Welcome remarks at Webinar on Communities of Ocean Action on Sustainable Blue Economy

Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to welcome you to today’s important webinar. I commend all of you for your contribution and stewardship of the Community of Ocean Action on Sustainable Blue Economy, as well as your longstanding commitment to the implementation of SDG14. 

There is no doubt that the ocean is integral to the survival of our planet. Not only does it act as a crucial buffer to temperature change and a giant sink for greenhouse gas emissions. The ocean provides us with food, oxygen, and supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.

Interest in the economic potential of the ocean is also escalating.  Three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihood. Goods and services from the ocean generate about $2.5 trillion each year. And they contributed over 31 million direct full-time jobs before the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The ocean is seen as the next great economic frontier, with numerous ocean-based industries growing by many orders of magnitude, in the recent past, and near future. 

Small-scale fisheries account for more than half of total production on average. Aquaculture production currently provides half of the global fish supply.  In Least Developed Countries, 76% of value added from ocean-based industries, comes from marine fisheries.

Distinguished Participants,

A sustainable blue economy goes beyond transportation, fisheries and other material goods garnered from the ocean. Immense economic potential also lies in emerging ocean sectors, including:

  • low carbon shipping, 
  • offshore renewable energy, 
  • marine biotechnology, and 
  • eco-tourism, to name a few. 

Moreover, the post-pandemic era requires a better recovery that is robust, sustainable, resilient, and inclusive. And the ocean holds the key to bringing prosperity and sustainability together. 

A sustainable blue economy offers solutions to bring economic benefits by creating jobs, while safeguarding marine ecosystems, and protecting the ocean. It can help direct economic recovery packages towards ocean-based industries, to deliver near-term economic and social benefits. And it can help steer efforts away from undermining ocean health and marine ecosystems.  

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, we have seen growing interest among policy makers and stakeholders in developing sustainable blue economies. Numerous Voluntary Commitments under the Ocean Conference registry – which UN DESA is managing – directly contributed or referred to sustainable blue economy. 

As I mentioned at the High-level Thematic Debate on the ocean and SDG14, held on 1 June, the Voluntary Commitments registered by governments, private sectors, NGOs and major groups, since the 2017 UN Ocean Conference, was a groundbreaking practice. It provided a means for everyone to do their part to achieve SDG14. 

Voluntary Commitments are vital to generate innovative solutions, pool resources from different sectors, and transfer commitments to concrete ocean actions.  If fully implemented, and properly monitored and scaled up, they can make a real difference. 

That is why we need internal collaboration and communication within our Community of Ocean Action. We can share best practices and experiences, brainstorm innovative solutions, and explore opportunities of further collaboration, to ensure we are on the right track to achieve the deliverables.  

UN DESA will continue to maintain the registry, and support the Voluntary Commitment holders of our Community of Ocean Action to jointly pursue Sustainable Blue Economy, for a healthier and vibrant ocean. 
I wish you fruitful discussions today.

I thank you.

File date: 
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Mr. Liu