Statement High Level Symposium One Ocean

Statement by H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Thank you Mr Chair

For the Kingdom of the Netherlands, oceans and seas are crucial; they define who we are.
In Europe, the Netherlands lies for almost half of our territory below sea level. Rising sea levels directly affect our existence. 
In the Caribbean, Aruba, Curacao and St Maarten, autonomous countries in our Kingdom, are confronted with the same problems and challenges as the SIDS (Small Island Development States).
Healthy and sustainable oceans and seas are therefore a crucial element in our agenda here at the UN for peace, justice and development. 
Last year, we hosted in The Hague the Global Ocean Action Summit where we agreed on a joint Blue Growth Action Platform, which we are currently implementing with many other like minded countries.
It was also in The Hague that the fight for a stand alone sustainable development goal culminated with the strong plea to that effect by the PermRep of PNG Robert Aisi.
As I come from The Hague, legal capital of the world, and from the Netherlands, where the promotion of the international legal order is in our Constitution, let me focus on four legal areas where together with other like minded countries we should make progress:
1. UNCLOS clearly obliges states to protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems; let us work for universalisation of UNCLOS and make sure states meet their obligations
2. The Aichi Biodiversity targets clearly state the objective that 10 % of oceans should consist of Marine Protected Areas; let us make that happen.
3. Let us also work together to make those Aichi Biodiversity targets legally binding under international law.
4. And let us work together on developing a legally binding instrument on marine biological diversity now we have concluded the negotations on this issue here at UN (co-chaired by Sri Lanka and the Netherlands).

Finally mr Chair, we need cross-regional cooperation in implementing SDG14 on oceans and seas. I strongly support the words of the PermRep of Fiji Peter Thomson to that effect.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is and will continue to be a partner for that purpose. 

Thank you Mr Chair.