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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

30 November 2022


Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

A very warm welcome to the Fifth Asia-Pacific Day for the Ocean!

We gather for this event once again, and this is the fifth Asia-Pacific Day for the Ocean. We started in November 2018, yet, my main message remains the same,  which is: our region is not on track to meet the targets of SDG 14 by 2030.

But I am still hopeful that all sails are now set towards acceleration and better progress.

As we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), we recognize its contribution to international order and peace among our nations.

We will continue to support member States to realize an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, or known as the “BBNJ.”

We must not lose the momentum gained during the UN Ocean Conference this summer in Lisbon.

We are positive that in the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity COP in Montreal in December, governments will continue to make progress on resolutions to protect 30 per cent of the world’s terrestrial and marine habitats by 2030.

We have seen the political will of G20 members recently in Bali through Leader’s Declaration,as they committed to work together on scientific knowledge-sharing, raising awareness and capacity building, particularly to advance ocean-based climate action.

Later today, you will be joining and have the opportunity to participate and to fully engage in four different interactive dialogues on challenges and priorities for our region.

To motivate these discussions, I would like to underline a few urgent issues for your consideration:

First, when it comes to ocean governance, our region remains weak.

We have outstanding issues such as marine pollution and Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

In the Pacific, the volume of IUU activity in tuna alone is estimated at 306,440 tons, a value of approximately $616 million.

Second, sustainable maritime connectivity is a key enabler for regional development.

Nonetheless, persistent connectivity gaps affect our Pacific small island developing States (SIDS). Furthermore, there are significant opportunities in this sector to contribute to the development of low- and zero-emissions green shipping, digitalization and inclusive transport and mobility for the Pacific in partnership with strategic development actors and the shipping industry.

Third, the data needed ranges from the biology and dynamics of fisheries to the intricacies of ocean chemistry.

It is diverse in its sources, from government to academia, to the private sector. Data are not evenly distributed globally and are not collected in a uniform and systematic matter.

Better and more policy relevant evidence is required to support sustainable ocean management.

Fourth, the ocean will continue to play an important role in the global response to climate change.

It is estimated that the ocean has absorbed approximately 90 per cent of the excess heat generated by rising greenhouse gas emissions trapped in the Earth’s system and taken in approximately 30 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

We must promote financing for sustainable investment in Ocean-based solutions and financial mechanisms to develop bluer economies, as climate change can vastly contribute to the reduction of these emissions.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Our ocean policy work continues to be one of our priorities, as mandated by member States. I would like to highlight some of our key activities:

  1. Our work strengthens our understanding of nature-based solutions, including opportunities to leverage investments in blue carbon storage for climate change mitigation and increasing marine protected areas to preserve key ocean ecosystems, especially around mangroves, saltmarshes, and coral reefs.
  2. To advance sustainable maritime transport, we support countries in reducing environmental impact and promoting inclusion through sustainable and resilient shipping and port activities.

Regular, comprehensive and structured regional dialogue on maritime connectivity ensures regional cooperation and integration. We will continue to provide a multistakeholder platform to address the challenges and to strengthen multilateral and regional initiatives, especially in support of SIDS.

  1. We are also  leading work to advance ocean accounting through its co-chairing of the Global Ocean Accounts Partnership. Ocean accounts integrate and balance data and enhance our understanding of the complex interactions between human societies, economies, and ocean ecosystems.

Ocean accounts are vital additions to the evidence-base needed to formulate national and regional policies for the sustainable development of oceans.

I invite you to participate actively in the interactive dialogues today.

We welcome your innovative ideas and proposals to address the challenges of our ocean.

I look forward to hearing your further recommendations after these dialogues so we can work together with governments to catalyze actions and solutions for a healthy ocean.

Have a productive Day for the Ocean.

Thank you!

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