16 December 2022, Montreal, Canada - The Republic of the Marshall Islands, a Large Ocean State, believes a healthy, productive and resilient ocean biodiversity should be a global priority.
Hon. John Silk, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands addressed the high-level segment of the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity today in Montreal.
He highlighted the unique conditions faced as custodians of the Blue Pacific Ocean, in their effort to conserve biodiversity and manage related activities. This is due to their geographic situation, limited land and vast ocean spaces.
“Ecosystems and, in particular, coral reefs are crucial for the future prosperity and survival of our nation of remote islands. A robust Island Biodiversity Programme of Work and the Marine and Coastal Programme of Work will be key instruments for us,” stated Minister Silk.
“We strongly urge other countries to ensure that our biodiversity agreement upholds the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including taking into account their free, prior and informed consent on new measures that will affect their communities, as laid out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “
The Marshall Islands is a member of the Micronesia Challenge, along with the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the target of which is to effectively manage at least 50 per cent of nearshore marine resources, and 30 per cent of terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2030.
Recognition of the special circumstances of Small Islands Developing States in the Global Biodiversity Framework will assist the Marshall Islands to help meet the Micronesia Challenge targets.
“It is of critical importance to the Marshall Islands to have an effective and coherent Global Biodiversity Framework that reflects our needs and contributes to conserving our unique biodiversity. We support ensuring that spatial planning is applied to all areas so as to bring biodiversity loss as close to zero as possible,” stated Minister Silk.
“It is critical that the provision of means of implementation, including financing, capacity building, and technology takes into account the special circumstances and conditions of small island developing states.”
Now in the process of finalising their National Adaptation Plan, the Marshall Islands recognise the important role of nature in meeting their climate change priorities. In this, the Marshall Islands calls for particular language to be a part of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, an outcome of the CBD COP15 they look forward to working with other Parties to finalise and adopt in the coming days.
“It is therefore imperative that Nature based Solution is also reflexed in the Global Biodiversity Framework.”
Hon. John Silk, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands delivered his statement during day two of the High-Level Segment of the CBD COP15 on Friday, 16 December 2022.
The Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) is held in Montreal, Canada from 7 – 19 December 2022. Chaired by the Government of China, the CBD COP15 will result in a new Global Biodiversity Framework that will continue the 2020 Biodiversity Targets with the global goal of halting biodiversity loss.
Fourteen Pacific Islands countries are Party to the CBD. They are contributing to a unified One Pacific Voice on collective issues at COP15. The countries present in Montreal are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), support to Pacific island countries has been implemented with technical input through the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT), and includes a One Pacific approach involving support from the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, and the Pacific Community at COP15 with financial assistance from the Government of Australia and the ACP MEA Phase 3 Project funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States for the ACP countries.