Speech by His Majesty the King: UNGA side event, oceans 14: ‘implementing the Samoa Pathway and SDG 14 by SIDS through Public-Private Partnerships’, New York
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
It's a pleasure to be here for this important event about implementing the Samoa pathway and Sustainable Development Goal 14 by Small Island Developing States.
Oceans are the very foundation of the economic development of SIDS. Most Small Island Development States should be regarded as Large Ocean States - relatively small in land mass, but large in terms of their exclusive economic zones. This makes them the custodians of a great part of the world's oceans.
Nearly 700 million people live in low-lying coastal areas less than 10 metres above sea level. We know about the challenges you face.
The Netherlands in Europe is a low-lying delta country which has dealt with floods for centuries. The Caribbean Netherlands - Bonaire, Statia , Saba - and three other countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands - Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten - are SIDS.
Our Kingdom is actively addressing climate change and global water and food security. We attach great importance to enhancing resilience to climate change, especially for the most vulnerable countries and groups with limited resources and capacity. That's one of the reasons why we're working hard to adopt a new, legally binding and global agreement on climate change in Paris later this year. We believe public-private partnerships are fundamental to implementing any agreement.
Our Kingdom is actively reaching out to countries that face challenges similar to ours. We're sharing our experience in water management with countries all around the world. And we're making top Dutch water and delta expertise available to foreign governments urgently seeking to prevent water-related disasters. A Dutch team has visited the island states of Vanuatu and Kiribati this summer to advise their governments on water issues. We're also offering scholarships and courses for SIDS at the UNESCO Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands, comprising of 4 autonomous SIDS countries could be your SIDS candidate for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2017-2018 term. Challenges facing SIDS will be one of our priorities. It goes without saying that if elected, we will make the voice of SIDS heard in the Security Council.
Together, we can restore ocean health and work towards sustainable development of our nations and people.