Excellencies and distinguished delegates.

Our region, the Indo-Pacific region, is home to many Small Island Developing States, many of which are also Least Developed Countries.

Tuna provides significant economic benefit to many Small Island Developing States.  

Artisanal and small-scale fisheries are vital to the livelihoods and food security of coastal communities in the SIDS.

Australia delivers its development objectives through strong engagement and support to regional ocean and fisheries organisations, including the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner (OPOC), the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), and the Pacific Community (SPC).

Earlier today, at the second annual Global Multi-stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue, I spoke about Australia's commitments to key partnerships with regional organisations and Pacific SIDS aimed at progressing implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.

We recognise the importance of securing jurisdictional rights by settling maritime boundaries as a basis for increasing economic benefits from the ocean and its resources.

Australia committed a further $2 million over three years to support the successful technical partnership, led by the Pacific Community, to support Pacific Island Countries delineate their maritime boundaries.

Australia's fisheries development assistance focuses on the Pacific.

Our primary aims are to increase the contribution of fisheries to reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.

We recognise the threat of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing poses to achieving this objective, so we have agreed a $4.4 million package of support over four years to build capacity in the Forum Fisheries Agency and Pacific Island Countries to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. 

But offshore fisheries are only part of the equation in the SIDS.  

Australia recognises the importance of coastal fisheries in addressing food security and livelihood opportunities.  

We are partnering with the Pacific Community to enhance regional support and coordination to address this important issue in line with the region's coastal fisheries policy framework. 

We have also committed $8 million over four years to scaling up community-based fisheries management approaches, building on experience working with communities in Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu over the past four years. 

Australia is committed to our oceans, to our region, and to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14.

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