Prime Minister defends the importance of the Blue Economy for environmental conservation and the creation of opportunities for the people

Thu. 18 of April of 2024, 08:37h

Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão attended the ninth edition of the “Our Ocean” Conference, held in Athens, Greece, from April 15th to 17th, 2024. Under the theme “An Ocean of Potential”, the conference brought together world leaders and representatives of regional and international organisations, as well as the private sector and non-governmental organisations. 53658651787_f117c0e578_c

In his speech at the High-Level Segment of the conference on 16 April, the Prime Minister highlighted Timor-Leste's commitment to protecting and sustainable oceans, underlining the country's importance of a blue economy. Xanana Gusmão emphasised the deep connection between Timor-Leste and the ocean, recognising the richness of the country's marine biodiversity and its determination to conserve this natural heritage. 

Xanana Gusmão said, “The ocean serves as a unifying force, connecting nations and communities worldwide. Our lives, identities and cultures are all linked to the vastness of the sea”. 53657933889_c50297d916_c

 “For Timor-Leste, our relationship with the ocean is profound. Timor-Leste enjoys unrivalled marine biodiversity, with more than 75 per cent of the world's coral reef species living in our waters”, said the Prime Minister.

The Head of Government reiterated the national commitment to “as a small island developing state”, seeking to “build a Blue Economy so that we can conserve our environment and provide opportunities for our people”. “To achieve this goal, the Government [of Timor-Leste] is making every effort to develop a Blue Economy Policy and Action Plan - an initiative that [the Prime Minister] personally oversees”.

Xanana Gusmão explained that the Plan will include expanding Marine Protected Areas to conserve biodiversity and tropical reefs, creating a national marine park in Ataúro to sustainably protect its marine life, developing a Marine Education Centre to increase marine literacy among the people, measures against illegal fishing, and reducing plastic pollution in the seas.

The Head of Government also called for “global cooperation and meaningful partnerships driven by concrete and urgent action” to tackle marine challenges. He concluded his speech by stating, “We depend on the ocean, and the ocean depends on us!”.