Tonga opens first official event at the United Nations Ocean Conference

NEW YORK, UN Headquarters – June 7: 10.10am (Environment News): The Kingdom of Tonga opened the first official event on Deep Sea Science for Sustainable Development at the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York yesterday. 

This event was in partnership with The Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) and IUCN.

Countries from all over the globe have convened at this Ocean Conference in New York, from June 5-9, to explore how to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14, which seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. 

Ocean environments deeper than 200 meters account for more than 90% of the habitable space of the planet. 

Deep-sea science is the key to conserve and sustainably use ocean resources and maintain the ‘life-support’ functions of the ocean in the face of industrialisation and ocean change.  This side-event had highlighted the opportunities to increase international collaboration to:  advance and share knowledge of the deep-ocean; develop, deploy and transfer technologies; and lift research capacity for sustainable development.

Tonga’s Head of Delegation, Hon. Mr. Semisi Fakahau, the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Forestry and Fisheries, highlighted the importance of deep-sea ecosystem services as a climate regulator in his opening remarks.

“As well as providing resources, both living (such as fisheries and genetic resources), and non-living (such as minerals) that are important for the economies of States, particularly for small island developing states, such as Tonga,” Hon Fakahau said.

“The technological and financial requirements to investigate and understand the deep-sea science are too great for one country to address alone.

“International collaboration is critical to share the costs and benefits of scientific research so that such research can be applied for conservation and sustainable development.”

Delegates are hearing from scientists from around the world on the discoveries of the deep-sea may hold, and discuss opportunities to increase international collaboration to  advance and share knowledge of the deep-ocean and help develop, deploy and transfer technologies and lift research capacity for sustainable development.

Accompanying Tonga’s Head of Delegation, were Mr. Mahe Tupouniua (Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Tonga to the United Nations), Dr. Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi (CEO for Tonga Fisheries), Dr. Tevita Suka Mangisi (Deputy Permanent Representative for Tonga to the United Nations), Ms. Atelaite Lupe Matoto (Director of Environment, Ministry of MEIDECC) and Ms. Rose Kautoke (Assistant Crown Counsel at the Attorney-General’s Office and Legal Advisor at the Permanent Mission). 

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