Statement by Mr. Richard Tur, Second Secretary at the Cuban Permanent Mission to the UN on behalf of the Group G77 and China, in the Opening Ceremony of the 2023 East Asia Marine Cooperation Platform Qingdao Forum

Sr. Geng Tao, Member of Standing Committee of CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee, Vice Mayor of Qingdao,

Distinguished participants and guests,

First of all, allow me to express, on behalf of the Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations, Pedro Luis Pedroso, Chair of the G77 and China, our appreciation for the invitation to participate in this forum. I wish to emphasize the relevance of this pivotal thematic event under the framework of the East Asia Marine Cooperation Platform and its importance for developing countries.

We also extend our appreciation to the heads of UN agencies and marine-related international organizations, senior marine officials, well-known economists, entrepreneurs and scientists from across the world gathered at this emblematic Forum.

We pledge our full support to the discussions ahead, under the theme: “Harmonious Coexistence in the Ocean Decade”, and especially the focus on one of the seven outcomes of the UN Ocean Decade: “A healthy and resilient ocean”. This framework will make it possible to share ideas and visions for future cooperation, aimed at ensuring that marine science benefits all, in line with the principles of equity, inclusiveness, respect, fairness and scientific integrity.

Distinguished colleagues:

We attend this meeting with the enormous responsibility and honor that Cuba has in chairing the G77 and China this 2023, the most representative group of developing countries which gathers the two-thirds of the United Nations membership and the 80% of the world population.

This Group played a key role in achieving the very progressive Treaty on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), adopted last June 19 in the framework of the United Nations.

This BBNJ final agreement is, with no doubts, a reflection of the decisive impact that developing countries, united in the Group of 77 and China under the Cuban Chairmanship, had during these negotiations. The agreement provides a meaningful model of sharing of benefits from marine genetic resources and includes outstanding provisions to assist developing States Parties, including through capacity-building, access and transfer of marine technology. This process itself demonstrated that when the Global South manages to remain united, its legitimate interests and demands are heard and duly considered.

The real dimension of this outcome takes on greater significance when assessing the role that ocean resources play for developing countries and the obstacles they often face in undertaking activities in these areas, including scientific research.

The oceans, home to 80% of all life and 80% of world trade, provide food, jobs and income for almost 3 billion people, most of whom live in developing countries. As its resources become critical assets in addressing food security and poverty eradication and constitute the center stage for a vast range of economic activities, it is crucial to enable developing countries to turn new and emerging ocean-based sectors into catalysts for long-term and inclusive sustainable development.

Oceans play an important role in sustainable development as embodied in Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDG 14. Yet, their benefits are not available to all on an equal basis, and currently they remain under severe threat by human activities, where economic profit are at the expense of environmental degradation.

In this context, there is a need to urgently mobilize the means of implementation, such as financing, transfer of marine technology and capacity building, as well as to enhance scientific knowledge and research, in order to improve ocean health and to foster the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of the Global South. It is crucial to fully understand and better manage the multiple aspects of oceanic sustainability, ranging from sustainable fisheries, ecosystem health and prevention of marine pollution.

Dear colleagues:

We are convinced that this seventh edition of the Qingdao Forum will be a fruitful space in order to deepen the effectiveness of international cooperation in the marine field towards a healthy and resilient ocean, share benefits and promote the construction of partnerships and alliances.

On behalf of the Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations, Pedro Luis Pedroso, Chair of the G77 and China, I would like to reiterate our support and commitment to this relevant forum and its definite contribution in the creation of a leading international platform for exchange and cooperation from the developing world. You can always count on the Global South, gathered in the G77 and China, in this necessary and imperative endeavor.

Thank you