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Participants discussed progress in addressing ocean conservation, management and governance at a side event highlighting the upcoming Triennial Oceans and Seas Global Conference.

Speakers noted achievements in oceans governance, such as the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) recommendation to launch negotiations for a new implementing agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the proposal by the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of a stand-alone goal to Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (SDG 14).

fiji-goc-palau23 June 2015: Participants discussed progress in addressing ocean conservation, management and governance at a side event highlighting the upcoming Triennial Oceans and Seas Global Conferences. Speakers noted achievements in oceans governance, such as the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) recommendation to launch negotiations for a new implementing agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the proposal by the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of a stand-alone goal to Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (SDG 14).

The Global Ocean Commission (GOC) and the Permanent Missions of Fiji and Palau to the UN organized the event, ‘Ensuring SDG 14 Succeeds,’ which took place in New York, US, on 23 June 2015, on the margins of the sixth session of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. Panelists included the Permanent Representatives of Senegal and Sweden, and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Peru, alongside the Permanent Representative of Palau, who chaired the meeting.

Participants recognized continued challenges faced by the oceans, including: climate change and biodiversity and habitat loss; marine pollution and debris; and illegal and destructive fishing practices. They stressed the importance of addressing challenges related to “weak and fragmented high seas governance,” with one participant comparing the UN’s approach to the ocean to “minestrone soup.”

“While SDG14 represents a great achievement in the context of the intergovernmental negotiations undertaken at the UN, we cannot allow ourselves to rest on our laurels,” remarked Ambassador Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji. To reverse the cycle of decline of oceans and seas, he called for ensuring accountability through an “effective process to assess and report on our progress in implementing…SDG 14.” He highlighted the proposed Triennial Oceans and Seas Global Conferences as such an opportunity.

The proposed triennial Conferences aim to address the fragmentation of ocean governance by providing a central mechanism for bringing together the ocean community to benchmark and assess progress on implementing the targets of SDG 14.

The first Conference is proposed to convene in Fiji, from 5-8 June 2017, and will address SDG targets related to marine pollution, ecosystems, fisheries, climate change effects and oceans governance. [IISD RS Sources] [Event Invitation] [IISD RS Story on UNGA Resolution]


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