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The Maldives leads the way on Oceans Awareness during High Level week of the UN General Assembly

New York, 23 September 2016: Participating actively in a variety of side events on oceans issues, the Maldives emphasized the importance of the health of the ocean to small island developing states.

Speaking at a dialogue organized by Norway on Oceans and the Blue Economy, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Asim, argued for the business case for advancing towards a blue economy and its relevance to small island developing states. Dr. Asim called on the international community to increase efforts for sustainable use and conservation of marine resources as a prerequisite for sustainable development in SIDS. He also called on island states to work towards eliminating local threats to marine pollution like waste management, coastal zone management and fishing practices.

The Maldives co-sponsored the side event "UN SIDS and Parley 2016 Call to Action for the Oceans", along with the Grenada, Parley for Oceans and United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). The event commemorated a partnership between Parley for Oceans and UN-OHRLLS to implement solutions to eradicate plastic pollution in island member states under the A.I.R (Avoid, Intercept, Redesign) strategy. The Maldives is one of the two SIDS to have already pledged their commitment under this alliance. Minister Asim especially congratulated Parley as well as the local Maldivian NGO Parley for its stewardship in managing plastic waste in the country. Over 5 million and 6 hundred plastic bottles were collected from the Maldivian beaches and are being shipped to Adidas for recycling. He also emphasized the need to rethink the way we look at plastic and encouraged a closed loop lifecycle approach to reduce and eliminate plastic debris in our oceans. He also encouraged other island states to participate in this partnership while noting that the complex nature of the problem will require involvement of "national and local governments as well as the private sector, non-governmental organizations and citizens in a spirit of partnership and collaboration".

The Maldivian delegation also actively participated in the high level event on the 10X20 initiative on Marine Protected Areas. The focus of the initiative is to achieve SDG14 target 5: to protect at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020.

Maldives will continue to be engaged in oceans issues during the seventy-first session of the General Assembly, including at the UN Conference to support the implementation of SDG14: Conserve and Sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development to be held in June 2017.

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