WORKSHOP: “SUSTAINABLE USE OF OCEANS"
CLOSING REMARKS BY MR. SHA ZUKANG, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE 2012 UN CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
30 November 2011, Principality of Monaco
Your Serene Highness,
Ambassador Kim, Ambassador Ashe,
Ambassador Luis Figueiredo Machado,
My two Executive Co-ordinators,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to join you at this high-level workshop. This is the only country-led event, devoted to sustainable use of oceans in the preparatory process of Rio+20.
The past three days have provided an excellent opportunity for information sharing and discussion on a broad range of issues relating to oceans, seas, islands and coastal zones.
This has been a very interesting, informative and enriching exchange of views.
Our host will summarize the key points emerging from the discussion in Monaco Message.
Here I would like to share a few thoughts from the perspective of the Conference Secretary-General.
As a result of the workshop, many of us now have a much better understanding of sustainable development issues regarding oceans and the marine ecosystems.
We also see, more clearly, the many opportunities we have.
Oceans sustain us – we depend on oceans for food security, for livelihoods, for economic growth – for fostering the blue economy.
Indeed, as carbon sinks, oceans have helped mitigate the impact of climate change.
But our oceans, our marine ecosystems, are fragile, under threat.
We have discussed land-based and shipping-generated marine pollution, the bleaching of coral reefs, the erosion of coastal zone and marine environment, the growing threat to marine diversity and sustainable fishery posed by unsustainable practices.
We note with concern that the institutional framework for addressing these challenges is fragmented and un-coordinated.
This workshop has provided a timely platform for not only identifying these problems and challenges but also for exploring solutions.
We have learned about best practices, including ways to engage the local communities and successful policies, such as the establishment of marine protected areas.
We have seen the potentials of oceans as renewable sources of energy and the contributions to the sustainable energy supply. It is hoped that such technologies will be shared with developing countries, especially small island developing States.
We have also seen how oceans and coastal zones provide the resource base for sustainable tourism – tourism as a tool for poverty alleviation.
The conclusion is clear – a green economy must encompass a blue economy. A sustainable future will depend on healthy oceans and ecosystems.
Rio+20 will bring together government representatives, civil society and the private sector, to discuss sustainable development issues.
The sustainable management and protection of oceans and marine resources will be firmly on the agenda.
It is a shared view of participants that, for Rio+20 to be a success, it should deliver a strong outcome for oceans, seas, islands and coastal zones, as well as for fisheries, coral reefs and marine biodiversity.
The importance of this agenda is reflected in the significant number of submissions to the compilation text – a total of 121 submissions highlighted – 400 times – oceans; 160 submissions drew attention – 651 times – to seas, the message is loud and clear.
Our meeting here in Monaco has reinforced the urgency that oceans are a high priority for Rio+20 and Rio+20 must deliver on oceans.
I see three possibilities.
First, Rio+20 has the potential to deliver important initiatives to strengthen the resilience and health of our oceans and marine ecosystems, through pledges for an expansion of marine protected areas.
Second, we need to develop an integrated strategy for sustainable oceans – addressing food security, fishery, renewable energy, tourism, marine protection, sustainable livelihoods and poverty eradication.
Third, Rio+20 must also move the international community toward enhanced global marine governance and improved coordination among UN entities engaged in ocean activities. Rio+20 must deliver on that.
Most importantly, what we need is political commitment – political commitment as we have seen here in the Principality of Monaco.
Specifically, we need political leadership and vision, as we have seen here in the dedicated work of Your Serene Highness, Sovereign Prince Albert II of Monaco.
The Principality of Monaco is a small member State of the United Nations. But your care for the world is big, vast and global.
We applaud your initiative. You have set an example for the world.
In closing, I would like to express our deep gratitude to our host, the Government and people of Monaco, for your warm hospitality and the professional organization of the workshop.
Our thanks also go to Ambassador Isabelle Picco for her leadership and to Mrs. Valérie Sandra Bruell-Melchio for her support.
Finally, on behalf of the United Nations, I wish to thank all the speakers and participants for your excellent presentations and energetic discussions.
We are only 7 months away from Rio, but the voyage ahead will be bumpy.
I am confident, nonetheless, that we will sail to our destination – if we work together, as a team. We are in the same boat.
I look forward to seeing you in Rio next June. Be there and make a difference.