CS73: Statement at the High Level Consultation on Oceans and Seas in the Asia-Pacific

Delivered at the High Level Consultation on Oceans and Seas in the Asia-Pacific co-hosted with Fiji during the 73rd Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand.

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you again to ESCAP and, more importantly, to this side event on oceans and seas. As we have been hearing this week, oceans and seas are critical not only to small islands States of the Pacific, but to all of us.

I am pleased that we have been able to assist Fiji with the planning of this side event, but ESCAP also helped by sponsoring and organizing the Pacific’s Preparatory Meeting for the UN Oceans Conference in Fiji in March which many of our Pacific leaders, ministers and senior officials here attended. I understand that the outcomes of the Suva meeting, which were reported to the last APFSD by the Honorable Semi Koroilavesau, Fiji’s Minister of Fisheries, and Oceans Champion, were influential in finalizing the Call for Actions of the Conference. In fact the APFSD review of SDG14 led to the proposal to organize an ESCAP-Fiji-Bangladesh side event during the June Oceans Conference. Our joint side event will be held at the Oceans Conference on the 5th June, and I want to thank Fiji for sponsoring and organizing this morning’s side event to help us also prepare for New York.

Fiji has also led the way in one other aspect from this Commission in preparation for New York – the oceans resolution for which we have had Pacific leaders convey their endorsement from the podium. This resolution, built on the Bangladesh resolution of 2016, focuses us on cooperation for SDG14, including capacity building, partnerships and data. Critical to effective implementation of SDG14 and other related ocean issues is the capacity to monitor and report. One area which ESCAP will focus on is on data and statistics, and the building of oceans accounts and policies for which Fiji and Vanuatu have already requested support from the secretariat. I should mention here that monitoring and reporting was a specific role given the regional commissions under the SAMOA Pathway and is an integral part of the commission’s mandate to follow-up and review of the SDGs.

I am confident that this, following other recent joint efforts between Fiji and ESCAP, and reflected in the many supportive comments from leaders during the last couple of days, has the makings of a ‘genuine and durable partnership’ in line with the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda.

I thank you.