Jamaica joins the international community in celebrating World Oceans Day 2020 under the theme “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”, with the focus on uniting conservation efforts of the Ocean and its resources through novel ideas and solutions.

As a small island state, we cannot over-emphasize the significance of conservation and management of the Ocean and Seas as they represent important elements in the achievement of a sustainable future for all.

Our Oceans are the life source of our planet and are vital for healthy human societies and a thriving world economy. Many people who depend on the oceans and seas for a living have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the maritime sector and related economies on which they depend have been either shut down or slowed significantly.

We are however deeply grateful for the resultant silver lining of the reduction in marine pollution. In this context, it is therefore imperative that as a world, we collaborate and innovate to develop new measures to combat pollution, establish higher standards and promote research to ensure the sustainability of the Ocean and its resources, so that our “new normal” in the maritime sector is in fact a better one.

Jamaica is committed to safeguarding its marine resources and remains steadfast in improving our network of protected areas. With a protected area of just over 9%, and in an effort to fulfill the country’s voluntary commitments made at the 2017 United Nations Ocean Conference, the Government is far advanced in the declaration of the Pedro Cays and surrounding waters as well as the Black River landscape/seascape as protected areas.

Jamaica supports the efforts at the international level to protect and govern the common heritage of mankind and participates actively in the discussions focused on the Ocean and the management of its resources. We remain an active member of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy spearheaded by Norway, which is aimed at “developing, catalyzing and supporting solutions for ocean health and wealth in policy, governance, technology and finance”. We look forward to a successful UN Ocean Conference now rescheduled for 2021 in Lisbon.

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