สุนทรพจน์ : คำกล่าวเปิดการประชุม ASEM High-Level Meeting on Marine Sustainability โดยนายดอน ปรมัตถ์วินัย รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงการต่างประเทศ ณ กรุงเทพฯ เมื่อวันที่ ๗ มีนาคม ๒๕๖๒ ศูนย์ข่าว กต.

สุนทรพจน์ : คำกล่าวเปิดการประชุม ASEM High-Level Meeting on Marine Sustainability โดยนายดอน ปรมัตถ์วินัย รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงการต่างประเทศ ณ กรุงเทพฯ เมื่อวันที่ ๗ มีนาคม ๒๕๖๒

Opening Remarks by
His Excellency Mr. Don Pramudwinai,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand,
At the ASEM High-Level Meeting on Marine Sustainability
Bangkok, 7 March 2019
 
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Excellencies,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Good morning. On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, I have the honour and pleasure to welcome all of you to the ASEM High-Level Meeting on Marine Sustainability. And to those who have travelled from overseas to be here, I thank you. Welcome to Thailand! 
 
It is indeed a privilege for Thailand to host this Meeting, for it allows us to continue to spotlight the very important issue of marine sustainability.  You may remember that last year we hosted an ASEM meeting on marine debris. Also, this week, we hosted a series of international meetings, including the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Marine Debris and the 9th Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific. And of course, hosting this Meeting also allows us to move ahead in our common endeavour to realise the SDGs and, in particular, Goal 14.
 
For Thailand, hosting such meetings is part and parcel of our overall commitment to the issue of sustainability in all things and dimensions, which was a key point in our Prime Minister’s remarks at the ASEM Summit last October. Sustainability is also featured in the theme of our ASEAN Chairmanship -- “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”.  
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
The point has been made many times before that marine sustainability and human society are intrinsically interlinked. The Earth is a water planet. The world’s oceans represent more than 90 per cent of the living space on Earth; and some figures go as high as 99 percent. Our oceans provide us with water -- sustaining life -- and with the oxygen that we breathe. Our oceans also provide a livelihood for more than 3 billion people. They are therefore crucial for global food security, human health and well-being as well as regulation of the climate. But things are not well in our oceans and seas; and we can no longer afford to go on with a ‘business as usual’ mentality. Now is the time for us to think and act more ambitiously. 
 
Today’s Meeting provides us with a platform for collaboration on the creation of a marine sustainability strategy that is people-centric and environment-centric. The knowledge and best practices exchanged at this Meeting will also be good materials for our efforts to further promote  smart marine sustainability.
 
Marine sustainability itself is a broad concept, encompassing everything from the surface of the water to the seabed. Realising marine sustainability is, therefore, a multi-dimensional endeavour that goes beyond just conserving the marine environment. For instance, it also involves harnessing the latest technology to extract, develop and use marine resources to ensure sustainability in all dimensions.
 
As I said earlier, the oceans provide a livelihood for billions of people. It can also provide the jobs of the future, especially as we delve further into areas such as marine renewable energy and marine biotechnology.  Therefore, our goal must be to seek to achieve a balance between the sustainable use of our oceans and the further progress of our planet through economic and population growth. 
 
The participation of all stakeholders lies at the heart of our efforts to achieve marine sustainability. This should go beyond awareness raising. It is indeed not too late to reverse course and put an end to the damage that we have done to our oceans. For example, we can work with local communities and people who derive their livelihood from the oceans and equip them with knowledge, awareness, and the technology they can use to shape their own future. These are the people we must transform into agents of change. 
 
So, as you proceed with your deliberations, be sure to also think of how we can translate our policies and ideas into comprehensive action to achieve marine sustainability.
 
I hope that the Meeting will be able to focus its discussions on how to translate policy and ideas into comprehensive action. In that way, the Meeting’s outcomes will have the chance to make a real difference to our oceans and our planet.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Allow me to share with you what Thailand has done to achieve marine sustainability, which is an issue of top priority for the Government. This is reflected in our Pollution Management Plan (2017-2021) and the National Master Plan on Waste Management (2016-2021), both of which focus on maintaining the quality of the marine environment and tackling marine pollution. Currently, Thailand has more than 24,104 square kilometres of protected marine and coastal areas, accounting for more than 7 percent of the country’s total marine area. Thailand has also undertaken numerous activities to raise awareness and reduce the use of plastic as well as enhance research capacity in the field of plastic substitution.
 
We have also implemented a roadmap for the development of our fisheries, in particular to ensure that aquatic animals and fishery products are not harvested from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. In fact, a national committee on this very issue has been established to ensure that no IUU aquatic animals and fishery products enter Thailand’s domestic market and the export production chain. And in April, we will host the ASEAN Meeting on Combating IUU Fishing, in partnership with the EU, to further discuss the possibility of establishing an ASEAN IUU Task Force to serve as a regional mechanism to combat IUU fishing.
 
Given the success of our fisheries sector reform and the importance that we attach to marine sustainability, Thailand stands ready to continue to contribute to global efforts and strengthen partnerships with ASEM members on this issue.
 
Excellencies,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Before I conclude, I wish to take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Thai Government, our most sincere gratitude to our co-sponsor, the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), and all partners for their invaluable involvement in the preparation and holding of this Meeting.  
 
I also wish to express my special thanks to all of you who have come from all parts of Asia and Europe to participate in this Meeting and to reassert our commitment to creating a brighter future and engendering transformative action that will safeguard the oceans and coasts and sustain economic development for future generations.
 
I wish you a successful and productive Meeting. Furthermore, I look forward to your participation in the field visit to the Khlong Khon Mangrove Forest Conservation Center in Samut Songkhram Province tomorrow. The Center is an example of what local communities can do to protect the marine environment.  In particular, you will see how local fishermen were able to apply and implement the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) --Thailand’s approach to sustainable development given by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej -- in the promotion of marine sustainability.
 
Last but not least, allow me to reiterate that only through concerted efforts on everyone’s part, young and old alike, will we be able to achieve marine sustainability.  By educating our youth and instilling in them the importance of the oceans, they will become the guardians of the sustainability of marine life, safeguarding our resources for future generations.
 
So let us all make the most of this opportunity for ASEM to continue to provide its inputs on the global agenda of marine sustainability.  And as we go forward, I wish to leave with you two questions that we should frequently ask ourselves: 1) Are we doing enough; and 2) What can we do more? With that in mind, I implore all of you -- and remind myself constantly -- to be the change you want to see in the world.
 
Thank you for your kind attention.