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Distinguished Assistant Secretary-General Jenča,

Distinguished Assistant Secretary Generals and other UN representatives,

Dear guests and members of the media,

It’s a pleasure for me welcoming you all, together with the Italian Navy Commander, Admiral Credendino, to the inauguration of this meaningful exhibit to mark the World Oceans Day (June 8). Today is also the World Environment Day, a perfect occasion for reaffirming our common resolve to protect our oceans.
With an 8,000 km-long coastline at the center of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy is a country deeply connected to the seas by nature, history, culture and economy.
The theme of this year’s World Oceans Day, “Awaken New Depths”, is a call for a urgent change in our relationship with the ocean. With 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished. To this aim, we decided to put front and center in this exhibit the longstanding contribution that the Italian Navy has been giving to the advancement of the 2030 Agenda.
I am proud that Italy is on the frontline of the multilateral action for the marine environment. Under the Italian presidency in 2024, the G7 renewed its commitments to end plastic pollution, with the ambition to reduce additional plastic pollution to zero by 2040, and to support the negotiations for achieving by 2024 an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. Italy also staunchly upholds UNEP’s work on sustainable blue economy.
41 years after the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Italy proactively supported the negotiation for the historical BBNJ Agreement. As a signatory of the Agreement, we now look forward to its timely entry into force and full implementation.
Another defining issue of our times is the rise of sea levels, with its dramatic consequences for the coastal communities, ecosystems and economies. Last week, I went to Antigua and Barbuda to participate as Vice President in the 4th SIDS Conference, where it clearly emerged how this phenomenon affects both developing and developed countries. Italy is directly concerned, for example with the city of Venice being threatened also in terms of loss of cultural heritage.
For this reason, Italy will be engaged in the next weeks and months in the run-up to the Sea-level Rise Summit in September, the COP29 in November, and the next UN Ocean Conference in June 2025.
To conclude, I thank the Italian Navy for leading by example, and I wish everyone an enjoyable visit of the exhibit.

Happy World Oceans Day!