On 4 May 2023, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the United Nations Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries (UNTBLDC) co-organized a joint side event on the margins of the eighth annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to underscore the role of marine science to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and support broader dissemination of technology and innovation, especially to the most vulnerable countries.
The side event, entitled “Leveraging the power of ocean science, technology and innovation to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” addressed topics ranging from the importance of ocean science and technology in achieving the 2030 Agenda (SDG 7), the need for international and regional partnerships in ocean science and technology (SDG 17) and women ‘s empowerment and leadership in ocean science and technology (SDG 5).
In his statement, Ambassador Amrit Bahadur Rai, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations, highlighted the importance attached by Nepal to the principles and provisions set out in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and associated implementing agreements, including BBNJ, which have endeavored to address the special needs and interests of least developed countries (LDCs) and landlocked developing countries.
“Being a landlocked least developed country, Nepal remains deprived of the benefits of the ocean economy and isolated from the global market due to lack of direct territorial access to a sea or ocean for transportation through a maritime trade route. We must bear the burden of exorbitant transit costs due to our remoteness from the sea. (…) We deeply appreciate the critical role that ISA and the UNTBLDC can play to assist LDCs in utilizing ocean science and technologies towards achieving the 2030 Agenda,” Ambassador Rai said.
“We applaud both organizations for the recent launch of the joint project ‘Building and developing the capacities of [LDCs] in deep-seabed-related science, technology and innovation in support of sustainable development of blue emerging economies’ and for choosing Nepal as one of the beneficiary countries,” he added.
H.E. Mr. Hussein A. Kattanga, Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations, stressed the critical importance of the initiative for his country, as it has embarked on a process to establish policy, legal and institutional frameworks on emerging blue economies.
“Investing in science and technology, allowing for the protection and sustainable use of the ocean, is an opportunity to deliver the SDGs. Building relevant marine scientific and technical capacities today, including investing in women ‘s participation and empowerment in marine science, will enable developing countries, particularly LDCs, including Tanzania and small island developing states, to participate sustainably in different traditional and emerging ocean-based economies,” Mr. Kattanga said.
Welcoming participants, Mr. Jose Dallo Moros, Director of the Office of Environmental Management and Mineral Resources at ISA, recalled the critical mandate assigned to ISA by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Agreement in ensuring that developing States are not left behind and are provided with the necessary tools to participate in activities in the Area.
“Collaboration between ISA and the UNTBLDCs will leverage synergies and partnerships to strengthen the deep-sea scientific and technical capacity of LDCs and facilitate the transfer of technology to these most vulnerable countries,” Mr. Dallo said.
In his responding address, Dr. Taffere Tesfachew, Acting Managing Director of the UNTBLDCs, emphasized that at least 3 to 5 per cent of the global GDP currently comes from the oceans and adds a value of over USD1.5 trillion to the global economy.
“In Africa, where 33 out of 54 nations are LDCs, more than 90 per cent of their exports and imports depend on marine trade and other ocean-related activities, particularly fishing. Investment in the blue economy, especially strengthening the marine scientific and technological capacities, is critical and will play a key role in spreading the benefits from ocean resources, especially for countries that are left behind, such as LDCs,” Mr. Tesfachew said.
“The UNTBLDC is thrilled to partner with ISA in a project that will facilitate the participation of LDCs in marine scientific research and their access to the latest technologies and innovation.”
The discussions of the joint side event will contribute to shaping activities under the strategic partnership between ISA and the UNTBLDC launched in March this year to address the specific capacity-building needs of LDCs in support of the sustainable development of their blue economies.
They also contribute to the priorities identified in the ISA Strategic Plan, the High-Level Action Plan 2019-2023, the Capacity Development Strategy and the Action Plan to Support the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
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