June 7, 2017
Ocean Conference: Increasing economic benefits
To small islands developing States and least developed countries and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets

Intervention of His Eminence Peter Cardinal Turkson,
Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development,
Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the
United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14:
Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources
for Sustainable Development

Partnership dialogue 5:
Increasing economic benefits to small islands developing States
and least developed countries and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets

New York, 7 June 2017

Mr. Chair,

The Holy See welcomes the opportunity to share its thoughts on increasing economic benefits to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and on providing access to marine resources and markets for small-scale fishermen. The SAMOA Pathway Outcome Document is important to this discussion.

In considering the economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs from their ocean-related businesses, such as fishing and aquaculture, tourism, plant marine living resources and biotechnology, my Delegation would like to underline three points.

First, it is correct to think of these businesses as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). In this regard, my Delegation wishes to refer to the important work being done by the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). In 2011, UNCITRAL determined that there was no coherent set of global legal and regulatory measures that could promote financial inclusion, or microfinance, for MSMEs. In 2014, an UNCITRAL Working Group began to focus on creating and enabling a business and legal environment for this type of activity, in particular those MSMEs in developing economies. An important aspect of the work thus far has been on enabling businesses that operate outside the legally regulated economy to become part of it.

Second, regional cooperation to bolster the economic interests of SIDS and LDCs is very important to have greater access to financing for development and greater market clout, thereby attracting greater investments and promoting virtuous business models and a healthy formal business and legal environment.

Third and lastly, my Delegation is convinced that “man is the source, the center and the purpose of all economic and social life.”[1] It follows that, in today’s global society, it is essential that “we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone,”[2] including for small-scale artisanal fishers. As Pope Francis wrote in his Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, “[t]o stop investing in people, in order to gain greater short-term financial gain, is bad business for society.”[3] Moreover, we need to reject any conception of the market that would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals.

Mr. Chair,

The greatest resource of SIDS and LDCs is their people, with their rich cultural and religious traditions. Their economic growth will depend on models of development and business that are inspired by universal solidarity and by the ethical imperative that no one should be left behind.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.


1. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, 63.
2. Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 32.
3. Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, 128.