Hello, I’m Kathleen Fitzpatrick, United States Ambassador to Timor-Leste.
I am very happy to join this special video celebration of World Oceans Day 2020. My respects to other fellow participants, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Director General Acasio Guterres, Ministry of Tourism Director General Jose Quintas, Administrator Post of Atauro Mateus Belo, and Dr. Sylvia Earle of Mission Blue.I would like to offer my particular respects to Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. José Ramos Horta, former President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste. This year’s celebration marks an important milestone in Timor-Leste’s emergence as an international tourism destination. I am very proud to congratulate the Marine Tourism Association of Timor-Leste for gaining Mission Blue’s “Hope Spot” recognition for the waters of the Ombai-Wetar Strait.
This important designation recognizes the unique beauty of Timorese waters. It tells the world that Timor-Leste has something here worth visiting and worth protecting.The Marine Tourism Association worked hard with the assistance of the United States Embassy’s USAID Tourism For All project to gain this recognition. This “Hope Spot” designation fits right into the theme for World Oceans Day this year is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” In Timor-Leste, maintaining the beauty of the waters is the key to developing a sustainable tourism industry. This is critical to creating livelihoods and developing Timor-Leste’s blue economy. Sustainable also means protecting the extraordinary abundance of marine diversity in Timorese waters. Furthermore, a Hope Spot designation alone will not ensure the protection of Timorese waters. The people of Timor-Leste know they have a valuable marine asset as you’ll see shortly in USAID Timor-Leste’s beautiful film, “The Sea That Sustains Us” video. This act will move Timor-Leste along its journey to self-reliance, which in turn will make the country an even greater presence on the world stage.
Congratulations to all involved in the Hope Spot designation. Long live the Sea that Sustains us — the sea that I am looking at right now – the new Mission Blue Hope Spot.
Happy World Oceans Day!
Thank you so much.