Keynote speech at the 2021 Korea International Cooperation Conference on Oceans and Fisheries

Your Honorable Minister Mr MOON Seong-Hyeok of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries,
Mr Ban Ki-Moon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Mr KIM Woong-Seo, the President of Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology,
Mr KIM Jong Deog, the Interim President of Korea Maritime Institute,

Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I have the honor to deliver congratulatory remarks at the ‘Korea International Cooperation on Oceans and Fisheries 2021’.

2. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology, and Korea Maritime Institute of the Republic of Korea on hosting, organizing, and sponsoring this significant event.

Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentleman,

3. Many of us do know that the world is facing multiple global challenges today. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity, conflicts, battling high inequality in food security, and particularly the COVID-19 pandemic have set countries back a step on striving to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to reverse the world’s efforts in eradicating hunger and reducing poverty.

4. Up to 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020, increasing more than 20 percent compared to 2019 under the shadow of the COVID-19. This is the highest level of food insecurity in the past five years and it has pushed the world further away from achieving SDGs.

5. In this difficult time, the role of FAO, as a specialized UN agency in food and agriculture, has become even more important for the fight against hunger and poverty, but also for progress on the delivery of all other SDGs.

6. Together with its partners, FAO supports the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, better environment, better life and leaving no one behind.

7. Among FAO’s new 20 Programme Priority Areas, Blue transformation, Healthy diets for all, Climate change mitigating and adapted agri-food systems, Biodiversity and ecosystems services for food and agriculture, and Inclusive rural transformation are all relevant to fisheries and the achievement of SDG 14.

8. Moreover, FAO leads international fisheries policy, including through the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and related sub-committees on Fish Trade and Aquaculture. In addition, under FAO’s regional Blue Growth Initiative in Asia and the Pacific has been actively implemented to support the “sustainable use of living aquatic resources and growth of regional aquaculture to enhance food and nutrition security”.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

9. FAO has enjoyed excellent cooperation with the Republic of Korea over the last seven decades. More importantly, the Republic of Korea was amongst the first countries to successfully transition from recipient to donor of funding for development.

10. Back to 2014, the ROK and FAO have signed a MOU aiming to jointly promote responsible fishing and aquaculture in the developing world . Under the South-South and Triangular Cooperation mechanism, ROK’s financial, technical, and human resources to FAO in fisheries has contributed to building scientific and technical knowledge to develop the mariculture sector in developing countries and promoting responsible fisheries management.

11. Given the strong partnership between ROK and FAO, FAO in early 2021 officially launched operations at its Partnership and Liaison Office in the Republic of Korea in a move that will accelerate knowledge sharing, innovation and agricultural transformation to improve diets and livelihoods across Asia and the world .

12. Achieving SDG 14, conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development, requires raising awareness, a good policy framework, more investments, and joint action within coordinated international cooperation.

13. I strongly believe that today’s International Conference on Oceans and Fisheries will be a platform to share data, technologies, innovation. And most importantly, by localizing ROK’s good experience and best practice to developing countries through the South-South and Triangular Cooperation mechanism, we hope to benefit the poor smallholder fishermen. With the joint efforts from the ROK, FAO, and other partners, I believe we can make a big step forward to achieving the steps needed for Blue Transformation.

14. I look forward to our joint discussions in the coming days and I take this opportunity to express my best wishes for the success of the 2021 Korea International Cooperation Conference on Oceans and Fisheries.

Thank you. Gamsahapnida