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Preparatory meeting for the 2025 UN Ocean Conference

Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
General Assembly 78th session, 2 July 2024
Preparatory meeting for the 2025 UN Ocean Conference

Co-chairs, Excellencies.

 Iceland wishes to thank the organizers of this meeting, the Secretariat, as well as the co-hosts of the Third UN Ocean conference – Costa Rica and France. We are also delighted to see, and hear from, so many stakeholders in the room. This is of key importance.

Only a couple of weeks ago Iceland participated at the well-attended Immersed in Change conference in Costa Rica, which was an excellent event and a source of inspiration on the road to Nice.

Iceland regards the UN Ocean Conference as the most important international conference on ocean affairs. It is therefore crucial to make sure that the most important topics and pressing issues are covered at the conference.

 Iceland participated very actively in Lisbon, including at the highest level of government. As to the Nice conference, we have remained active throughout the preparation process under firm instructions from Reykjavík to that end. We made a proposal on themes of the Ocean Action Panels, as requested by the organizers earlier on.

In our proposal we emphasized three main elements as topics for panels: Blue food, sustainable fisheries management and UNCLOS, the Constitution of the Ocean.

Looking at the carefully crafted proposal on themes for the ten Ocean Action Panels which is now being discussed, our reaction is as follows and, really one of firm support:

Namely, Iceland is pleased to accept the proposal on the themes of the panels. We see the ten proposed panels as a balanced package deal and we celebrate the attention to themes of scientific research, the blue economy, the ocean-climate-biodiversity nexus, tackling marine pollution, cooperation especially at the regional level and, last but not least, mobilizing finance for the most underfunded SDG.

Co-chairs, please allow me to highlight two points of substance, which are not explicitly listed in the headlines of the proposed panels, but which Iceland expects and assumes will be mainstreamed into the panels:

Firstly, the importance of gender equality for the success on SDG14 cannot be underestimated. Women already significantly contribute to fisheries and other types of ocean-related work. They need recognition of their contribution but also increased opportunities, including access to finance, and we need to tear down gender stereotypes that stand in the way of people of all genders contributing to the Ocean. We need all hands on deck.

The other point we hope will be addressed, despite not being explicitly mentioned in the headlines of panel themes, is combatting harmful fisheries subsidies, mindful of the ongoing work in Geneva on that front.

I thank you.


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