Between 4 and 9 June 2015, the United Nations Legal Counsel attended two important events in Europe which were organized to draw more attention to the importance of the oceans and the law of the sea.
At the request of the Secretary-General, the Chef de Cabinet, Ms. Susana Malcorra, represented him in the framework of “Blue Week”, a series of events organized by the Government of Portugal in support of the oceans which focused on the importance of the oceans for the environment in general and climate change in particular as well as for sustainable oceans economy. The Legal Counsel accompanied the Chef de Cabinet to the events in Lisbon. Both addressed the Law of the Sea Conference entitled “Challenges of the New Order of Oceans”, a meeting on the challenges regarding the conservation, use and management of the oceans. Ms. Malcorra opened the meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and Sea of Portugal, Mrs. Assunção Cristas, and delivered a message on behalf of the Secretary-General. Mr. Serpa Soares delivered a keynote address.
Mr. Serpa Soares delivers a keynote address at the “Blue Week” in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture and Sea of Portugal, Mrs. Assunção Cristas, and the Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General, Ms. Susana Malcorra
At the high-level event of the “Blue Week” - the Ministerial Meeting of 5 June which brought together 76 ministers from around the world holding the oceans, fisheries and maritime affairs portfolios of their respective governments as well as numerous representatives of international organizations – Ms. Malcorra delivered a statement in her capacity as Head of the United Nations Delegation to the Ministerial Meeting. In the margins of the “Blue Week”, Ms. Malcorra and Mr. Serpa Soares were received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, H.E. Mr. Rui Machete, and the Minister of the Environment of Portugal, H.E. Mr. Jorge Moreira da Silva.
After the departure of Ms. Malcorra from Lisbon, Mr. Serpa Soares participated in the closing segment of the 3rd World Oceans Summit entitled “Blue Economy, Blue Growth”. Organized by The Economist in the framework of the “Blue Week”, the World Oceans Summit aimed to address how to transition from a conventional ocean economy to a “blue” economy. The Legal Counsel participated in this event by providing a “keynote” interview with the editor-in-chief of The Economist, Ms. Zanny Minton Beddoes, as part of the closing of the Summit.
Mr. Serpa Soares and Ms. Zanny Minton Beddoes
In Paris, the Legal Counsel represented the Secretary-General at a conference organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the occasion of World Oceans Day 2015. Mr. Serpa Soares delivered a message by the Secretary-General at the opening ceremony which also included statements by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, H.E. Mr. Laurent Fabius, and by the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova. In his capacity as Focal Point for UN-Oceans, Mr. Serpa Soares delivered remarks on behalf of UN-Oceans at a plenary session on socio-economic and ocean governance aspects [link to speech]. The conference ended with a high-level segment during which, inter alia, the President of Palau, H.E. Mr. Tommy Remmengesau, and H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco participated.
Mr. Serpa Soares delivers the World Oceans Day 2015 message of the Secretary-General at a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in the presence of H.E. Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Ms. Irinia Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and H.E. Ms. Lisa Emelia Svensson, Ambassador for the Ocean, Seas and Freshwater of Sweden