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The UN has invited Member States and other stakeholders to submit inputs for concept papers on the themes of the Ocean Conference’s seven partnership dialogues.

The Pacific region held a Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Ocean Conference, highlighting the importance of SDG 14.

17 March 2017: In advance of the upcoming Ocean Conference, the UN invited Member States and other stakeholders to submit inputs for concept papers on the themes of the Conference’s seven partnership dialogues. Also in preparation for the Conference, a Regional Preparatory Meeting took place for Pacific countries.

According to the UN’s note on ‘Information on Concept Papers for Partnership Dialogues of The Ocean Conference,’ Conference Secretary-General Wu Hongbo invited Member States and other stakeholders to submit inputs related to each concept paper by 24 March 2017. Inputs are invited on: status and trends; challenges and opportunities; existing partnerships; possible areas for new partnerships; and guiding questions for the dialogue. Advance versions of the concept papers will be posted on the Conference website in May 2017.

At the Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting, which convened from 15-17 March 2017, in Suva, Fiji, participants highlighted the importance of the ocean for Pacific small island developing States (SIDS), underscoring the ocean’s role in the region’s food security, prosperity and well being. Participants called for collective global effort to tackle challenges such as depleting fish stocks and species, illegal and destructive fishing practices, marine pollution, ocean warming and ocean acidification. Participants also discussion the development of regional indicators to measure progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 (life below water).

Thomson said the Conference is the only universal forum equipped to address the Ocean’s problems.

Speaking at the regional preparatory meeting, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Peter Thomson said the Conference is “the only universal forum equipped to address the Ocean’s problems,” and is “uniquely positioned to mobilize commitments, partnerships and action on the scale necessary to reverse the cycle of decline in which the Ocean is currently caught.” Observing the leadership shown by the Pacific in calling for the adoption of SDG 14 and for ensuring accountability on SDG 14 progress through the Conference, Thomson urged Pacific SIDS to closely engage with negotiations on the Ocean Conference’s Call for Action document “to secure a universal, ambitious and succinct text that mobilizes Ocean action, follow up and review” and to continue to lead by example by “making bold commitments to action” in the Registry of Voluntary Commitments.

Pacific Ocean Commissioner Meg Taylor underscored the importance of effective partnerships in delivering SDG 14. She called for clear articulation of what partnerships and partnership features are necessary to support a coordinated, integrated approach to SDG 14 in the Pacific region.

Thomson also called on the Pacific community to support the UN Ocean Conference through making voluntary commitments for action to save the ocean and by forging new and innovative partnerships, in a speech at the University of the South Pacific, on 16 March. [Note on Concept Papers] [Letter from Conference Secretary-General] [UNGA President’s Statement] [Pacific Ocean Commissioner’s Statement] [UNGA President’s Statement at USP]

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