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Immersed in Change – Ocean Action Event

Statement by Jón Erlingur Jónasson, Designated Special Envoy for the Ocean
Iceland Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Immersed in Change – Ocean Action Event, held in Costa Rica 7-8 June
7 June 2024


Iceland is grateful for the warm welcome here in the magnificent Costa Rica, which stands as an inspiration for its respect for the environment, nature, peace, and equality.

We fully support Costa Rica and France as co-hosts of the Third UN Ocean conference, and we see the Immersed in Change conference as a crucial milestone on the path to Nice.

Iceland regards the UN Ocean conferences as of paramount importance and the primary forum for ocean-related discussions. We participated at the highest level in Lisbon and are preparing for active high-level participation in Nice.

Excellencies, we have plenty of topics to discuss – and more importantly to take action on. First to mention is ocean science, as highlighted in the „State of the Ocean Report 2024“ by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, which was officially released in Reykjavík, Iceland, this Monday: “The Ocean is now warming at an unprecedented pace and in general the science is not keeping up with the pace of the ocean crisis”. 

Among the other challenges we face is overexploitation and IUU fishing. This must be fully recognized. Iceland suggests that the Conference in Nice puts emphasis on sustainable fisheries management, and that the narrative must be that this is possible. There is hope. There are best practices, sound and science-based fisheries management practices, that protect the environment and at the same time support economic development. 

Another important area of emphasis in Nice should be Aquatic Blue Food, or the promotion of sustainable food production from the Ocean to address food security and nutrition. Iceland leads the Aquatic Blue Food Coalition that emerged from the UN Food Systems Summit and works to promote the potential of food from the ocean, which importantly has a low carbon footprint.

The third area of emphasis we would like to highlight is the Constitution of the Ocean, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is the comprehensive legal framework governing the way in which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. The attainment of international goals and targets, including those set out in the Paris Agreement and Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, will only be actualized through implementation of the provisions of UNCLOS and its implementing agreements, most recently, the BBNJ Agreement.

I thank you.



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