We, the APEC Oceans-Related Ministers, met on October 11-12, 2010 in Paracas, Peru, under the theme "Healthy Oceans and Fisheries Management towards Food Security".
Acknowledging that we met at a time of economic challenge as the global economy continued to recover from a recession, in the wake of a spike in food prices that drew attention to food-insecure and undernourished populations and served as a wake up call about the vulnerabilities of long term food security, in the face of intensifying effects of climate change on ecosystems, economies and societies alike, and when marine ecosystems were under increasing stress due to a growing range of activities, and in some cases have been damaged by catastrophic events;
Considering that in the 2008 Leaders Statement on the Global Economy and in the 2009 Leaders Declaration, APEC Leaders expressed their determination to resist protectionism, their support for the multilateral trading system and for the 1994 Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment, and their commitment to respond to food security challenges in the region, and requested the implementation of a long-term strategy for economic growth that is balanced within and across economies, inclusive of all citizens, environmentally sustainable, innovative, and supportive of the economic and physical security of our citizens;
Reaffirming the 2002 Seoul Oceans Declaration, adopted at the first AOMM held in the Republic of Korea, as our commitment to domestic and collective action for the sustainable development of our oceans, seas and coasts, including their resources;
Taking into account that at the second AOMM in 2005 in Bali, Indonesia, we adopted the Bali Plan of Action (BPA) "Towards Healthy Oceans and Coasts for the Sustainable Growth and Prosperity of the Asia Pacific Community," which stated our collective determination to work towards ensuring the sustainable management of the marine environment and its resources, providing for sustainable economic benefits from the oceans, and enabling sustainable development of coastal communities; and the subsequent assessment undertaken by the MRCWG and FWG of the implementation of this Plan of Action, which revealed areas for further attention, in particular ecosystem-based management and climate change; We the APEC Oceans-Related Ministers will focus our efforts on the following four sub-themes: 1. Sustainable Development and Protection of the Marine Environment.
Marine ecosystems are being used for an increasing variety and intensity of activities, resulting in more stress on these systems through, among other issues, habitat damage, marine and land-based pollution and invasive species. Studies on the state of the marine environment and its resources show a continuous degradation of the ecosystem's health. Eighty per cent of the fish populations are considered over-exploited or fully exploited. There is a worrying decline of marine biodiversity caused by ineffective management practices, climate change and marine pollution among other things.
Conserving the integrity of marine ecosystems requires our urgent attention. We recognize that the greatest possible benefits from marine environments can be obtained if we acquire a better understanding of oceans and their associated economic, social and environmental benefits, and improve our ability to sustainably manage marine ecosystems, particularly through better understanding and implementation of ecosystem-based management. 2. Impact of Climate Change on the Oceans.
The oceans and the benefits derived from them are being threatened by climate change through temperature increases, changing distributions of living marine resources, sea level rise, increasing variability in ocean conditions, more frequent catastrophic weather events and ocean acidification. Many of these effects are already occurring and will likely intensify in the coming years. We also note that many of these changes will occur more quickly and be more pronounced in polar regions. We require a better understanding of the nature and magnitude of these changes and their effects and insights on what policy approaches will best allow our people and economies to adapt to these changes. 3. Promote Free and Open Trade and Investment.
Export earnings of APEC economies from fisheries and aquaculture products were US$46 billion in 2007, including US$37 billion in trade between APEC member economies. Trade and investment in sustainably managed fisheries and aquaculture contribute to economic growth, poverty alleviation and food security, and create employment in all economic sectors in the region while relying on healthy marine ecosystems. However, we are concerned by the growing adoption of unilateral measures that can create unjustified barriers to trade of fisheries products if inconsistent with international obligations. We, therefore, reaffirm our commitment to free and open trade and investment in a
transparent, rules-based multilateral trade system. 4. The Role of Oceans in Food Security.
The APEC region accounts for more than two-thirds of the world's capture fisheries and aquaculture production, and our populations consume 70% of the world's fish products. Per capita supply of fish in the APEC region is 65% higher than the world average, and fish provides a significant portion of animal protein consumption in the region, especially in low-income food-deficit economies. However, food security is threatened by fishing overcapacity, lllegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, maritime crime and piracy, marine invasive species, climate change and other stressors. These activities must be addressed through effective measures including sustainable resource management, while processing, distribution and trade systems must be oriented in such a way as to maximize and balance these economic, social and nutritional benefits.
In light of these four priorities, we endorse the attached Paracas Action Agenda, and instruct the appropriate APEC working groups, as necessary, to carry out those actions in coordination with relevant APEC bodies and other institutions.
We look forward to conveying the outcomes of our meeting to the first APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security, to be held October 16-17, 2010 in Niigata, Japan, which has a goal of developing strategies of cooperation in food security among the APEC economies and we applaud the attention given to the vital contribution of marine resources and fisheries and aquaculture products to food security in the APEC region.
We underscore the need to continue to consider the vital contribution of marine resources and fisheries and aquaculture products to food security in all relevant dialogues and note that this can be a particular contribution by APEC given that ocean products are overlooked in many such discussions.
We express our appreciation to Peru for hosting the Third Oceans-related Ministerial Meeting and for the excellent arrangements that have been provided in Paracas.
Finally, we will bring the outcomes of this meeting to the attention of our Leaders at their meeting in November 2010 in Yokohama, Japan.