2017 United Nations Ocean Conference ~World Oceans Day~

New York, USA

It is my pleasure to join you all here today on World Oceans Day. This is a very special occasion for all of humanity.

Since 1987, The Nippon Foundation has been committed to develop human capacity in the ocean sectors. Over the years, The Nippon Foundation’s fellowship programs have helped over 1,200 ocean experts from 140 countries to excel in diverse fields such as oceanography, climate change, marine and fisheries resource management, and ocean governance.

The United Nations-The Nippon Foundation Fellowship Programme, which is a joint project with UN DOALOS, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, has played a key role in our effort. In the past 14 years, this program has supported over 130 Fellows from 78 different countries in the developing world. Many of them are now enjoying successful careers in many ocean-related disciplines, including as policy-makers, legal experts, and formulating seabed maps such as bathymetric charts.

I am pleased to let you know that 70 graduates of this Fellowship Programme have travelled all the way here today. They stay connected through an Alumni Network and continue to share ideas, and compare common challenges and solutions long after their Fellowship has ended.

I would like to thank all the alumni for your ongoing efforts around the world in improving ocean governance and making SDG14(*) a reality.

I am pleased to announce that The Nippon Foundation and UN DOALOS will be enhancing its current fellowship program and launching three new capacity building projects. The new projects have two major aims:

First, to enhance the ocean governance capability in Small Island Developing States and other developing coastal nations.

Second, to cultivate ocean experts that will lead our collective efforts toward attaining Goal 14, and the entire Sustainable Development Goals.

Neither of these objectives can be achieved by a single nation, a single institute, nor a single field of expertise. Individuals who can think beyond the interests of their nation, or their agency and reach across disciplines to engage in innovative, holistic solutions. This is the kind of people The Nippon Foundation is striving to nurture.

To maximize the impact of such individuals, and leverage all your efforts, we urgently need to create a global entity; a body that coordinates all relevant stakeholders to ensure a cross-sectional and integrated governance of the world’s oceans.

Having been involved in global ocean issues for many decades, it is my sincere hope that we establish such an entity.

Let us act now.

(*) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans and marine resources for sustainable development.