International Maritime Law Institute, Msida – Tuesday, 29th May 2018

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the world’s population grows, more of our food, energy, remedies, minerals, and transport will have to come from, or depend on, the oceans.

This will demand more sustainable economic growth around ocean industries to create jobs, income, as well as economic and social development.

It is a known fact that technological advancements are increasing the burden on our oceans from human activity at sea.

This is further compounded by the effects of climate change and ocean acidification.

The findings of the first ‘Global Integrated Marine Assessment’ show that the world’s oceans are facing major pressures simultaneously, with such great impacts that they are reaching their carrying capacity.

Delays in implementing solutions to address the problems that are threatening to degrade our oceans carry greater environmental, social, and economic costs.

We urgently need to take effective measures to maintain or restore the health, productivity, and resilience of our oceans, to ensure the continued availability of the benefits currently derived from them for future generations.

Ocean governance and the sustainability of the resources within, are of vital importance in today’s world. It is why we believe it is necessary to continue to promote an integrated approach to ocean issues.

We also need to ensure that the current international legal framework in relation to the conservation and use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction addresses our concerns.

Sixty-four percent of the world’s oceans lie beyond national jurisdiction, and are home to a significant part of the world’s biodiversity.

We need healthy oceans: from critical ecosystems like deep sea corals that help to sustain life, to plants and animals with medicinal value. We have so many reasons to conserve our marine resources.

The necessity has, therefore, been felt to establish a new international legally-binding instrument to address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

We are now a few months ahead of the Intergovernmental Conference of September, which is due to address this important instrument.

This conference will see all Member States, and States Parties, engaging in further dialogue. We are all working towards one important goal: to develop a Treaty to protect our marine biodiversity.

This is multilateralism in action. The United Nations is uniquely placed to be the forum for negotiating this Treaty.

Reaching a much-needed agreement while addressing the regulatory gaps is a challenging process.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to maintain the momentum for addressing ocean issues with a sense of urgency.

A successful outcome is vitally important for our own future.

I thank you for your kind attention, and wish you well for this workshop.