The Ocean Conference

Our Oceans, Our Future: Partnering for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14

5-9 June 2017 | UN Headquarters, New York

Highlights for Monday, 5 June 2017

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Room view during the plenary

Room view during the plenary session

The Ocean Conference opened on Monday, 5 June 2017. Plenary addressed organizational matters and heard statements from high-level Member State representatives and UN officials. In the afternoon, a partnership dialogue focused on addressing marine pollution.

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

Recalling the borderless nature of the ocean, Co-President Isabella Lövin expressed hope for the conference to be the “game changer” the ocean needs. Co-President Frank Bainimarama highlighted the threats of climate change and ocean litter, noting that greedy nations and commercial interests threaten livelihoods in small island developing states.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed towards ways SDG 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) serves as a roadmap towards a clean ocean, including: ending the dichotomy between economic activities and ocean health; building strong partnerships and political leadership based on the existing legal framework, such as on MPAs and fisheries management; making new funding commitments; deepening our knowledge base; and sharing best practices. General Assembly President Peter Thomson (Fiji) considered the UN Ocean Conference the “best opportunity we will ever have to reverse the cycle of decline in which human activities have put the ocean.”

In the afternoon, a partnership dialogue on addressing marine pollution shared perspectives on challenges and solutions on marine litter, including addressing land-based pollution and reducing plastics and microplastics production and consumption.

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, has provided daily reports and daily web coverage, and has provided a summary and analysis report in HTML and PDF.

Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis
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Plenary Session

Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Fiji

Frederick Makamure Shava, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Zimbabwe

From L-R: António Guterres, UN Secretary-General; Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, Fiji; and Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden

President Evo Morales, Bolivia

President Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon

President Peter Christian, Federated States of Micronesia

President Baron Divavesi Waqa, Nauru

President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe

Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Tuvalu

Prime Minister Henry Puna, Cook Islands

Mohamed Shainee, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Maldives

President Tommy Esang Remengesau, Palau

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka

Partnership Dialogue 1: Addressing Marine Pollution

Co-Chair Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Indonesia

Didier Reynders, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Belgium

Grete Faremo, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Nancy Wallace, US Department of Commerce

Adrian Grenier, newly appointed UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador

View of the dais during the Partnership Dialogue

Elliott Harris, UN Environment

Co-Chair Vidar Helgesen, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway

Kosi Latu, Director-General, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica

Habib N. El-Habr, UN Environment (UNEP)

Sybil Seitzinger, University of Victoria, Canada

Peter Kershaw, Chair, Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment (GESAMP)

Mohamed Shainee, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Maldives

Marko Pomerants, Minister of Environment, Estonia

Isabel Cecilia de Saint Malo García de Alvarado, Vice President and Foreign Minister, Panama

Cultural Opening


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IISD Reporting Services is grateful to the many donors of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and recognizes the following as core contributors to the ENB: the European Union and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2017 is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Switzerland (FOEN), and SWAN International. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, Québec, and the International Organization of La Francophonie/Institute for Sustainable Development of La Francophonie (IOF/IFDD).