STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR MUNIR AKRAM, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PAKISTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE PLENARY OF THE 2022 UN OCEAN CONFERENCE (Lisbon, Portugal, 28 June 2022)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. Allow me to express our gratitude to the Governments of Portugal and Kenya for co-hosting this conference, and pledge full support for a meaningful outcome of this Conference.
3. The Ocean is an essential and elementary part of our Planet and of humanity's emergence, evolution and survival on Earth. It covers 71% of the Earth surface ad contains about 97% of the Earth's water.
4. The sustenance and sustainability of the Ocean is inextricably linked with the achievement of all the 17 SDG's and the 2030 Agenda. Multiple components of the SDGs are all directly dependent on the health of the Oceans.
5. Unfortunately, we face global emergency of the Oceans. Sea levels are rising, coastal erosion is worsening, marine pollution is increasing, marine biodiversity is rapidly declining, and the Ocean is warmer and more acidic.
6. Our Oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system.
7. Plastic pollution in the Oceans has enlarged simultaneously and will increase by 40% in the next 10 years. By 2050, our Oceans have more plastic than fish (by weight).
8. We have failed, collectively, to achieve targets 14.2, 14.4, 14.5 and 14.6 which were to be implemented by 2020.
9. We hope the Conference will result in renewing and reinforcing our commitment to take urgent actions to achieve all the targets of SDG 14 as soon as possible.
10. The Group of 77 and China believes that for successful implementation of SDG 14, it is imperative to adhere to the following principles:
a) First, decisions and actions for the conservation and sustainable use of the Oceans must bear in mind the integrated and indivisible nature of all the SDGs; and
b) Second, such actions must be consistent with the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, particularly the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities; and
c) Third, due to their historic contribution towards Ocean ecosystem degradation, the developed countries must take the lead in addressing the challenges facing the Oceans.
11. The actions required to address the threat to the Oceans have been identified. What is needed urgently is to mobilize the means of implementation, such as financing, technology transfer, and capacity building, as well as to enhance scientific knowledge and research especially to assist developing countries in protecting and restoring the Oceans.
12. We must fully understand and better manage the multiple aspects of oceanic sustainability, ranging from sustainable fisheries, ecosystem health and prevention of marine pollution.
13. We require an institutional framework - such as the UNFCCC - to accelerate implementation of SDG 14.
14. In the long term, the adverse effects of climate change on Oceans will have profound and unpredictable consequences with huge costs for humanity. Therefore, the Group calls on the developed countries to fulfill their commitments under the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement, including by taking accelerated action on mitigation and adaptation in a balanced manner and urgently fulfill their long overdue commitment to provide US$100 billion per annum in climate finance.
15. The Group similarly hopes that all the commitments adopted at this Conference will be immediately implemented by all parties - States, corporations, civil society and other stakeholders - to save and sustain the Oceans for the benefit of people and planet.
I thank you.