Remarks at Opening session of 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference


Your Excellency Mr. President of the Portuguese Republic,
Your Excellency Mr. President of the Republic of Kenya,
Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Distinguished Heads of State & governments,
Honorable ministers,
Distinguished Delegates,
Distinguished guests and all stakeholders,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As Secretary-General of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the co-hosts of this Conference, the Governments of Portugal and Kenya. 

They have worked tirelessly and under very difficult circumstances over the past three years to make this important Conference a reality. 

I would like to thank the Secretary-General Guterres for his inspiring words just delivered at the opening of this Conference.

It is my hope that we can act on his call to accelerate actions and build new partnerships for ocean health, so that together we can learn from each other and promote solutions anchored in science and innovation for a sustainable ocean, as envisaged by the theme of the Conference “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: Stocktaking, partnerships and solutions.”

I would also like to thank the President of the UN General Assembly and President of ECOSOC  for their guidance and support for the preparation of this Conference. 

I would also like to congratulate all delegations for coming to an agreement on a concise, action-oriented outcome document for formal adoption at the closing of this Conference. I would especially like to thank H.E. Amb. Keisha McGuire, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations, and H.E. Amb. Martin Bille Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations, for their able stewardship of this important milestone document entitled “Our ocean, Our future, Our responsibility.”  

I am particularly happy to see the focus on science and innovation, the recognition and acknowledgement of the ocean-climate-biodiversity nexus and the call for empowerment and full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in progressing towards achieving Goal 14.

Distinguished Delegates,

Not only are we falling behind in our quest to achieve Goal 14, but we are also still suffering from the uncertainty and after effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

We should be confident that, with every crisis the path to recovery provides an opportunity.  We must take the opportunity offered by COVID-19 recovery to put in place the actions and policies needed for a more sustainable ocean, and to build more equitable blue economies that promote the well-being of all people in the long term.  

Therefore, I urge all your delegations to make your commitments and pledges to enrich the registry of Voluntary Commitments that is managed by UN DESA, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. These commitments are key to stemming the declining health of the ocean.  Every step counts, every commitment, however small, matters. 

We must also take this opportunity to direct support towards marine scientific research, ocean observation and monitoring, including research and monitoring relating to social science. Marine scientific research will help us better understand how the ocean supports our lives and livelihoods, and how it might better inform our policies. We must ensure that all countries can benefit from scientific and technological innovations as they rebuild their economies.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

During this Conference, we will host nine plenary meetings and eight Interactive Dialogues to address priority topics around SDG 14 targets. The plenary meetings will be devoted to statements by world leaders, ministers, heads of delegations and major stakeholders.

The Interactive Dialogues are designed to be collaborative and multi-stakeholder in nature. They will focus on recommendations to support the implementation of Goal 14, including through strengthened cooperation, building on existing successful partnerships and stimulating innovative and concrete new ones, taking into account the theme of the Conference.

Distinguished Delegates,

We hope that you come to Lisbon with your commitments and vision, and you will leave Lisbon having made many new friends, widened your knowledge, and formed innovative ideas for new partnerships that can help all of us accelerate progress towards Goal 14. 

May this Conference inspire and re-energize your efforts to protect the health of our ocean for us and for future generations.

Before closing, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Government of people of Portugal for the warm hospitality extended to all our participants!

I would also like to thank all my UN colleagues for their dedication with preparations and support of this Conference!

I wish this Ocean Conference a great success!

Thank you.

File date: 
Monday, June 27, 2022

Mr. Liu