Closing of the Ocean Conference

Prime Minister of Fiji,Deputy-Prime Minister of Sweden,President of General Assembly,Excellencies,Ladies and gentlemen,

Over the past five years, I have had the fortune to serve as the Conference Secretary-General for the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States the third International Conference on Financing for Development and now the United Nations Ocean Conference.

As Conference Secretary-General, I am keenly aware that, for a major UN Conference like this to succeed:
  •  we need leadership, which we have found in the President of the General Assembly, and the Co-Presidents of the Conference;
  • we need able facilitation for the outcome document, which we find in the Ambassadors of Portugal and Singapore;
  • we need UN system engagement, which we have secured through UN-Ocean and the Advisory Group to the co-Hosts; and
  • we need stakeholder participation, which we have witnessed this whole week.
Most of all, we need action, which we see in the Call for Action and the 1,234 voluntary commitments.

So as Conference Secretary-General, I have nothing but words of thanks to offer to the President of the General Assembly to the Co-Presidents and to the Co-Facilitators.

Likewise, I want to thank all Member States and stakeholder groups for your active engagement.

You are the heroes and you are the game changers.


For a Conference to have real impact, we need follow-up action.

On that, I think you would all agree that we have a lot to do.

From a broad range of measures for combating marine litter, to:
  • managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems,
  • reducing ocean acidification,
  • making fisheries sustainable,
  • increasing scientific knowledge; and
  • to a reaffirmation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
We have a long voyage ahead.

But we have set off on this voyage, with strong wind in our sails.

And this is where the voluntary commitments come in.

This is where the Ocean Conference has broken new ground. This is where it set a new benchmark for multilateral solutions.

I congratulate Member States for having decided that one of the Conference outcomes will be tangible voluntary commitments.

We did reach 1,000 commitments and more. Mr. President of the General Assembly -Congratulations!

This is a historic accomplishment.

As we embark on the next phase of our shared journey, I hope to see many of you next month at the high-level political forum on sustainable development where we will also discuss SDG 14 and its interlinkages with other Goals and targets.

I encourage you to monitor the voluntary commitments pledged so far but also to register new ones as they become ocean voluntary commitments.We stand ready to assist Member States and stakeholder groups in implementing these commitments.

We need these actions to save our oceans and seas to save our lives and to guarantee sustainable livelihoods of future generations.

We need all hands on deck. Let us sail on together!

Thank you.
File date: 
Friday, June 9, 2017
Mr. Wu