CRFM Representatives Attend UN Oceans Conference in New York

Image: CARICOM countries will have high-level official representation at the UN Oceans Conference (CARICOM file photo)

NEW YORK CITY, USA; Sunday, June 4, 2017 (CRFM) —The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is participating this week in a high-level United Nations Conference being convened to advance the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for development.

The event, being held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from June 5 to 9, focuses on the theme, “Our oceans, our future: partnering for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.”

Image: CARICOM countries will have high-level official representation at the UN Oceans Conference (CARICOM file photo)
CARICOM countries will have high-level official representation at the UN Oceans Conference (CARICOM file photo)

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, who will be part of the CARICOM delegation to the UN Oceans Conference, said: “This is indeed a very important conference. We attach great significance to it, and will be showcasing our policies and activities aimed at balancing food security and sustainable livelihoods with the need to protect and preserve the oceans and seas and their biodiversity. We will also be seeking to strengthen our relationships with traditional partners and forging new partnerships.”

Conference organizers want the event to serve as a game-changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our oceans for people, planet and prosperity. A key area of focus will be furthering efforts to make fisheries sustainable. The Caribbean helps to meet the global demand for fish, upon which more than 3 billion people rely for animal protein, while 300 million people globally rely on marine fisheries for their livelihoods.

In line with its mission, the CRFM is also supporting a series of side events. The first, led by the African Pacific States (ACP) on June 6 in the UN Conference Building in New York, focused on harnessing the blue economy to increase economic benefits for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Lesser Developed Countries (LCDs), which include member states of the CRFM.

Haughton will help to set the scene by sharing regional perspectives at the ACP side event, which is aimed at providing a forum for a high-level exchange of views on the ongoing blue growth initiatives in ACP countries. The forum will also provide an opportunity for the sharing of best practices and the engagement of partners to secure the blue growth momentum. Ultimately, the aim is to work towards the achievement of SDG 14, Target 7. This envisions that by 2030, there will be an increase in economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.

The CRFM will also present on June 8, being recognized as World Oceans Day, at a forum titled, “Achieving SDG 14: Scaling-up Successful Approaches to Sustainable Fisheries Development and Management in the Caribbean SIDS Region through Cooperation and Partnerships.” At this forum, the CRFM executive director is billed to deliver a presentation on Advancing Sustainable Fisheries, the CARICOM experience.

The fisheries sector creates employment for nearly 400,000 people across the Caribbean.

This side event to the conference, being organized by the Governments of Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Norway, Iceland/United Nations University – Fisheries Training Programme and the CRFM, in partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat and the University of the West Indies, is intended to showcase best-case examples of regional cooperation in addressing SDG target 14.4. This target sets 2020 as the timeline to effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices, and to implement science-based management plans and to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible.

The empowerment of small-scale fishers and partnerships between fishers and governments in promoting food security, livelihood opportunities, resource management and conservation are also to be showcased at the forum.

Organizers of this side event, which will be chaired by Ambassador Janine Felson of Belize, want to use this opportunity to highlight best practices from the Caribbean, while putting the spotlight on critical gaps and needs, and announcing partnerships for advancing key activities in the sector.

In another event to be hosted by the Government of Iceland, the Government of the Faroe Islands and The Nordic Council of Ministers, on the sidelines of the UN Oceans Conference that same day, experts want to focus on ways to build on governance and innovation as a part of initiatives to realize the ‘blue bio-economy’ in small island states. CRFM Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Susan Singh-Renton, is expected to discuss lessons learned and experiences shared in governance and innovation in the Caribbean region.

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