Sounding Alarm about ‘Ocean Emergency’, Secretary-General Outlines Crucial Actions to Protect World’s Seas, Ensure Healthy Planet, as Lisbon Conference Begins
Upset by Underfunding of Sustainable Development Goal 14, Speakers Call for Multilateral Cooperation to Conserve, Responsibly Use Marine Resources
LISBON, 27 June — The ocean must become a model on how to manage the global commons, world leaders heard today as they converged in Lisbon, where the Tagus River and the Atlantic meet, to take stock of multilateral efforts and looming challenges in the protection of the seas of the world.
“We cannot have a healthy planet without a healthy ocean,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres underscored at the start of the 2022 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources for Sustainable Development. The second worldwide ocean conference brings together representatives of Government as well as civil society in a range of conversations, from a high-level plenary to multi-stakeholder dialogues, over the course of five days.
Spotlighting the role of science and innovation in a new chapter of global ocean action, Mr. Guterres called on all stakeholders to invest in sustainable ocean economies for food, renewable energy and livelihoods. Sounding caution about the “ocean emergency”, he pointed to record-high ocean temperatures, frequent storms, rising sea levels and degraded coastal ecosystems. While many low-lying island nations and major coastal cities face inundation, he pointed out, one mass of plastic in the Pacific is bigger than France.
Highlighting multilateral progress in responding to these crises, he pointed to the new treaty being negotiated to address the global plastics crisis, the recently concluded World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on ending harmful fishery subsidies and the gathering momentum on a legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. “But let’s have no illusions,” he cautioned, pointing out that Sustainable Development Goal 14 receives the least funding of any of the Goals.
Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, one of the two co-hosts of the Conference, expressed concern that this goal is the most under-funded even though the oceans are central to human existence. Oceans cover 70 per cent of the global surface, are home to about 80 per cent of life in the world and facilitate the trade of 90 per cent of global goods, he pointed out, calling on the international community to “shift gear from proposals to action”.
Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo De Sousa, President of Portugal, the other conference co-host, reminded delegates that “politicians go, but the oceans stay… for millions of years.” Rejecting unilateralism, war and confrontation, he stressed the importance of saving the world’s oceans through multilateralism and global cooperation.
Echoing that sentiment, Abdulla Shahid (Maldives), President of the General Assembly, called on delegates to leave the Conference with “one hand up to reach for success”, and “the other hand down to pull others along with us”. The ocean is in his blood, he said, noting that all humanity relies upon the ocean “for half of the oxygen we intake”. Sounding hopeful about a future where circular economies thrive and sustainable ocean tourism drives economies without doing harm, he stressed the need to lean into human ingenuity.
Collen Vixen Kelapile, President of the Economic and Social Council, called for science-based solutions as he urged the international community to seize the current moment to decisively address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, who also serves as the Secretary-General of the Oceans Conference, highlighted the focus on science and innovation in the action-oriented outcome document that will be adopted at the closing of the Conference.
At the beginning of the meeting, Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon, also addressed delegates, pointing to the crucial role played by the city in maritime history. As he emphasized the role of cities in translating global commitments to local action, he stressed that the Lisbon Conference must become a watershed moment for the protection of the oceans.
In the ensuing discussion, delegate after delegate shared ambitious policies and actions from their countries but also stressed the need for collaborative solutions, as they pointed to the gargantuan challenges facing their corner of the Atlantic, the Arctic or Pacific Oceans.
Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, who spoke for the Pacific Islands Forum, declared “we cannot leave Lisbon” without increasing pledges for funding. He drew attention to the impact of nuclear testing on the Pacific islands and called for an end to dumping nuclear waste into the ocean. While Fiji adopted a measure to ban deep-sea mining by 2030 and has expanded its maritime protected areas by 8 per cent, solo efforts are insufficient, he said, urging other countries to follow its lead.
Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, said people in her country can see the effects of climate change first-hand in the receding glaciers. Temperatures are rising much faster than global average in the Artic, she said, stressing the need to protect marine ecosystems, ensure sustainable use of marine resources and empower coastal communities and indigenous peoples. In particular, she underscored the potential of small-scale fishing and agriculture, which can directly improve the health and well-being of local communities.
There will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, Surangel Whipps, President of Palau, speaking for the Pacific Small Island Developing States, warned, also pointing to how ocean acidification is destroying entire reef systems. His country has invested in high-value ecotourism and is designing a conservation framework for valuable fish stocks, he said, adding that his decisions are rooted in a father’s hope to pass a productive ocean to his daughter.
President Iván Duque Márquez of Colombia, the only country in South America that has coastlines along two oceans, expressed his determination to fulfil Goal 14 through bold but achievable action. Spotlighting a unanimously approved climate action law that will increase protected areas to 30 per cent, he noted that this makes Colombia the first country in the West to commit to this percentage. This goal will soon become a reality, covering 16 million hectares of marine area, he said, noting that this is a historical achievement.
João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, President of Angola, speaking on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, drew attention to the Namibe Declaration, which established a cooperation platform for the Community to promote sustainable fishing and combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Another partnership he highlighted was with the European Union’s “Africa RISE” programme which addresses worsening marine pollution, of which plastic is the biggest problem. He also called for strengthening maritime defence against pirates, highlighting problems in the Gulf of Guinea and Horn of Africa.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea, also pointed to the interlinkage between ocean protection and maritime security. Highlighting the transnational crime of piracy, he said that prosperous blue economies require harmonization of international legislation on piracy and collaboration on protocols for maritime security.
Also speaking were the Heads of State and Government of Libya, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, the United Republic of Tanzania and Portugal.
The Ocean Conference will reconvene in plenary at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 28 June, to continue its general debate.
MARCELO NUNO DUARTE REBELO DE SOUSA, President of Portugal, welcoming participants to the 2022 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources for Sustainable Development, described his country as one that always builds bridges between cultures and countries. Noting that Portugal and Kenya are the Conference co-hosts, he said they represent one bridgebuilder from the North and another from the South. The Conference is taking place in Lisbon, after two years of forced postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic and amid recent events, such as war and economic crisis, he explained. Citing meetings of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries and the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), he said: “politicians go, but the oceans stay… for millions of years” and stressed the importance of saving the world’s oceans.
He said the Conference is taking place in the right place, at the right time and with the right approach. The week-long event is being held in Lisbon, and — as its mayor said — now is the time to recover the time lost and take action before it is too late. Rejecting unilateralism, war and confrontation, he stressed the importance of tackling global challenges and saving the world’s oceans through dialogue, tolerance, multilateralism and global cooperation. The pandemic cannot be an excuse to forget other problems, he warned. Hailing the approach for preparing the Conference outcome document, he underscored the importance of having faith in a more cooperative world.
UHURU KENYATTA, President of Kenya, noting that the first United Nations Ocean Conference in 2017 raised the alarm on the urgent need to scale-up action on Goal 14 (life below water), said that this Conference should “shift gear from proposals to action”, driven by science, technology and innovation. He expressed concern, however, that this goal is the most underfunded of all the Sustainable Development Goals despite the ocean being central to human existence. Oceans cover 70 per cent of the global surface, are home to about 80 per cent of life in the world and facilitate the trade of 90 per cent of global goods. Nevertheless, human action has put ocean systems under immense stress, as more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into them each year, contaminating at least 700 species of marine life. Further, the stability of fish populations is threatened by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Against that backdrop, he stressed that — although poor ocean management has reduced its natural ability to restore itself — more sustainable stewardship would yield six times more food and 40 times more energy, lift millions out of poverty and increase environmental and economic resilience. “In the ocean, therefore, lies great risk and great opportunity,” he said, adding that “the burden of choice lies with each and every one of us”. He went on to note that two thirds of global waters are in areas beyond national jurisdiction, underscoring that success in managing global aquatic resources requires everyone to work together.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, noting his special affinity for the oceans, which he shares with his fellow Portuguese nationals, cited the poet Fernando Pessoa, who wrote: “God wanted the land to be one. What the sea unites, no longer tear asunder.” Describing the many aspects of the “ocean emergency” that the international community is confronting, he noted that while global heating is pushing ocean temperatures to record levels, creating fiercer and more frequent storms, sea levels are rising and low-lying island nations and major coastal cities face inundation. Coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, seagrasses and wetlands, are being degraded, while pollution from land is creating vast coastal dead zones. Noting that plastic waste is now found in the most remote areas and deepest ocean trenches, he cautioned that without drastic action, it could outweigh all the fish in the oceans by 2050. One mass of plastic in the Pacific is bigger than France, he pointed out.
“We cannot have a healthy planet without a healthy ocean,” he stressed, pointing to the ripple effects of the international community’s failure to care for the oceans, which are the main source of sustenance for more than a billion people. Recalling the last Ocean Conference five years ago and its call for action to reverse the decline in ocean health, he pointed to the community efforts and international partnerships that have been working to create marine protected areas for the recovery of fisheries and biodiversity. Also noting significant progress on a legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, he highlighted the new treaty being negotiated to address the global plastics crisis as well as the recently concluded World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on ending harmful fishery subsidies.
“But let’s have no illusions,” he cautioned, going to make several recommendations, beginning with an urgent call to all stakeholders to invest in sustainable ocean economies for food, renewable energy and livelihoods. Pointing out that Sustainable Development Goal 14 receives the least funding of any of the Goals, he stressed that sustainable business models are vital for ocean economies to operate in harmony with the marine environment. The ocean must become a model on how to manage the global commons, he said, underscoring the need to scale up effective area-based conservation measures and integrated coastal zone management.
Calling on the international community to protect the oceans and the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on them, he stressed the vital need for climate resilient coastal infrastructure and asked the shipping sector to commit to net zero emissions by 2050. “We need more science and innovation to propel us into a new chapter of global ocean action,” he emphasized, encouraging the private sector to join ocean research and management partnerships and urging Governments to raise their level of ambition. Stressing that each voluntary commitment matters, he cited a Swahili proverb, “Bahari itatufikisha popote”, which translates as “the ocean leads us anywhere”. The ocean can help open new horizons and lead the international community to a more just, sustainable future, he underscored.
ABDULLA SHAHID (Maldives), President of the General Assembly, emphasizing that “the ocean is in my blood”, said that — beyond those “who look to the blue horizon each day” — all of humanity relies upon the ocean “for half of the oxygen we intake”. However, the ocean faces a myriad of threats — such as climate change, plastic pollution, over-fishing and acidification — and the impetus to act is clear and resounding. Against that backdrop, he pointed out that recent efforts, such as the landmark agreement on ending plastic pollution and the new WTO deal on fishery subsidies, give cause for hope and that “there is optimism” regarding an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Stressing the need to lean into human ingenuity, he stressed that there is a future where sustainable ocean tourism drives economies and yet does no harm; where renewable energies reduce carbon emissions and protect vital ecosystems; and where circular economies thrive and production and consumption does not degrade the world. He called on those present to leave the Conference with “one hand up to reach for success, pulling ourselves up and improving in every action we take” and “the other hand down to pull others along with us”.
COLLEN VIXEN KELAPILE, President of the Economic and Social Council, highlighted the organ’s role in monitoring and reviewing implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and promoting its social, economic and environmental dimensions. The Council is home to all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, he said, adding that the Ocean Conference is an opportunity to take stock of Goal 14 on life below water. “This is a critical moment to decisively address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” he said, stressing that a healthy ocean is fundamental to human life, as well as the survival of all other species. While 3 billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihood, human activities are undermining marine productivity.
The pandemic has worsened marine pollution, as single-use medical plastic waste increased, he observed. The Conference is an opportunity to reflect on ways for countries to join hands in sustainably managing the world’s oceans and charting a new path for the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean. New partnerships are also needed to promote science-based solutions. Noting that the high-level political forum, to be held in July under the Council’s auspices, will review Goal 14 among others, he said the Ocean Conference will provide important inputs to the political forum. Citing the existing funding gaps to assist ocean action, he stressed the usefulness of the Political Forum’s voluntary national review, with 44 countries pledging to reducing marine litter. The Council, he stressed, remains a valuable and inclusive forum for a more sustainable future.
LIU ZHENMIN, Secretary-General of the Conference and Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, called on the international community to accelerate action, learn from each other and promote science-based solutions for sustainable ocean management and implementation of Goal 14. Congratulating delegations for their work in reaching agreement on a concise and action-oriented outcome document that will be adopted at the closing of the Conference, he highlighted that text’s focus on science and innovation. Also pointing out that it stresses the nexus between oceans, climate and biodiversity, he drew attention to its call for increasing the participation of women and girls in achieving Goal 14.
Noting the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative impact on ocean action, he said that the path to recovery provides opportunities as well. Calling on the international community to put in place measures needed to build more equitable blue economies, he urged delegations to make pledges and commitments to stem the declining health of the oceans. In particular, he emphasized the need to support marine scientific research, which can help the international community better understand how the oceans support human life. Noting that the Conference will include nine plenary meetings featuring Heads of States and Governments as well as eight interactive dialogues that are designed to be multi-stakeholder events, he expressed the hope that the Conference will leave everyone inspired to take action for the protection of the oceans.
JOÃO MANUEL GONÇALVES LOURENÇO, President of Angola, speaking on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, said his country’s Government has included in its national development plan, the legal framework for activities taking place at sea to boost the blue economy. Angola maintains a relationship with the Atlantic Ocean and seeks solutions in ways that serve the interests of all neighbouring countries. Angola is working to extend the limits of its exclusive economic zone to protect resources near its coast that have been depleted by unlicensed foreign fishing fleets. It also has taken significant steps to reduce the flaring of fossil fuels for power production and partnered with the European Union’s “Africa RISE” programme to address worsening marine pollution, of which plastic is the biggest problem. It has prioritized protection of the wetlands, notably through reforestation and mangrove conservation efforts, and the planting of 1 million mangroves along the coast with civil society, mainly young people. He called for strengthening maritime defence against pirates, highlighting problems in the Gulf of Guinea and Horn of Africa, and pointing more broadly to shortages of cereals and fertilizers in Angola caused by the blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea port. He drew attention to the Namibe Declaration, an important legal document among Community members establishing a cooperation platform to promote sustainable fishing and combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
SURANGEL WHIPPS, President of Palau, speaking for the Pacific Small Island Developing States, expressed concern over plastic pollution, citing predictions that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, and supported an international legally binding instrument on this issue. He also stressed that maritime zones — and the rights and entitlements that flow from them — must be preserved regardless of rising sea levels to bring equity, stability and climate justice. He went on to point out that — of all the Sustainable Development Goals — Goal 14 (life below water) is by far the least-funded, calling for the attraction and retention of sustainable, responsible investment in this area. Further, credit support for tourism businesses and workers are tools that could help small island developing States recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ocean acidification is destroying entire reef systems, he added, supporting a binding international instrument governing the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Speaking in his national capacity, he said that his decisions are rooted in a father’s hope to pass a productive ocean to his daughter, detailing national initiatives such as a comprehensive blue prosperity plan, sustainable fishery development and high-value ecotourism. Further, Palau works to identify the spawning grounds and migratory routes of valuable fish stocks to design a conservation framework that optimizes benefits for food security and local livelihoods. While Palau has taken bold steps to protect the ocean, it cannot act alone. All of humanity — including the 23 million people in Taiwan — must be part of the solution. Recalling a Palauan legend about a fisherman who jumped in the water after a large turtle and lost both the turtle and his canoe due to indecision over which to pursue, he stressed that “we can no longer afford to be indecisive”. All nations must work towards a 100 per cent sustainably managed ocean, he urged.
IVÁN DUQUE MÁRQUEZ, President of Colombia, said his country is the only one in South America that has coastlines along two oceans, and is the second largest in terms of biodiversity. Expressing his determination to fulfill Goal 14, he said Colombia is taking bold but achievable action. In Glasgow, for example, the Government announced the country will reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. Meanwhile, Congress unanimously approved a climate action law to increase protected areas to 30 per cent, making it the first country in the West to commit to this percentage. This goal will soon become a reality, covering 16 million hectares of marine area — more than doubling the current area — of which 9 million hectares will constitute a “no take” area. This is a historical moment. Colombia is also protecting coral reefs — natural barriers to hurricane winds and home to marine life — and has partnered with Ecuador to expand protected areas and worked with Panama to increase reserves, thanks to the mobilization of philanthropic funding. Warning that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is damaging the ocean in ways that parallel the deforestation of land, he called for an end to such practices.
MOHAMED YOUNIS A. MENFI, President of the Presidential Council of Libya, said the global ecosystem was not threatened until humans adopted an economic model based on mass production and fossil fuels after the Industrial Revolution. Pointing to relevant conventions and international agreements, he expressed regret about the delay in implementation. The gaps witnessed recently in fulfilling these commitments have jeopardized progress enormously, he emphasized. Libya has the longest coast along the Mediterranean Sea, he said, adding that it hosts 90 per cent of the country’s population. Also pointing to Libya’s heavy reliance on the marine economy, he said sea level rise poses a big threat to livelihoods. Underscoring the connection between ecosystem damage and the security situation in Libya, he said those involved must take action to prevent these conditions from occurring, stressing the need to tackle corruption and preserve the planet.
ÚMARO SISSOCO EMBALÓ, President of Guinea-Bissau, said that oceans constitute the planet’s most important ecosystem and emphasized that sustainable development requires recognition of the ocean’s crucial role. Thus, the motto “save the oceans, protect the future” is an important and fitting one. Noting that Guinea-Bissau is poised to benefit from the ocean economy, thanks to its geography, he said, however, the country “is not an ecological oasis” and shares the same challenges faced by other similarly situated countries, such as increased coastal erosion. Underscoring the need to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change, he detailed national efforts to build an economy that will be river- and ocean-friendly. He went on to stress the importance of fostering environmental awareness among young people — to whom the future belongs — also pointing out that Guinea-Bissau has benefited from bilateral partnerships with the United Nations, European Union and several friendly countries.
NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, President of Ghana, said his coastal West African country faces the Atlantic, on which approximately 2 million people depend for their livelihood. Noting that the ocean is the source of food and nutrition for people and it produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide, he said the assets of nature are under serious threat due to biodiversity loss, overfishing and marine resource exploitation. Ghana uses this Ocean Conference to reaffirm its commitment to ocean action, he said, also drawing attention to its commitment to the resolution adopted in March by the United Nations Environment Assembly titled “End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument”, which established the negotiating committee for a binding plastic ban treaty. Ghana has also adopted and implemented a national action to regulate illegal fishing, he said, calling on countries to ratify the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 of the Implementation of the Provisions of the 1993 Protocol relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels.
TEODORO OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO, President of Equatorial Guinea, noting that the Conference comes at a critical time as the world is accelerating action towards the Sustainable Development Goals, while also confronting a series of crises, noted that the ocean has absorbed between 20 and 30 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activity. His country has a maritime zone that is 10 times its land surface, he noted, pointing to its climate vulnerability as well as the challenge of illegal fishing. Drawing attention to the problem of transnational crime, which takes the form of armed robbery and piracy, he said it impacts trade and other development activities in Equatorial Guinea. Highlighting his Government’s actions, he said it had carried out systematic studies to ensure protected marine zones and has established facilities for waste treatment. Underscoring that ocean protection is essential for bringing about prosperous blue economies, he called for increased international collaboration and harmonization of legislation on piracy and protocols for maritime security.
PHILIP MPANGO, Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania, noting his country’s rich biodiversity and blue-economy potential, said that exploitation of the ocean sector is compromised by marine pollution, loss of aquatic habitat, the impacts of climate change and beach erosion. Stressing his country’s commitment to conserving and using marine resources sustainably, he detailed national policies towards this end, including a total ban on single-use plastic bags, measures to control blast fishing by almost 99 per cent and efforts to strengthen surveillance and monitoring of deep sea fishing activities. While he welcomed all regional and global efforts to address the challenges jeopardizing the health of oceans and seas, he urged that “more needs to be done”. To this end, he called for investment in innovative technologies to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; the involvement of local communities in preventing marine pollution; and all-inclusive marine spatial planning. He added an invitation to those with appropriate technology, expertise and finances to partner with the United Republic of Tanzania to develop sustainable means to address the challenges.
JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA, Prime Minister and Minister for iTaukei Affairs, Sugar Industry, Foreign Affairs and Forestry of Fiji, speaking for the Pacific Islands Forum, said even though his country’s land is lost, its rights to the ocean will not be. Fiji is closely following negotiations on biodiversity loss, on regulating the high seas and on a global treaty on plastic. Calling for an end to dumping nuclear waste into the ocean, he stressed that the Pacific islands still suffer from the nuclear tests conducted in the region. Describing ocean action as “the least funded”, he said “we cannot leave Lisbon” without increasing pledges for funding. For its part, Fiji adopted a measure to ban deep-sea mining by 2030 and has expanded its maritime protected areas by 8 per cent. Further, it has banned single-use plastic bags and will recycle all PET bottles, while environmental conservation is incorporated in the education system with the aim of becoming a net zero society by 2050. Stressing that its solo efforts are insufficient, he called on other countries to follow its lead.
ANTÓNIO COSTA, Prime Minister of Portugal, highlighting the oceans as the common heritage of all humankind, stressed the importance of science-based solutions and urgent financial investments. Undertaking several commitments on behalf of his country, he said it will contribute actively to the international scientific cooperation network on space, oceans and climate energy. Portugal has increased its national preserves in the North Atlantic and will ensure that national fishing is sustainable, with low environmental impact, he promised, also highlighting the country’s decarbonization strategy. The blue economy is an essential component of Portugal’s development strategy, he said, adding that the country will operationalize a “Blue Hub” to double the number of relevant start-ups and Government-funded projects. 2030 is approaching, he said, adding that several targets under Sustainable Development Goal 14 should have been achieved by now. Calling on countries to adopt specific agendas towards this, he said: “We need to get back to earth.”
KATRÍN JAKOBSDÓTTIR, Prime Minister of Iceland, said people in her country can see the effects of climate change first-hand in the form of receding glaciers. As in other Artic regions, temperatures are rising much faster than global averages, which leads to increased acidification. She stressed the need to protect marine ecosystems, ensure the sustainable use of marine resources and empower coastal communities and indigenous peoples towards these ends. Noting that the international community “still has a long way to go” to reach Sustainable Development Goal 14, she called for negotiations to be finalized on an international legally binding agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and announced that Iceland will join the high ambition coalition on this issue. Turning to Iceland’s experience in fishery management, she spotlighted the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme in Reykjavik, which has proven an effective tool for capacity-building in this area. She went on to underscore the potential of small-scale fishing and agriculture, which can directly improve the health and well-being of local communities.