In a statement to the conference, Hon Turnbull said the Virgin Islands faces challenges in monitoring and policing the vastness of its marine space.
“Illegal fishing is a problem, which we must tackle," Hon Turnbull stated.
The Minister did not go into details about illegal fishing but said "Cooperation with our neighbours and international partners on satellite surveillance and coastguard patrols will be critical to addressing this challenge.”
According to Hon Turnbull, the [British] Virgin Islands calls for the Associate Members of the UN’s regional commissions like the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to be included in the support measures to Governments that will emerge out of the meeting in Lisbon.
“We too need this critical support if we are to meet our obligations to implement [Sustainable Development Goals] SDG 14.”
In his statement to the conference, Hon Turnbull also said the [British] Virgin Islands has joined the community of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to advance the very strong notion of a reclassification of their economies and to be viewed as Large Ocean States (LOS) given the combined vastness of our Exclusive Economic Zones. This paradigm shift is an important one since:
“It recognizes that the definition of our small landmasses, when viewed, as SIDS does not account for the contribution to the conservation of marine biodiversity and the relative contribution towards climate adaptation, as our oceans are as important in terms of carbon sequestration as larger states. Therefore, greater emphasis must be placed on ensuring that the services our oceans provide are accounted.
“It recognises that there are vast, untapped resources which must be better understood, and which form the key to the economic growth of our communities. Large Ocean States/Small Island Developing States’ economies are heavily reliant on our marine and coastal resources.”
Hon Tunrbull also said attention must be paid in terms of the resources allocated to better understand and sustainably use the Exclusive Economic Zones of SIDS/LOS and that resources must match the scale of the challenges and opportunities for the sustainable use of marine resources within these areas.
“The British Virgin Islands stands ready to add its voice to the continuing dialogue as to the true contribution that Large Ocean States make to meeting the 2030 agenda. Growth and sustainable use of marine resources for this and for future generations must realise the full potential of our Exclusive Economic Zone, which in turn will provide greater opportunities for the engagement of national stakeholders in the blue economy,” Hon Turnbull stated.
The United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference is being held from June 27 to July 1, 2022.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, Mr Joseph Smith-Abbott has accompanied Hon Turnbull to the conference.