Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Special Envoy of the UN General Assembly President on behalf of H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly, at Global Outlook Conference 2017 in Olso – Norwegian Ship-owners Association
28 March 2017
Prime Minister Solberg,
President and CEO of the Norwegian Ship-owners Association,
Ladies and Gentleman,
It is a pleasure to be here this morning and to deliver this statement on behalf of the President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr Peter Thomson.
First of all, let me thank the Norwegian Ship-owners Association for the opportunity to address this important gathering.
I was very pleased to accepted this invitation because the focus of your session this year mirrors that of my Presidency – namely delivering a universal push for implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the most consequential multi-lateral agreement of our time.
Taken together with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the 2030 Agenda with its 17 mutually reinforcing Sustainable Development Goals essentially provides humanity with a universal masterplan for a sustainable way of life on this planet.
It responds to the major challenges of our time from extreme poverty to rising inequality; from overpopulation to overconsumption; from climate change to new and emerging threats to global peace.
If implemented effectively and at-scale, the 2030 Agenda will transform the world we live in; into a place in which our children and grandchildren will live secure and prosperous lives.
The great challenge before us is to turn the 2030 Agenda’s ambitious commitments into meaningful global action.
Ladies and gentleman, I congratulate all at the Norwegian Shipping Association for rising to this challenge by identifying how a global industry, such as the shipping industry, can contribute to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
You have set an example for other industries to follow and, rest assured, I will be encouraging them to do so.
In order to ensure the effective implementation of the SDGs, Governments need to align their laws, policies, budgets and plans to the 2030 agenda.
Of this there is no doubt.
But make no mistake about it, for change to happen at the scale and speed we need, this will not be enough.
All stakeholders need to play their part – examining their own business models and determining what they can do to drive the required transformation.
For the shipping industry, it is clear you have a very important role to play on matters ranging from climate change to sustainable consumption and production.
But it is in the achievement of SDG 14 – the conservation and sustainable use of the Ocean and its resources – where you can have the most direct impact.
As an integral element of the Ocean equation, you know better than most that the Ocean is the lifeblood of our planet.
A healthy Ocean fuels sustainable businesses, thriving communities and dynamic economies.
SDG 14 came into existence because of the dire situation that is fast developing. Marine pollution is cluttering the Ocean and choking our marine-life, while immense gyres of garbage circulate out in the high seas. Hypoxic dead zones are growing along our coasts, and overfishing and IUU fishing are threatening the sustainability of fish stocks. Meanwhile, the impacts of climate change are further aggravating the situation, by raising sea levels, exacerbating Ocean acidification, bleaching coral reefs, and increasing global water temperatures to the detriment of marine life, people’s habitats, food security, and livelihoods.
SDG 14 contains targets that address these and other threats to the Ocean’s health and the United Nations Ocean Conference, to be convened from 5-9 June in New York, is designed to support SDG14’s progress. With SDG14 the only universal agreement to save the life in the ocean, the Ocean Conference looms as humanity’s best chance to reverse the cycle of decline in which the Ocean is currently caught.
Presided over by the Governments of Sweden and Fiji, the Conference is open to all stakeholders – from across Government, international organisations, civil society, the private sector, and the scientific and academic communities.
Two weeks ago, at the Preparatory Meeting for the Conference in New York, we witnessed exceptionally high-levels of enthusiasm from a very broad-range of stakeholders. The momentum is with us and today, I am making a special plea to the Shipping Industry to get behind The Ocean Conference.
Amongst other things, the conference aims to deliver innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships to put in motion necessary action and comprehensive solutions.
I encourage you to visit the Ocean Conference website. You will find there the Registry for Voluntary Commitments that was launched last month.
I encourage you all to mobilize partnerships to support the targets of SDG14 and to register your voluntary commitments for action.
I hope to see a strong representation of the Shipping Industry at the Ocean Conference, ultimately helping us to deliver both a healthy planet and sustained peace and prosperity for all.