New Zealand congratulates you both on your appointment as co-chairs of this Ad Hoc Working Group, thanks both the Group of Experts and the Secretariat for bringing this Process to where it is today, and the two Coordinators of the Group of Experts – Alan Simcock and Lorna Inniss – for their ongoing work.
New Zealand has supported the Regular Process since its inception. We are nearing a very real milestone – production of the first integrated World Ocean Assessment. This will be a significant achievement, which will benefit developed and developing countries alike. Accurate scientific information is crucial for effective policy-making on oceans issues.
This Regular Process had its origins in a recommendation from the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. Its importance was further emphasised in the Rio+20 outcome document: The Future We Want.
Implementation of the commitments we collectively made at Rio+20 continues, including through the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, which is meeting right now, down the corridor. In the context of that Open Working Group, New Zealand and other States have stressed the vital contribution of oceans to global sustainable development. New Zealand supports a stand-alone SDG on oceans.
The World Ocean Assessment, production of which we are here to discuss, will provide decision makers with essential, science-based information on human activities that affect oceans and seas. In this way it will make an important contribution to sustainable development and, when completed, should be considered highly relevant to the discussions on oceans issues in the SDGs.
That Assessment will also prove valuable to the international community by identifying areas where there are gaps in our knowledge or our oceans management, and where extra capacity-building could be most effective. In this way, the regular process will contribute to an ever-improving, and more comprehensive global picture of the state of the world’s oceans. Against that background, it’s important that I re-emphasise New Zealand’s support for this process, and for pragmatic efforts to facilitate outcome we all been working towards.
This is a joint endeavour, which merits our continued support; so I am pleased to announce that, this year, New Zealand will make another contribution to the Regular Process Trust Fund to support participation by experts from developing countries in the production of the World Ocean Assessment.