Date: 29 June 2022
Time: 9:00 am EST
Event recording: https://youtu.be/h_5wasbQj-Y
The Second UN Ocean Conference took place from 27 June to 1 July 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, came at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the SDGs. To mobilize action, the Conference sought to propel the much-needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.
On the margins of the Ocean Conference, a side event was organized by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), with the co-sponsorship of the Mission of Portugal to the United Nations (co-host of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference). The side-event focused on ‘Leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation to advance the Blue Economy Agenda in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)’.
SIDS’s combined ocean area is 20.7 times that of their land territory. As ‘Large Ocean States’, SIDS have tremendous potential to tap into the ocean economy. The side-event raised the visibility of South-South cooperation in support of the SDGs relevant to the ocean agenda, and promoted building more such partnerships and initiatives through South-South and triangular cooperation, particularly for SIDS and Least Developed Countries.
Recent data suggests that by 2030, ocean-based industries have the potential to outpace the growth of the global economy, both in terms of value-added and employment. The annual contribution of the ocean economy amounts to approximately $3.6 trillion, while also contributing 150 million jobs and expanding marine and coastal sectors, which will have a transformative impact on their economies and societies. This is critical for SIDS’s economic and environmental development.
The Ocean Conference’extended a call to explore, develop and promote innovative approaches for mobilizing finance to drive the transformation to sustainable ocean-based economies, and the scaling up of nature-based solutions.
In light of this, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, emphasized the need for genuine and durable partnerships. He suggested that these partnerships must be SMART. That is, they must be:
Panelists provided insights and recommendations on the importance of investing in ocean-based industries and the role of South-South and triangular cooperation to support SIDS, and to accelerate their economic development and climate action.
“Creativity must play a key role in building a sustainable ocean economy with special recognition of developing countries’ needs,” said H.E. Ms. María del Carmen Squeff, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations and High-level Committee for South-South Cooperation President underscoring the importance of creativity in building a sustainable ocean economy.
The event also explored the value of exclusive economic zones (EEZs), which could lead to strengthened regional integration efforts through South-South and triangular cooperation. In recognition of this, H.E. Mr. Ravindra Raguttahalli, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations reassured participants that India is conscious of SIDs and is committed to providing the needed support to achieve their objectives through South-South cooperation.
The panelists further identified several good practices in this area, that SIDS in different regions could learn from. They also mentioned the role that the countries and entities they represented have played in fostering good practices in South-South cooperation.
The side event also engaged representatives from UN entities such as UNDP, IMO, and FAO on the importance of investing in ocean-based industries, and explored the role and added value of South-South cooperation, especially for SIDS.
In line with the key focus areas of the United Nations system-wide strategy on South-South and triangular cooperation and its Action Plan, the UN Development System’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation Offer for Multi-Country Offices is expected to be operationalized through coordinated efforts of the UNSDG entities at the global, regional, and country-level. The side-event proposed concrete next steps to implement the UNDS South-South and triangular cooperation offers for MCOs in terms of advancing the Blue Economy agenda in SIDS.
Finally, the Samoa Pathway that will conclude in 2024 called for the enhancement of cooperation at the global, regional, sub-regional, national, and local levels to strengthen mechanisms for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and exchange of best practices within marine scientific research, including through South-South and triangular cooperation and to support developing countries in addressing their constraints in getting access to technology, including through strengthening science, technology, and innovation infrastructure, domestic innovation capabilities, absorptive capacities, and the capacity of National statistical systems. The side-event was a platform to begin informing and preparing UNOSSC for the upcoming discussions on the new outcome document of the 4th International Conference on SIDS, which will be held in 2024 in Antigua and Barbuda.