OTTAWA — The Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) today addressed an international gathering at the Oceans and Coasts Conference at Rio+10 in Paris by calling for united global action to protect the worldÂ’s oceans. The conference is taking place from December 3 through 7, 2001.
The conference brings governments and non-governmental organizations together to review progress on resolutions adopted in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio. Those resolutions included the decision that integrated management is essential to ensure sustainable activities and address conflicts between multiple users of marine resources. The conference will also establish priorities for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“The worldÂ’s oceans are interconnected, forming a continuous web of life that brings enormous social and economic benefits to a great many people, communities, regions and nations,” Minister Dhaliwal said, “But the oceans are also fragile and the pressures on them are increasing. We must strengthen our performance so that we protect this shared heritage for present and future generations.”
In particular, Minister Dhaliwal noted that partnerships must be developed among all levels of government, the private sector and other stakeholders, so that oceans management programs are supported by stable financing arrangements.
“Strong leadership, collaboration, and a vigorous commitment to co-financing arrangements to allow wealthy and less wealthy partners to participate Â- these are essential ingredients for a modern, integrated oceans management regime,” Minister Dhaliwal stated. “Investments to protect ocean resources are good business and everyone whose activities have an impact on the marine environment must agree to share the responsibility.”
In 1997, Canada became the first country in the world to pass a national Oceans Act and adopt theRio vision of integrated management as a national mandate. Canada is now in the process of finalizing a national oceans management framework, and has launched pilot projects and a network of regional offices to test the principles of integrated management in a variety of real-life situations across the country.
Canada also incorporated integrated management into the National Programme of Action it developed in response to the Global Programme of Action (GPA) adopted by coastal nations in 1995 to control pollution and protect the marine environment from the impacts of land activities. “Canada is a very strong supporter of the GPA, and has been very pleased to host the first Intergovernmental Review Meeting last week in Montreal where untreated or poorly treated municipal waste water was identified as a high priority issue,” Minister Dhaliwal said.
The Government of Canada has committed $2 billion over six years (2000-2006) to help municipalities make infrastructure improvements, including improvements to their waste water handling facilities. It is expected that this investment will help to lever approximately $4 billion in additional investments from provincial governments, municipalities and the private sector.
Having noted these and other accomplishments, Minister Dhaliwal also cautioned that it is important to take stock of the challenges that lie ahead, as the international community prepares for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg next year.
“Meetings like this give me hope that we are finding ways to demonstrate our commitment to our oceans,” the Minister stated. “I can assure you that Canada will continue to promote a vigorous program of oceans management both at home and internationally.”
The full text of Minister DhaliwalÂ’s speech is available at: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/communic/speech/2001/031201_e.htm.
For more information on the Oceans and Coasts Conference at Rio +10 please visit the following website: http://www.udel.edu/CMS/csmp/rio+10. For details on Marine Protected Areas and Integrated Management projects in Canada, please visit http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CanOceans/INDEX.HTM
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