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Sweden and Fiji to host UN conference to save the world’s oceans

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In connection with World Oceans Day on 8 June, Sweden and Fiji will lead a high-level conference at the United Nations. The conference, the biggest UN event Sweden has been involved in arranging since 1972, will take place in New York on 5–9 June 2017 and will focus on saving the world’s oceans.

The condition of the world's oceans is critical. Climate change, ocean acidification, environmental pollutants, marine litter and overfishing affect ecosystems and many species are dying out. At the same time, there is great potential to combine environmentally sustainable ocean management and sustainable economic development in the 'blue economy'.

The deteriorating ocean environment hits the world's poorest people the hardest. Billions of people are dependent on threatened fish stocks as a source of protein – the oceans supply 40 per cent of the world's protein. The oceans also provide innumerable people with opportunities to support themselves through, for example, fishing and tourism.

Joint initiative for sustainable oceans

Sweden and Fiji have jointly taken the initiative for a UN conference to support efforts to save the world's oceans and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on oceans, seas and marine resources – Goal 14 of the UN 2030 Agenda. The UN conference will give impetus to the implementation of Goal 14 and enable more stakeholders to take responsibility for the future of oceans.

High ambition level

The conference has ambitious goals, including an intergovernmental political declaration, a 'Call for Action', to advance efforts towards sustainable oceans. An important aspect of the conference will be the partnership dialogues that will cover the various Goal 14 targets. The partnership dialogues mean that leading global stakeholders – states as well as companies, civil society and the knowledge-based society – will suggest innovative solutions to solve major common challenges. The pollution of oceans, unsustainable fishing and the effects of climate change are some of the areas that will be tackled. The major opportunities available to sustainably use the ocean's resources to fight poverty and achieve food security will also be given considerable scope.

Member States and other stakeholders are also expected to present their plans within the framework of the implementation of SDG 14. These voluntary and ambitious commitments will be collected in a list that will be a further important part of the conference's results.

In connection with World Oceans Day on 8 June, a number of events will highlight the serious situation with the aim of creating broad commitment to reversing the negative trends with regard to the world's oceans.

Delegates from all over the world will participate

The conference will activate the entire UN and focus the world's attention on some of our greatest common challenges. High-level delegates from throughout the world will participate during the week, when almost 8 000 delegates are expected to be present in New York. For Sweden, it is important that the conference engages as many parts of society as possible.

Through the concrete focus on practical implementation, the results of the conference will also contribute to the UN's continuous follow-up of the 2030 Agenda, primarily within the framework of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which will meet in New York in July 2017.

On 15–16 February 2017, a preparatory meeting will take place at the UN to decide the themes of the partnership dialogues and what is to be included in the Call for Action.


Annika Flensburg
Press Secretary to Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00