Small Island Developing States Propose SDG on Oceans and Seas
March 5, 2014  //  By:   //  Blog Post, Featured  //  No Comment

In the normal machinations of international politics, the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are not always visible. With their small populations, low levels of economic development, and relative isolation, it is rare to see a SIDS issue take center stage. However, in the discussions and deliberations surrounding the forthcoming SDGs, the SIDS have been very vocal and have played a highly visible role.

With rising ocean levels due to climate change, the SIDS face an existential crisis. If ocean levels rise by even a foot, some of the SIDS will be wiped off the map, while others will see their economies hampered or destroyed. Moreover, many of these states rely on healthy and vibrant oceanic ecosystems for their economic productivity, and overfishing and oceanic pollution threaten the foundations of their economies. With this in mind, the Pacific SDG Working Group Troika and the Pacific Small Island Developing States Represented at the United Nations and Timor-Leste issued a statement for the UN Open Working Group on SDGs.

The statement, delivered by the President of the Republic of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr., advocates creating an SDG specifically for oceans and seas. He argues that, “international efforts to sustain healthy oceans and seas are failing.” And that, given the success of MDGs, the international community would be better positioned to mobilize support and action for oceans and seas if they have their own SDG.

The proposed SDG would have three targets:

  1. A healthy and well-managed marine environment
  2. Restoration of healthy fish stocks
  3. Less developed countries, African states, and the SIDS should be assisted so that they can realize the benefits of their sustainably developed marine resources.

Importantly, President Remengesau reminds the reader that international actions like the MDGs or the SDGs are not just about addressing vulnerabilities, they are about creating the conditions for development and emancipation from poverty, ill-health, and more.

To read the full statement, click here.

About the Author :

Michael Denney is a PhD student in the Global Governance and Human Security program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is a Research Associate at the Center for Governance and Sustainability.

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