Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Final Meeting of the Prepatory Committee for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States: Working Group on Oceans

STATEMENT BY H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
to the United Nations
NEW YORK, 24 June 2014

Thank you Mr. Chairman for giving me the floor.

The issues at hand during this preparatory conference are of great importance to all four countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in particular also the health of oceans and seas which we are now discussing. The threat coming from rising sea levels is relevant both for the European part of the Kingdom, which is partly six meters below sea-level, as well as for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.

Three constituent members of the Kingdom are located in the Caribbean, Aruba, Curacao and St Maarten and are de facto Small Island Development States. Their total population is approximately 300.000.

Therefore the issues to be discussed at the Samoa conference are of existential importance to our Kingdom. In conformity with our interest in the issues affecting SIDS, there will be a delegation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Samoa conference headed by the Prime-Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman. Minister Eman recently visited New York and addressed both the Permanent representatives of Caricom and of the SIDS.

The health and well-being of oceans and seas are of key importance to the Kingdom. Therefore we organized a Global Oceans Action Summit in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 22 to 25 April. Most countries in the world were represented there. The Summit focused on the threat of rising sea levels, depletion of fish stocks and the effects of the ongoing pollution of seas and oceans. Let me give an example: 17 % of animal protein consumed by the world’s population comes from oceans and seas. Rising sea levels and pollution threaten fragile marine biodiversity. In short, sustainable development of many countries is threatened by the way we treat our oceans and seas.

The Summit concluded very practical suggestions and shared many best practices of addressing these challenges together. These included the dimensions of

- enhanced coastal management

- improved sustainable management of fish stocks

- global action against pollution.

Furthermore, the conference concluded very clearly that we need a stand alone Sustainable Development Goal in the Post-2015 development Agenda on oceans and seas.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands expresses the hope that the recommendations of the Global Oceans Action Summit will clearly be reflected in the outcome document of the Samoa Summit.

As I have said before, the Kingdom of the Netherlands wants to be your partner for peace, justice and development. The health and sustainability of oceans and seas are directly related to all three dimensions. We look forward to being a partner with both other member-states as the UN system, in order to together implement that common agenda.