Remarks at UN-Oceans Side Event “Scaling up ocean action through inter-agency cooperation coordination: Case studies, challenges and opportunities”

Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to participate in this UN-Oceans Side Event focusing on the topic of interagency cooperation. This is a topic that is at the heart of achieving SDG 14 through action that is collaborative and based on partnerships.

I start by elaborating upon the voluntary commitments registered thus far on the platform maintained by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). 

At present, there are over 1860 commitments registered, and this number is climbing daily. These commitments cover all SDG 14 targets and are linked with a large number of other SDGs such as climate change, ending poverty and hunger, providing for food security, decent jobs and economic development, gender equality, clean water and sanitation among others. 

In addition to raising the visibility of ocean action, the platform also gives an opportunity for those who have made a commitment to report on its progress. This is important for us to assess impact.  We may need to consider how we can encourage better reporting on voluntary commitments, and what kinds of incentives could be useful. 

We know enough to say with certainty that the voluntary commitments have made a difference. For example, they have contributed to greatly increasing the marine area that is protected, to collectively removing large amounts of marine plastics from beaches and to developing solutions to reduce them at the source. 

Among the voluntary commitments, some 160 are registered collectively by United Nations agencies and intergovernmental organizations. This demonstrates a high degree of dedication to collaborative action on SDG 14 within the international community, both within and beyond the UN system.

Additionally, many other entities such as governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, academia and the scientific community, the private sector and other stakeholders have registered commitments in collaboration with UN Oceans members. 

Furthermore, the implementation of many - if not most - commitments is dependent on collaboration and cooperation between several agencies, governments and stakeholder groups. Without such partnerships, it is difficult to make progress.

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, an interagency voluntary commitment, has put scientific solutions front and centre of ocean action. 

Another example of successful inter-agency cooperation is the Communities of Ocean Action. These communities were established to keep the momentum going on the voluntary commitments, galvanizing around nine thematic clusters centred around SDG 14 targets. 

United Nations and intergovernmental agencies have been very active in the leadership of these communities.  UN Environment, UNDP, FAO, UN-DOALOS, IOC of UNESCO, the ISA, the CBD, the IMO, Ramsar Convention, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the GEF, and UN DESA are some of the agencies and entities leading the Communities of Ocean Action. This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are other leading entities outside of the UN system and networks where we are also members. 

We now need to expand the reach of these communities to make them even more effective. Moreover, we must leverage the interlinkages between SDG 14 and other SDGs to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Inter-agency cooperation has a critical role to play in forging integrated and synergistic action among targets and across the SDGs. Such cooperation could involve extracting lessons learned, to look at spill-over effects between SDG targets, and to come up with an assessment of progress that takes into account interlinkages.

Dear Participants, 

The success of this Conference is itself a demonstration of efficient inter-agency cooperation.  The sheer scope of the Conference, the enthusiastic engagement of the UN system and all stakeholders, shows our collective commitment to achieving SDG14 despite challenges.  

I am humbled by your enthusiastic participation in these events, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UN-Oceans colleagues for their support both substantively and logistically. I want to reiterate that your support is appreciated.

But our work is far from over. We have a very substantive outcome of the Conference, which lays out the foundation for our work going forward.  

On this matter, I would like to remind everyone about the in-depth review of SDG 14 to be held by the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC from 5 to 15 July 2022. The results of this Ocean Conference will be a key input to the review of SDG14.

Thank you.                        

File date: 
Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Mr. Liu