I am pleased to send greetings to the Pacem in Maribus XXXIV International Forum. I convey my appreciation to the Government of Thailand for hosting this event and for its commitment to the United Nations.
Since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the establishment of legal, policy and institutional frameworks for the oceans and seas has created a conducive context for the sustainable development and governance of the world’s oceans and their resources, which play a key role towards poverty eradication, sustained economic growth, food security and job creation.
Yet livelihoods and economic opportunities are still being lost as a result of pollution, climate change, acidification, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and natural disasters such as tsunamis and other coastal floods. Some coastal development activities, in particular land reclamation activities, are also having detrimental impacts.
The outcome document of last year’s UN “Rio+20” Conference on Sustainable Development highlighted the pressing need for action on ocean issues. This will require capacity-building and the sharing of scientific, traditional and indigenous knowledge related to the protection of coastal populations, the response to extreme events and the maintenance of ecosystem services. Enabling conditions for economic development will also be crucial.
I am encouraged to see South-East Asia actively engaging on these challenges and providing examples of best practices. Your efforts will help us accelerate our work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and define a bold post-2015 development agenda. Next year’s UN Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa, which has identified oceans as a priority area, is a timely opportunity on this path.
I look forward to working with all partners to ensure the healthy, productive and resilient oceans that are so essential for human well-being and prosperity. Please accept my best wishes for a successful Forum.