71 UNGA: United Nations Ocean Conference/ Cuba’s remarks in dialogue: "Increasing scientific knowledge, developing research capabilities and transferring marine technology".

We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this important Dialogue.

Since 1999, there are working platforms in Cuba for the conservation of biodiversity, which shows the political will and interest of the State to protect biodiversity for our economic development. However, the necessary resources are not always available in order to identify the existing needs and problems that allow defining the strands of work. This is where the need for greater international cooperation begins.

The most recent example is the National Biodiversity Program developed for the 2016-2020 term, supported by a project sponsored by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Program.

The Program comprises 5 objectives and 20 goals, of which 3 are related to marine ecosystems and 3 to the means of implementation.

Training of human resources and financing and transfer of technologies are especially required to manage marine ecosystems given their higher degree of complexity and the lack of knowledge on terrestrial ecosystems.

This is clearly shown by the work we have done over marine protected areas, currently numbering 104. Of these protected areas, 84 have an area above the sea and represent nearly 25% of the island shelf area. By 2020, we aim at conserving 27% of the marine and coastal areas.

In recent years, we have formed partnerships that have enabled to strengthening the management of coastal-marine protected areas and undertaking scientific research through projects co-funded by the Global Environment Facility and Non-Governmental Organizations such as Nature Canada and COSPE.

Research and monitoring programs are carried out in our marine protected areas in order to address identified issues, fill information gaps, evaluate management effectiveness and propose new actions on the basis of scientific knowledge. This cannot be done without trained researchers.

For this reason, one of the actions covered by the Program is to increase the training of Masters and PhDs, both in the country and abroad, under conditions that are not conducive to brain drain.

Another important goal is achieving the mobilization of financial resources from all sources to effectively implement the National Biodiversity Program.

In this respect, there are external sources accessible to developing countries, especially small island states, including the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Adaptation Fund besides the sources previously mentioned.

However, these funds are still insufficient. To ensure that all those in need are able to avail themselves of these funds, it is imperative that international cooperation be strengthened and that the developed countries honor their international commitments on official development assistance by 2020.

In addition, most multilateral environmental financing mechanisms do not allow the transfer of technologies on preferential terms, adjusted to the needs of the developing countries, and are basically restricted to capacity building. The Technology Facilitation Mechanism established under the 2030 Agenda cannot be only confined to the exchange of knowledge.

In that sense, a good example to follow is the technical cooperation scheme of the International Atomic Energy Agency, through which countries can effectively access advanced technologies in the field of nuclear energy and its peaceful use. We propose that this experience be replicated in the available multilateral financing mechanisms.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Cuba is committed to continue striving hard in the conservation of our marine-coastal ecosystems, which are strategic for the economy, food and protection of human life in the settlements located in our coasts.

Cuba also undertakes, in a responsible manner, the identification of all sources of pollution, classifying, assessing and controlling them systematically from the country´s higher levels of government through national commissions, involving local institutions and communities to allocate the available material and financial resources or identifying those which demand greater priority and raising the impact on the reduction of pollutants flowing to watersheds and eventually to the sea.

We hope that this Conference will contribute to unite efforts and raise awareness in treating the planet and its oceans not as a heritage received from our parents and grandparents, but as a loan from our children and grandchildren to whom we will have to explain, at the time of return, what we had done with them.

Thank you very much.