Deputy Premier Speaks At Sargasso Workshop

May 22, 2024 | 0 Comments

Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban gave the keynote address at the Sargasso Sea Sanctuary Workshop held onboard Greenpeace’s ship Arctic Sunrise, berthed on Front Street, Hamilton.

A Government spokesperson said, “”As part of Greenpeace’s global initiative to advocate for ocean sanctuaries, the visit is a critical component of their worldwide endeavour to have nations ratify the UN High Seas Treaty—a landmark agreement towards the collective goal of protecting at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

“And so recognized for its unique ecological and biological significance, the Sargasso Sea is one of the priority sites Greenpeace is campaigning to protect under this treaty. Moreover, as the only land mass within the Sargasso Sea, Bermuda is critical to this endeavour. The workshop aims to kickstart Greenpeace’s campaign to rally global support for the protection of the Sargasso Sea upon the treaty’s enactment.

Walter Roban Bermuda May 21 2024 (1)

“In a dynamic keynote address, Deputy Premier Roban expressed the pride Bermudians hold in the Hamilton Declaration of 2014 and in advocating the recognition of the Sargasso Sea’s significance and the need for its conservation.”

Minister Roban explained, “As the only landmass in the Sargasso Sea, it is incumbent on Bermuda, whenever possible, to take the lead or support any endeavours that work toward protecting not just the oceans but our very own backyard. To that end, we remain committed to advancing discussions toward creating a High Seas Marine Protected Area in the Sargasso Sea.”

Walter Roban Bermuda May 21 2024 (2)

Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us here today!

I am happy to be with you and the Greenpeace team on the Arctic Sunrise as we engage in a productive discussion on the steps toward conserving the Sargasso Sea.

Let me start by saying we, as Bermudians, are very proud of the Hamilton Declaration of 2014, our bold initiative to advocate for the recognition of the significance of the Sargasso Sea and the need for its conservation. A decade later, we’ve added more Signatories, and the Sargasso Sea Commission has developed a strong positive working relationship with the United Nations and Memorandums of Understanding with regional fisheries organizations, the International Maritime Organization, the Seabed Authority and conservation groups.

More significant has been funding support from the Global Environmental Facility to develop a model for the hybrid governance of the high seas to determine how best to combine regional and global partners.

This funding also allows the Commission to support a Socio-Ecosystem Diagnostic Analysis or SEDA, which is a critical tool for providing a baseline to guide the long-term collaborative monitoring of natural resources and their conservation by the relevant legal instruments, framework and bodies.

In practice, and particularly in the high seas, the primary technical role of a SEDA is to identify, quantify, and set priorities for environmental problems that threaten the long-term integrity and sustainability of the Sargasso Sea. This work frames the arguments for the need to conserve the Sargasso Sea.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS] for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction [BBNJ] was signed last September and awaits ratification. Five countries have signed so far, but we need fifty five [55] more! We acknowledge and are very appreciative of Greenpeace’s strong advocacy for its ratification.

Bermuda is optimistic that the Treaty will be ratified. Our task today is to discuss some of the critical steps that need to be done so that we can make the substantive case for creating a High Seas Marine Protected Area in the Sargasso Sea. I believe you are in the process of doing this and I hope these discussions have been fruitful.

We have argued from the beginning that Bermuda, the ocean, and our planet will benefit significantly if this is accomplished. Thank you for your willingness to engage today. I hope it will be rewarding in terms of what you learn, the relationships you develop, and the path forward that you will create.

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