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2014 APEC Ocean-Related Ministerial Meeting Joint Statement

Xiamen, People's Republic of China | 28 August 2014

Fourth APEC Ocean-Related Ministerial Meeting

We, the APEC Ocean-Related Ministers, gathered in Xiamen, China on 28 August 2014 for the fourth APEC Ocean-Related Ministerial Meeting (AOMM4), under the theme “Towards New Partnership through Ocean Cooperation in the Asia Pacific Region”;


Acknowledging that the recovery of the global economy continues to face uncertainty, that the goal of the APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy is still far from being fulfilled, and that most APEC member economies are exploring new economic growth opportunities to address the negative impact of the international financial crisis. Given the key role of the APEC region in the world economy and that the efforts by APEC members in promoting sustainable economic growth are vital to local, sub-regional, regional and global economic prosperity;


Considering that APEC members share one ocean, and they account for over 80% of global aquaculture production, and more than 65% of the harvesting and processing of the world’s capture fisheries, and that the ocean is an important conduit for 90% of world trade, and connects people, markets and livelihoods, as well as providing ecosystem services and plays an important role towards fulfilling economic recovery and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region;


Considering further the need to conserve and sustain the ocean so that it can continue to meet the needs of the present without damaging the interests of future generations, and also mindful of increasing challenges both from natural and human factors, such as over-exploitation of resources in the context of increasing human demands, increasing pollution, loss of biodiversity, and the impacts of global climate change and natural disasters;


Keeping in mind APEC Leaders’ Declarations, APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy, the 2013 Joint Ministerial Statement and commitments made in the 2002 Seoul Ocean Declaration, the 2005 Bali Plan of Action, the 2010 Paracas Declaration and Paracas Action Agenda;


Confirming that “for the purposes of APEC, the APEC Ocean and Fisheries Working Group views Blue Economy as an approach to advance sustainable management and conservation of ocean and coastal resources and ecosystems and sustainable development, in order to foster economic growth”;


Recognizing the importance of the APEC Marine Sustainable Development Report, which provides an overview of marine sustainable development activities within APEC;


Recognizing further that the world’s oceans and seas require better understanding and coordinated action and the urgent need for ocean cooperation due to the complex and trans-boundary nature of ocean and coastal issues and challenges;


Therefore we, the APEC Ocean-Related Ministers, call for the establishment of more integrated, sustainable, inclusive and mutually beneficial partnership through ocean cooperation among APEC members, that implement previous commitments, and focuses efforts on collaborated and concerted actions in the following four priority areas: (1) Coastal and marine ecosystem conservation and disaster resilience; (2) The role of the ocean on food security and food-related trade; (3) Marine science, technology and innovation; and (4) Blue Economy.


Coastal and marine ecosystem conservation and disaster resilience


1. Recognize that coastal and marine ecosystems provide foundations for sustainable economic growth, and that healthy coastal and marine ecosystems also play a critical role in mitigating hazards by reducing vulnerability, and thus increasing the resilience of coastal communities to climate change and marine and coastal disasters. We further recognize the need for holistic approaches and integrated partnerships to address the cumulative impacts on the marine environment and living and non-living resources, given the degree of interconnectivity in natural systems.


2. Reaffirm our strong support to enhance coastal and marine biodiversity conservation,  domestically and regionally, including in trans-boundary areas, through the protection of endangered species, restoration of coastal wetlands, mangroves, sea grasses, tidal flats, coral reefs  and other critical habitats including for fish restocking, as well as collaboration in the conservation of large marine ecosystems, and encourage implementation of regional efforts that contribute to meeting global goals and targets to conserve coastal and marine areas, including to conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, including through effectively managed marine protected areas (MPAs) and other area-based conservation measures, by 2020.


3. Intend to scale up ecosystem-based management approaches and programs, both domestically and regionally, by inter alia implementing conservation and management measures and tools including MPA Networking, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), integrated water resources management, land-sea integration and Integrated Coastal Management (ICM), to restore ocean and coastal health while optimizing sustainable coastal and ocean use.


4. Encourage cooperation on the reduction and mitigation of marine pollution, including from land-based sources and oil spills, and through continuation and expansion of efforts to reduce marine debris, including working with the APEC Chemical Dialogue through the joint Virtual Working Group on Marine Debris, and welcome the APEC project “Preparedness Response and Assessment of Oil Spill in the APEC region, Phase I”.


5. Support efforts by APEC members, as appropriate to increase participation in, and the implementation of, global and regional ocean-related programs such as the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment Including Socioeconomic Aspects (United Nations World Ocean Assessment).


6. Recognize the importance of strengthening the resilience of local coastal communities and businesses to  disasters, including through community awareness programs, capacity building, public communication, early warning systems, coastal and marine ecosystem based management approaches, ocean-related data and information sharing and working with other APEC sub-fora to support search and rescue cooperation, and the active involvement of the private sector and communities in emergency planning, response, recovery and restoration efforts.


7. Encourage collaboration within APEC on identifying, monitoring, addressing and preparing for impacts of climate change, ocean acidification and habitat change on ocean resources including on fisheries and aquaculture, through data and information sharing and best practices across relevant APEC sub-fora. We welcome the APEC project “Workshop on the Climate Change’s Impact on Oceans and Fisheries Resources”.


8. Encourage APEC members to participate in relevant cooperative networks focused on climate change and ocean acidification.


9. Encourage the Ocean and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) to work closely with the Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) to address the impact of climate change on fisheries, aquaculture, and coastal communities, including through the development of education outreach programs and an APEC-wide work plan on disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, and relevant information sharing.


The role of the ocean on food security and food-related trade


10. Reaffirm the importance of strengthening partnerships on a bilateral and multilateral basis to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, through measures to keep IUU catches from entering into market, if appropriate, as well as address destructive fishing practices, improve capture fisheries management and sustainable aquaculture practices, implement ecosystem based management approaches, manage by-catch, especially of protected and vulnerable species, reduce excess fishing capacity, enhance transparency in fishing regulations, and promote contributions of small scale fisheries and aquaculture to food security. Recall the 2010 Niigata Food Security Declaration, the 2012 Kazan Food Security Declaration, and the 2013 Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS) Roadmap.


11. Encourage the OFWG and PPFS to work in close coordination to ensure all APEC food security efforts consider the entire food system from crops to fisheries, including through the finalization of the draft Food Security Action Plan, as well as to share the outcome of this declaration with the 3rd APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security to be held in China in September 2014.


12. Encourage APEC members to urgently take the measures necessary, including through regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements, as appropriate, to maintain or restore all fish stocks at least to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield, in the shortest time feasible, as determined by their biological characteristics.


13. Encourage the application of environmentally sound and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture technologies for reduction of nutrient pollution, and sustainable aquaculture to enhance food security.


14. Call on relevant APEC members to ratify or accede to and effectively implement the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Agreement on Port State Measures, and to improve tracking of fishing vessels, including through increasing the coverage of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network and realization of the 2012 Kazan Food Security Declaration.


15. Welcome the Pathfinder Interim project on the “Enhancement of Partnerships among APEC Economies on Combating IUU Fishing and Associated Trade by Undertaking Voluntary Obligations on Nonproliferation Flags of Convenience Practices”.


16. Encourage supporting sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, including by providing access by small-scale and artisanal fishers to fisheries and markets, and in this regard we welcome the completion and adoption of the FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (June 2014) addressing the needs of developing economies and take note of FAO’s intent to host a workshop to plan implementation of the Guidelines.


17. Recognize the policies of APEC economies to support small scale fisheries and aquaculture in order to maintain and improve livelihoods in these sectors.


18. Take note of the outcomes of the “Workshop on Fisheries and their Contribution to Sustainable Development in APEC economies: Small Scale and Artisanal Fisheries to support Food Security”.


19. Encourage APEC members to facilitate trade in fish and fishery products among APEC members to achieve resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth, to support food security.


20. Encourage APEC members to exchange best practices on minimizing losses and waste in post-harvest handling and processing. In particular we support “APEC Multi-Year Project on Strengthening Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain”, in which the focus in 2015 will be on fishery products. We call on APEC members to contribute to the project’s development of methodology for data collection, toolkits and best practices.


21. In light of the Rio+20 outcome document, particularly paragraph 173, we encourage APEC members to further improve the transparency and reporting of existing fisheries subsidies programmes through the WTO, and to eliminate subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and over-fishing, and to refrain from introducing new such subsidies or from extending or enhancing existing such subsidies, without prejudice to the WTO Doha negotiations.


22. Encourage APEC members to actively conduct capacity building and sharing of best practice for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to improve their capability in contributing to food security.


Marine Science, Technology and Innovation


23. Recognize that science, technology and innovation are vital to understanding the ocean, and essential to supporting a science-based approach to decision-making and adaptive management, and to upgrading the traditional marine industry, cultivating emerging sectors and stimulating innovative growth. It should be noted that different economies and different communities have different level of capacity.


24. Encourage APEC members to take steps to facilitate the conduct of joint marine scientific research, to advance science, technology and innovation through sharing of data and information, scientific knowledge, technology dissemination, and capacity building projects, based upon mutually agreed terms and conditions.


25. Support science, technology and innovation cooperation in marine disaster risk reduction and resilience, including through improved timely forecasting and warning dissemination capabilities for tsunamis, tropical cyclones and other hazards, through establishment and coordination of tsunami early-warning centers in this region, and through information and knowledge sharing on marine disasters and the potential impacts among APEC members.


26. Encourage the promotion of science, technology and innovation cooperation in environmentally-friendly marine technologies, including marine renewable energy technology, as appropriate and in coordination with the APEC Policy Partnership on Science Technology and Innovation (PPSTI) and the APEC Energy Working Group (EWG).


27. Encourage the exploration of possible means to facilitate the mobility of marine researchers and students, and encourage ocean-related universities and colleges to become involved in APEC education cooperation, noting with appreciation the Chinese Government Marine Scholarship Program.


28. Encourage APEC members to raise public awareness of ocean-related issues, especially among youth and future generations, through methods such as incorporating ocean education into school curricula and through the proposal for APEC economies to promote public engagement on ocean-related issues through science museums and aquariums, and marine eco-tourism, for example, by designating a regional Ocean Day for APEC.


29. Affirm that youth and women are major parts of the community that should be targeted in the implementation of capacity building and should be given the opportunity to participate in the management of marine resources and sustainable fisheries campaign from an early age.


30. Encourage APEC members to take steps to narrow the science, technology and innovation gap among members through information and data sharing, technology dissemination, capacity building projects, based upon mutually agreed terms and conditions. Explore possible ways to strengthen ECOTECH in APEC ocean-related cooperation.


Blue Economy


31. Further recognize the potential linkages between Blue Economy, sustainable development and economic growth, in particular, the close linkage to ocean and coastal conservation efforts, innovative development, and economic reform and growth, which is one of the three priorities of APEC 2014.


32. Recognize the key role of APEC as an important platform for regional economic integration and growth, as well as recognize the recent discussion and various initiatives related to Blue Economy and efforts to explore its potential by APEC members, therefore, we call for cooperation on Blue Economy in the Asia-Pacific region.


33. Reaffirm our strong support to take actions to promote connectivity and communication among APEC members to facilitate the flow of goods, services, trade and investment.


34. Encourage APEC members to enhance policy and institutional support for ecosystem-based management, and the utilization of economic incentives and market-based instruments as appropriate, to create efficiencies and maximize sustainable economic yields from the ocean.


35. Take note of the fact that development of Blue Economy requires an enhanced understanding of the ocean and increased technological capability to develop and utilize marine resources through innovation.


36. Value the involvement of the private sector in the development of and cooperation on Blue Economy, in accordance with APEC views and priorities, and encourage APEC members to solicit input from the private sector including small and medium enterprises and their needs and ideas regarding activities linked to Blue Economy through policy dialogue and public private partnerships.


37. Encourage the information, experience and best practices sharing on Blue Economy related cooperation, through the initiative to explore the possibility to enhance and facilitate the approaches of the Blue Economy proposed by APEC members such as the APEC Blue Economy Model Program (Phase I).


38. Encourage APEC members to develop environmentally-friendly ocean-related economic activity, under the OFWG views on the Blue Economy, as an approach to the sustainable management of marine resources, such as marine renewable energy, and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, through innovation.


39. Direct the OFWG to update the APEC Marine Sustainable Development Report, and encourage APEC members to update their economy reports in Part II periodically.


40. Acknowledge the outcomes of the APEC Blue Economy Forums hosted by China. Encourage members to make contributions to such forums on a voluntary basis.


41. Encourage the OFWG to update the Mapping Exercise periodically to reflect progress on APEC ocean-related cooperation.


42. Acknowledge the OFWG views on Blue Economy, encourage the OFWG to work with other relevant APEC sub-fora to advance Blue Economy cooperation, and recognize that the initiatives summarized in the previous paragraphs are examples of such cooperation.


43. Keep in mind the guidance of Leaders to pursue cross-sectoral work under the APEC Initiative on Mainstreaming Ocean-Related Issues. Encourage members to mainstream ocean-related issues in their domestic planning and policy making process, as appropriate, in accordance with their circumstances and priorities.


Cooperation and Appreciation


44. Encourage cross-cutting collaboration to promote cooperation on ocean-related issues among relevant APEC sub-fora, including the OFWG, PPFS, EWG, Transportation Working Group (TPTWG), Tourism Working Group (TWG), and Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC), etc., and relevant international organizations.


45. Value the contributions of the APEC Marine Environmental Training and Education Center (AMTEC) in Korea, APEC Marine Sustainable Development Center (AMSDC) in China, support the establishment of the APEC Ocean and Fisheries Information Center (AOFIC) in Indonesia, and encourage them to make more contributions towards capacity building and work closely with each other to promote APEC ocean-related cooperation and avoid duplication of efforts.


46. Express our appreciation to China for its hard work and kind hospitality in hosting the fourth APEC Ocean-Related Ministerial Meeting.


47. Finally, we will bring the outcomes of this meeting to the attention of our Leaders at their meeting in November 2014 in Beijing, China.