At the United Nations today, the foundation meeting of the Group of Friends of Oceans and Seas was held. The group is made up of UN Ambassadors dedicated to ensuring the well-being of oceans and seas.
The Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN, Ambassador Peter Thomson, was appointed as one of the group’s five Co-Chairs (one for each of the five regional groups of the United Nations). The other Co-Chairs are the Permanent Representatives of Senegal, Estonia, Grenada and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The ambassadorial group will work to ensure the integrity of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG14) pertaining to oceans and seas. The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are expected to be adopted at a United Nations Summit in September, 2015, and these goals will guide global developments efforts between the years 2015 to 2030.
SDG14 seeks to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” SDG14’s targets include provisions relating to marine pollution of all kinds, protecting marine and coastal ecosystems, addressing ocean acidification, effective management of fish-stocks, conserving coastal and marine areas, removing fisheries subsidies and ensuring the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
It provides for increasing maritime scientific knowledge, developing research capacity and the transfer of marine technology. Notably it also targets an increase in the economic benefits to small island developing States, such as Fiji and its Pacific Island neighbours, from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.