Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc joined officials from Asian and African countries bordering the Pacific and Indian Oceans at a forum in Jakarta on April 21 to discuss policies, experience and challenges in sea and ocean management to realise sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The function was held on the sidelines of the Asian-African Conference in the Indonesian capital city.

Seas and oceans play a vital role in the sustainable development of all countries, especially coastal and island nations. As such, one of the SDGs expected to be ratified by the United Nations this September is to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Deputy Minister Ngoc called upon Asian and African countries to actively engage in the design of a post-2015 development agenda including sea- and ocean-related goals; increasing cooperation in using marine resources sustainably; compliance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982); and ensuring navigation freedom, security and safety.

To protect seas and oceans for future generations, he also appealed to countries to effectively cope with regional challenges, including in the East Sea, such as threats to maritime safety and security, reclamation activities that go against international law, alter the status quo and increase tension.

Participants agreed that countries need to effectively manage fishing activities, prevent marine environment pollution and adhere to the UNCLOS 1982.

They also urged coordination in addressing climate change, overfishing, piracy and sea and island disputes.

While representatives of Indonesia, Timor Lester, Morocco, and Madagascar described the UNCLOS 1982 as the cornerstone of maritime cooperation, those from the Philippines said reclamation activities pose serious harm to coral reefs, marine creatures and the environment.-VNA