Prime Minister Freundel Stuart addressing the special event as a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainabilty. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have expressed concern about the state of the world’s oceans and marine resources.?? And, this apprehension has been brought to the attention of the United Nations by Barbados’ Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, using his position as a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability.

Mr. Stuart told a special event convened at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development today that, while members of the High-Level Panel serve in their own capacity, it would have been remiss on his part if he did not highlight some of the concerns his group of countries (SIDS) had.

He said that humanity was faced with a crisis of unprecedented proportions if urgent corrective measures were not taken to prevent the further decline and potential collapse of the world’s ocean system. His argument being: "global sustainability cannot be achieved nor climate change addressed effectively without healthy and productive oceans.

The Prime Minister emphasised that it was essential that the new vision for global sustainability encompassed what the Pacific small island developing states have termed "the blue economy" – including the conservation and sustainable management of marine and ocean resources, which would enable developing countries a greater share of the benefits derived from those resources.

When asked what were the next necessary steps after Rio+20 to advance oceans governance and the blue economy, as well as the particular needs of SIDS in that regard, Mr. Stuart referred to the emerging best?? practices in that area that the Caribbean Sea Commission was promoting. These call for an oceans governance framework, aimed at encouraging a cooperative ethos towards the effective management of the Caribbean Sea.

The Prime Minister observed that managing oceans on a regional, integrated, long-term and whole-of-ecosystem scale, "as we attempting to do in the Caribbean, provides all users with a stake in sustainable management of the marine resources." He noted, however, that such national and regional approaches could only succeed if they were supported by enabling actions and measures at the international level.

A report submitted by his group to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has called for the existing and planned oceans related activities and approaches to be supported by solid funding mechanisms to develop and implement them.

Mr. Stuart expressed the hope that this recommendation would be carried forward, noting that the World Bank had unveiled plans to launch a Global Partnership for Oceans as a multi-stakeholder initiative to mobilize resources needed to address the threats to the health, productivity and resilience of the world’s oceans. He said SIDS and other developing countries urgently required support, to build capacity, strengthen institutions and acquire appropriate technologies to develop and implement these new frameworks and approaches.

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