New York, September 27, 2014: The Global Partnerships Forum was privileged to participate at the high-level event Healthy Oceans & Seas: Paving the Way Towards a Sustainable Development Goal, which took place on the occasion of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. This special event was co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Italy, Monaco and Palau, in cooperation with the UN Department of Public Information, and was moderated by GPF Chairman, Mr. Amir Dossal.
The event co-hosts recognize the dire and desperate situation that now exists in our world’s oceans and seas as a result of harmful and exploitative practices in overfishing, pollution and tourism. After being excluded from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), oceans and seas - along with the populations whose livelihoods depend upon them, will finally receive the long-overdue support and respect they deserve from the proposed Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The proposal includes Goal 14, the conservation and promotion of a sustainable use of the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources, as well as Goal 2, ending hunger and achieving food security.
His Excellency Mr. Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations and Chairman of the Second Committee of the General Assembly, delivered the opening remarks and warmly welcomed all participants to the event. Ambassador Cardi's optimism set the tone for a productive and collaborative discussion, "These are global challenges that require global solutions - solutions that can only be achieved only by a common vision and joint actions between governments, international organizations, civil society, academics and business. I am confident - we are confident, that today by sharing our views and best practices on such pressing matters we will be covering one more mile towards our common goal and destination of healthy oceans and seas."
The President of Palau, His Excellency Tommy Remengesau Jr., also warmly welcomed the hosting of the Second Healthy Oceans and Seas Forum, and referenced that the Governments of Italy and Palau had co-hosted the first Forum in February 2014, “…at which meeting I called upon the international community to join the Pacific Small Island Developing States, in adopting a standalone Sustainable Development Goal on Healthy and Resilient Oceans.” He thanked Monaco for being part of this important initiative, “for generations a true champion of the Oceans,” and for the support if His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco. He pointed out that, now over 80 countries have joined the coalition of supporters for a standalone SDG. President Remengesau reported that the 45th Pacific Islands Forum adopted a declaration for a standalone SDG, and supported the idea of a reduction in the number of SDGs. He reminded the audience that, “We are on the brink of a paradigm shift in ocean governance. Perhaps the free for all is coming to an end, and not a moment too soon.”
The focus of the event was to bring together people from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds, to share their expertise and experiences, in an effort to explore policies and strategies that will allow for Goal 14, in conjunction with Goal 2 - especially as it relates to nations where the food, nutrition and wellbeing of the populations are affected by the health of oceans and seas - to be achieved.
The Honourable Silvia Velo, Undersecretary of State, Ministry for the Environment and the Protection of Land and Sea from the Republic of Italy, pledged, "Italy will do its utmost during the months to come to ensure that the oceans have an important place in the post-2015 agenda. Italy will also endeavour to ensure that the fundamental connection between the health of the oceans and food security, between the economic stability and adequate work for all, between the preservation of marine biodiversity and reduction of dangerous anthropogenic stresses, is emphasised in the agenda and actively tackled through interlinking targets."
Her Excellency Ms. Isabelle Picco, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Monaco to the United Nations highlighted the Pelagos Sanctuary, created in 1999 by France, Italy and Monaco, to protect cetaceans and their habit from natural or human-created threats. She stated, "the Pelagos Agreement was ground-breaking because it extended beyond national jurisdiction of the three states, governing a maritime space larger than South Carolina,” pointing out that this involved collaboration with national and local authorities, government services, maritime transport, fishing and tourism professionals, NGOs and scientific communities.
In closing, the moderator, Mr. Amir Dossal, Chairman of the Global Partnerships Forum, thanked the organisers for their dedication and support in making this Forum a reality. In particular, he recognised Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Madame Cecilia Piccioni, Ms. Andrea Biagini, Ms. Isabella Periotto, Mr. Marco, with special appreciation to Ms. Laura Fassio-Canuto, and others from the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations; Ambassador Isabelle Picco, Mrs. Valérie Bruell-Melchior, Mr. Florian Botto, and her team from the Permanent Mission of the Principality of Monaco to the United Nations; and Ambassador Stuart Beck (Ambassador of Oceans and Seas for Palau), Mrs. Tulik Beck, Dr. Mike Dorsey, Ms. Vivienne Caballero, and others from his team. He also thanked the GPF team – Ms. Franziska Lauer, Ms. Nora Westcott and Ms. Laura Cienkowski for their support and help.