in sustaining ours and our future generation's livelihood and survival. However, we also
take heed of the grave challenges that we ourselves have placed on the ocean and one that
has and will continue to compromise our own ultimate survival.
My Government supports the Call for Action to be adopted at this conference and believes
it is a practical way forward to make much-needed collective effort to save our oceans.
My Government also welcomes the voluntary commitments declared at this Conference
that will further support the implementation of SDG14. Our collective actions must be
ambitious and realistic in order to conserve and sustain the oceans so successive
generations will continue to enjoy their benefits. Engaging in genuine, durable
partnerships that facilitate means of implementation, technology transfer, capacity
building and knowledge sharing will enable countries such as Vanuatu remain on track
to conserve and sustainably use the ocean and to play its part in reversing the decline in
the oceans' health.
From 2011 to 2014 my Government through collaboration with donor partners
undertook a nationwide oceans policy consultation. The outcome of the nationwide
consultation process confirmed that our ocean is increasingly becoming littered with
plastics and other wastes, that our coastal resources are diminishing at an increasing rate
and that the ever-increasing pressures of unsustainable development and Climate
Change will continue to challenge future generations.
The impacts of climate change, including the combined effect of increasing temperature,
increasing storm intensity, increasing sea level and ocean acidification, are already
having a major impact on our marine resources. Vanuatu calls on all states which have
committed to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to remain steadfast and to honour
the pledges made as regards to NDCs. Vanuatu remains committed to the Paris climate
deal and we encourage other member states to demonstrate the same leadership.
Vanuatu gains benefits worth millions of dollars from her ocean each year. These
benefits to our people are at risk. We are implementing the Pacific's first National Ocean
Policy. This includes strong and clear actions to improve the sustainability of our
different maritime sectors, whether fishing, shipping, deep sea mineral exploration or
tourism. More innovative, however, is Vanuatu's commitment by 2020 to implementing
a national marine spatial plan to harmonize, across our ocean, where different uses,
conservation and development will be promoted or controlled.
Vanuatu calls for international intervention to save our fish stocks from the scourge of
IUU fishing and other destruction fishing practices. Urgent international Action is also
needed to control, reduce and eventually eliminate harmful, unfair fisheries subsidies
that contribute to overcapacity, overfishing and destructive fishing methods.
A large proportion of our people reside in coastal remote areas and islands scattered
within our large ocean. Our people will continue to rely on the wisdom of our forefather's
traditional management system to implement SDG 14. Therefore, we must continue to
provide all the necessary support and engagement to ensure a collaborative arrangement
is in place whereby science and traditional knowledge can both be applied to address our
marine resource management problems.
Vanuatu and many other Pacific Island Countries have challenges in implementing
SDG14 that cannot be disregarded. Vanuatu welcomes the partnerships and support that
have been offered, to date, to the implementation of our Ocean Policy and we also reach
out the hand of friendship to those who may wish to join us in taking a holistic, integrated
approach to management of their ocean spaces.
I Thank you