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Ambassador Sareer highlights importance of Oceans for the sustainable development of SIDS


8 March 2017, Belgium: "SIDS are the stewards of large expanses of oceans and seas. Numerous areas beyond national jurisdiction are adjacent to our Exclusive Economic Zones and due to the interconnected nature of our oceans, any activities being undertaken in these areas often have a direct or indirect impact on the viability of our oceans, as well as our sustainable development. Therefore, our interests extend beyond just equitable sharing of benefits, and the process must ensure the inclusivity of SIDS" – stated Ambassador Sareer at the opening of the workshop on "Healthy Oceans, Resilient Islands".

He further said that while scientific and technological progress has revealed the vast potential that the biodiversity of marine ecosystem has to offer for humanity, in terms of development and economic growth, SIDS face capacity constraints impeding them from making full use of this potential. In addition, Ambassador noted capacity restraints Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face engaging in negotiations in New York regarding a new international legally binding instrument to conserve and sustainably use marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.   In this regard, he thanked the Government of Belgium and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, who jointly organized the capacity building workshop for representatives from the SIDS.

The workshop was launched by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Mr Didier Reynders at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium. In his opening remarks, Minister Reynders emphasized that Belgium stands together with the Island States and wishes to help them to enhance their resilience to the challenges they are facing.

The workshop, taking place in Belgium from 7-9 March, aims to contribute to the upcoming Third Session of the Preparatory Committee on developing a legally binding instrument on the conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction.

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