I thank you Ann, and Secretary-General.

Australia is committed to the Paris Agreement and to our intended Nationally Determined Contribution.

This evening, in the context of talking about risk mitigation and resilience, I will focus on the impact of climate change on oceans, something of particular concern in our South West Pacific region.

Oceans play a vital role in the health of our planet, critical to supply of our oxygen, absorption of carbon dioxide, the water cycle and our climate system, while underpinning marine biodiversity and ecosystems.  

Oceans are under pressure on a wide range of fronts.

I commend Prime Minister Bainimarama's decision to make Oceans the theme of Fiji's COP Presidency.

Australia has numerous initiatives, with respect to the preservation of our oceans – this evening I will highlight two.

First, our coral reefs - a key early warning sign of the impact of climate change.

Over three quarters of the 29 World Heritage listed reefs are under stress.

Australia is custodian of the magnificant Great Barrier Reef – a coral structure the size of Germany off our Pacific coast - has been affected, including a recent bleaching event.

While collective action to address climate change is the ultimate solution, in particular the development of new forms of clean energy to reduce emissions, we must build the resilience of our coral reefs now. Australia has committed $2 billion to the preservation and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef.  Innovation is at the core of our efforts.

For example, we have undertaken a world-first genetic coding of coral species to help us understand and respond to the effect of the changing climate.

As part of our efforts, Australia is sharing our experiences and our innovative approaches with developing countries through the International Coral Reef Initiative.

Secondly, what we call 'blue carbon' - mangroves, sea grasses and salt marshes.

These ecosystems sequester four times more carbon than forests.

They are vital for coastal adaptation and biodiversity, as well as for supporting food security and local livelihoods.

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