H.E. Jane J. Chigiyal
Permanent Representative of the
Federated States of Micronesia to the UN
on behalf of the
Pacific Islands Forum Members
Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
New York, 25 January 2012
Check Against Delivery
Thank you Co-Chairs,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum members represented at the United Nations.
We wish to thank the Co-Chairs for the work done since December to prepare the zero draft of the Rio outcome document. In our view, it provides a good basis for negotiations.
For Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) members, it has been particularly important that oceans issues be addressed in the outcome document. For those who call the Pacific "home", the "green" economy is in fact a "blue" economy because, for Pacific countries, sustainable development cannot be separated from the health of our ocean, including its management and conservation. The region is uniquely dependent on the Pacific Ocean for livelihoods, food security, and economic development.
The health of the oceans is also a global issue. Oceans cover 70 percent of our earth. World fisheries support 170 million jobs and more than 1.5 billion people rely on marine resources for their protein intake. Even those who live far from the sea are affected by the state of the oceans, because they play a critical role in the global climate system and in connecting world trade. Building a "blue economy" ultimately benefits all countries and makes a crucial contribution to global sustainable development.
We are therefore pleased to see that oceans feature in a number of paragraphs in the zero draft including -
actions that target threats to the ocean environment, including from acidification, pollution, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing;
the commitment to restore global fish stocks to sustainable levels by 2015;
the conservation and sustainable management of marine eco-systems and resources; and
as a possible Sustainable Development Goal.
We would, in addition, like to see specific language on -
the importance of delivering on existing oceans-related commitments and international goals, such as establishment of the global network of marine protected areas, as agreed at Rio+10; and
the need for arrangements to ensure that small island developing states (SIDS) receive greater benefits from their ocean resources as this is critical to their sustainable development.
We are also pleased to see other issues of importance to our region included in the zero draft including the paragraphs on food security, water resources, and energy. Many PIF countries have a high level of reliance on imported energy and would therefore like to see greater emphasis on improved access to clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy.
It would be useful to broaden the paragraph on infrastructure. As well as improving national infrastructure, it is also important for PIF countries to enhance regional infrastructure to ensure access to markets.
We would also like to see strengthened text on the importance of an enabling environment that supports increased investment, productive activity and a strengthened private sector, all of which can generate income and employment.
We also strongly support the proposal for a global SIDS conference to be held in the Pacific in 2014.
With Rio now on the horizon, we are reaching the business end of the work of the Preparatory Committee. We look forward to working together constructively over coming months so we can present our Leaders with an inspiring and action-orientated outcome document.