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19-04-2024 19:06

Closing reception speech by the Deputy Minister of Shipping, Ms Marina Hadjimanolis, at the inaugural Commonwealth Ocean Ministers Meeting

Honourable Rt Patricia Scotland KC, Secretary General of the Commonwealth,

Honourable Ministers and Heads of Delegations,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we draw this inaugural Commonwealth Ocean Ministerial Meeting to a close, I stand before you with a profound sense of gratitude and optimism. Your active participation and insightful contributions have not only enriched our discussions but have also set a course towards a more sustainable ocean future.

I extend my deepest appreciation to each and every one of you for your commitment and dedication throughout our deliberations. Your diverse perspectives have been instrumental in shaping our collective understanding and charting a path forward.

Today, we celebrate significant achievements that highlight our shared commitment to the health and vitality of our oceans. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Blue Charter Centre of Excellence marks a milestone in our journey towards enhanced collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Throughout our deliberations, we have witnessed a profound commitment from member countries to align with the theme of CHOGM 2024, “One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth”. This commitment underscores our collective determination to address pressing oceanic issues and move towards a more sustainable future.

Our discussions on Ocean Principles and Priorities have laid the groundwork for the drafting of the Commonwealth Ocean Declaration. This declaration will serve as a guiding beacon for our collective efforts in the years to come, outlining key areas where the Commonwealth can make a tangible impact.

As we look to the future, let us carry the momentum generated here forward. Let us embark on the journey from Cyprus to Samoa with determination and purpose, ensuring that the Commonwealth remains at the forefront of sustainable ocean governance.

As members of the Commonwealth, we hold a profound responsibility to lead the way in protecting our oceans. The oceans are not only crucial to our survival but also to the health and prosperity of our planet. Let us seize this unique opportunity to demonstrate our collective determination and pave the path towards sustainable ocean conservation. Our actions today will shape the future of generations to come.

I express once again my gratitude to all of you for your unwavering dedication and commitment. Let us move forward together, united in our duty to safeguard our oceans for a brighter future. Special thanks go to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment and my colleagues at the Shipping Deputy Ministry for all their efforts in organising the event.

Lastly, I take the opportunity to express my congratulations to all the Blue Charter Champion countries (including Cyprus) for every success to our future deliberations.

Before I conclude, I would like to present a commemorative gift to the Honourable Rt Patricia Scotland KC, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, on behalf of the Government of Cyprus. Your support and encouragement have been invaluable and we are honoured to have you with us during this important event.

(Design of small Greek merchant ship 4th Century BC. The wreckage was discovered off Keryneia harbour in Cyprus and was salvaged and restored in 1967. Today, it lies in the Medieval Castle of occupied Keryneia)