New York, 5 June 2017, The Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture of the Republic of Maldives, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shainee urged steadfast efforts to care for and restore the health of oceans to achieve the targets of SDG 14 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Minister Shainee also noted the challenges of marine pollution, ocean acidification and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which are of particular importance for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
In his statement, during the opening plenary session of the Ocean Conference, Minister Shainee, welcomed the Call for Action, the intergovernmental declaration which is to be adopted at the Conference, while also noting the unique challenges faced by SIDS and their dependency on oceans for economic development, sustainable livelihoods and culture.
Speaking on behalf of Maldives, Minister Shainee highlighted the urgency to address marine pollution, especially due to plastics and micro plastics. 'Plastic pollution affects marine biodiversity, food security, and industries such as fishing and tourism that SIDS must depend on for our livelihood' he said. In this regard, Minister Shainee announced the commitment of the Government of Maldives, to go a step further to enhance the renowned sustainable fishery of Maldives, to reduce and phase out use of plastics and intercept ocean plastics in the 1-million square kilometer wide EEZ of Maldives. Maldives collaborates closely with Parley for the Oceans to recycle and reuse plastic wastes.
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, "The Oceans Conference", opened today at the United Nations Headquarters. With Fiji and Sweden as the co-presidents of the Conference, over 14 Heads of State and Government and 23 Ministers from around the world are participating in the conference aimed at addressing the issues faced by the world's oceans.
In addition to the political declaration of the Call for Action, the outcomes of the Conference include the summaries of seven partnership dialogues on various thematic issues concerning oceans in line with the SDG 14 targets, and voluntary commitments from member states, private sector and civil society, more than 650 of which have already been announced.