Blue Growth blog

FAO in New York as the #SaveourOcean Conference kicks off

FAO is pleased to be an active participant in this week’s UN Ocean Conference, in both Plenary and side events.

The UN Ocean Conference (#SaveourOcean) opened Monday, 5 June in New York. High-level member state representatives and UN officials addressed the gathering.

Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, and Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, were elected as Conference Co-Presidents.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that SDG 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources) can serve as a roadmap to achieving clean oceans. General Assembly President Peter Thomson of Fiji noted that the UN Ocean Conference is the “best opportunity we will ever have to reverse the cycle of decline in which human activities have put the ocean.”

FAO and its Fisheries and Aquaculture Department is pleased to be attending this week’s Ocean Conference, and to be actively participating in the busy days filled with events and discussions.

Over the weekend, FAO constructed its exhibition space at UN Headquarters.

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General alongside the Ocean Conference Co-Presidents Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, Fiji; and Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden.

If you are at the event, be sure to stop by to pick up our publications and to view our videos about the importance of SDG 14 to fisherfolk and their families and communities. 

You can see a short time lapse video about the set-up here.

If you are not in New York to pick up your own copy, you can download the new FAO publication, FAO Working for SDG14 in English, French and Spanish

Monday morning began with the FAO delegation visiting the FAO Liaison Office in New York and discussing the hectic day’s schedule with FAO Liaison Director Carla Muvcavi.

Before plenary sessions began, FAO took part in the Tuna Traceability Declaration 2020. Although work on this private sector declaration was created before the Ocean Conference, the event served as a perfect backdrop to promote the voluntary commitment for the tuna industry more widely. 

Speaking at the event, Árni M. Mathiesen, FAO Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture welcomed this partnership and its strong commitment to improved sustainability and traceability along the entire tuna value chain – including  tuna harvesters, processors, retailers, traders and governments and civil society organizations.

In the afternoon, a partnership dialogue on addressing marine pollution shared perspectives on challenges and solutions on marine litter, a growing concern around the world.

FAO also participated in an event at the German Ocean Pavilion entitled “How multi-stakeholder partnerships and credible certification support SDG 14 – the case of GSSI”. FAO has been closely involved with the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) since its inception and subsequent launch in 2015 at the Vigo, Spain celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

GSSI is a benchmarking tool that measures seafood certification schemes against FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related tools and instruments.

Speaking at that event, FAO Fisheries Director Manuel Barange noted that “Complex challenges in sustainable fisheries require complex, yet transparent and inclusive, solutions.” Barange outlined FAO’s efforts to support seafood certification, while simultaneously ensuring that it promotes, rather than hinders, seafood trade – particularly for developing countries.

On the first evening, FAO hosted its event on Fisheries Rebuilding for People and the Environment. The event, hosted in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum, the Forum Fisheries Agency and the IUCN-Fisheries Expert Group explored how rebuilding fisheries is not only about rebuilding fish stocks, but also rebuilding and placing greater value upon the economic, social and environmental values that productive and sustainable fisheries provide.

These session presented practical examples from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and explored ways in which these issues could be best addressed in least developed countries.

With far too many interesting ocean-related events from which to choose, FAO also attended events on New commitments and partnerships for small-scale fisheries and Asia-Pacific Women leading ocean action to achieve SDG 14.

The rest of the week and the #SaveourOcean Conference will offer many more opportunities to spotlight key issues related to SDG 14.

Partnership dialogues happening today include Partnership Dialogue 2 on Managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems and Partnership Dialogue 3 on Minimizing and addressing ocean acidification.

To follow FAO at the Ocean Conference and to tune into live webcasting, be sure to take a look at the FAO at the Ocean Conference web site.

If you missed the FAO-led event, Fisheries Rebuilding for People and Environment, you can watch the webcasting of the event here.

If you’re not in New York, we’ll keep you updated with FAO activities throughout the week.

An early start Monday morning in FAO’s New York Liaison Office. FAO Liaison Director Carla Muvcavi meets with FAO Fisheries’ Manuel Barange, Árni M. Mathiesen and Marcio CastroDesouza.
FAO Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Árni M. Mathiesen speaks at the Tuna Traceability Declaration 2020 meeting Monday morning.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Director Manuel Barange participates in the interesting discussion on seafood certification at the German-GSSI side event.
Kiribati’s former President addresses the Tuna Traceability Declaration 2020 meeting. Small Island developing States (SIDS) are well represented at this Conference, and bring to the table their special concerns and challenges related to achieving SDG 14.
FAO’s Kim Friedman at Partnership Dialogue 1 on Addressing marine pollution.
The delegation from Papua New Guinea at the Tuna Traceability Declaration 2020 event.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Director Manuel Barange with fellow participants of the GSSI side event at the German Ocean Pavilion.
UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson of Fiji speaking at the evening ceremony at the close of the Ocean Conference’s first day.

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