Yeosu, Republic of Korea

12 August 2012

Secretary-General's remarks at Yeosu Declaration Forum [as prepared for delivery]

We are here today to bring Yeosu Expo-2012 to a close -- but this is also just a beginning.
The beginning of a new movement for healthier oceans.
The beginning of a new push for sustainable coasts.
The Yeosu Declaration on the Living Ocean and Coast provides a strong call to action and a guide for the future we wish to chart.
We need to show a heightened sense of responsibility in protecting the oceans and coasts.
They are the foundation of life on this planet and hold the key to the future of humanity.
We know the importance of the oceans for our climate, our weather, our food supplies.
We must now act on this knowledge, together, and tackle the challenges of pollution, depleted fish stocks, acidification and rising resource exploitation.
We must do so in ways that are scientifically-based, and that are socially and culturally inclusive.
We must deepen our knowledge of ocean science, and build new partnerships among governments, civil society and the public and private sectors.
This is why I am creating a new Scientific Advisory Board, with the help of UNESCO and other agencies, to strengthen the work of the UN for sustainability sciences.
And it is why I have appointed a High-level Panel to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015.
From challenge, we must create opportunity.
The oceans hold so many solutions for the future we want for all.
They are a modern maritime silk road.
They hold vast new and renewable resources.
They provide income and sustenance for billions of people.
We must make the most of the oceans and coasts as engines for green economic growth.
This has been the guiding spirit of Yeosu Expo-2012 – to protect, recover and sustain the ocean’s environment and natural resources -- and to create new momentum for ocean sustainability.
It is also the spirit of the Oceans Compact I launched this morning.
I pledge the full commitment of the United Nations family to the Yeosu Declaration and the new Oceans Compact.
A strong wind of change is blowing.  We saw this at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, and we have seen it throughout this Expo.
I thank our hosts, the Government of the Republic of Korea, for their leadership in ocean sustainability.
And I commend His Excellency President Lee Myung-bak and His Excellency Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik for their vision.
Allow me also to express my deepest thanks to the citizens of Yeosu who have made this Expo such a success.
And I thank all Expo participants for their hard work and commitment.
We all must become stewards of the ocean.
This is the key message we send to the world today.
Collective stewardship is essential for life today and tomorrow.
It is the path to attain the Millennium Developments Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals that will follow.
We know what we have to do.
The work starts now.
Thank you.