Opening Remarks Webinar on Investing in SDG14

Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you to today’s webinar on Investing in SDG14.

The ocean has long been suffering from the impacts of human activities that lead to marine pollution, overfishing, acidification, and deterioration of marine ecosystem. 

On top of the existing challenges facing the ocean, we have seen the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ocean-based economy. This has brought global tourism to a standstill, leaving seafarers stranded at sea, and plunging hundreds of thousand small fishermen into poverty. 

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, and strengthen our efforts in this Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, the projections on achieving SDG14 look grim. 

Indeed, even before the pandemic, actions and dedicated resources for the implementation of SDG14, were insufficient. The stakes are high. Attention to the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss and the declining health of ocean are critical as we begin to look ahead to post-pandemic recovery. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To deliver on our promise to protect the ocean, active investment at scale is urgently required. We need solutions based on science and innovation, as set out in the theme of the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. 

Insufficient financing is one of the greatest bottlenecks that prevents the world from achieving the SDGs, including SDG14. It has been estimated that achieving SDG14 by 2030 will require about $175 billion per year. However, at present only $25.5 billion is spent annually. This indicates a funding gap of $149 billion per year. 

Governments must take a leading role in closing the financing gap on SDG14. Policy makers at all levels should create an enabling environment that provides the predictability and stability for capital to be mobilized. 

Strategic investment should be incentivized in marine environment-friendly technologies, such as:

  • zero-emission marine transport, 
  • offshore wind farms, and 
  • sustainable coastal infrastructure. 

Further investment must be leveraged for traditional sectors, particularly small-scale fisheries. 

The private sector plays a critical role in funding SDG14. However, the current contribution of the private sector is estimated at 8 percent of total SDG 14 financing. This is very limited compared to other goals. 

Innovative financing – such as blended finance and debt financing – should be further explored and promoted through public private partnerships.

The maritime industry should also develop more clearly-structured projects that can deliver quantifiable benefits to attract more investors. Banks, insurers, investors, and other private-sector partners should redirect their products and services towards transition to a sustainable blue economy. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sustainable blue economy offers a needed solution to bring economic benefits and create jobs – while safeguarding marine ecosystems and protecting the ocean.  

Recent research from the World Resources Institute suggests that sustainable ocean-based investment will yield benefits at least five times greater than the costs .

I would like to share one relevant example with you. The coastal city of Xiamen, China was suffering from severe pollution in the 1980s. Over several cycles of integrated coastal management, its coastline has since been transformed into a model for ecological and economic success. It now provides opportunities for:

  • leisure and tourism, 
  • residential real estate, 
  • a venue for industries, and 
  • a home for rich biodiversity, including the return of the Chinese White Dolphin. 

It is estimated that every dollar invested in the integrated coastal management project in Xiamen, has returned seven dollars in economic benefit to the city . 

Investing in SDG14 is investing in the future wellbeing and prosperity of the planet and humanity. 

That is what the world should do. 

Thank you.

File date: 
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Mr. Liu