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Statements in International Organisations


United NAtions - General Assembly: Ad-Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction

Statement on behalf of the European Union by Mr. Aleksander Čičerov, Minister Plenypotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Slovenia to the United Nations


Co-Chairpersons, I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

We would like to take advantage of this agenda item to provide the views of the European Union on  the way to take forward the fruitful discussions that we have had this week. We thank the delegations for their active participation and for sharing their views on the issues discussed. We would also like to thank the Secretariat for providing us with the extensive and very useful reports, in particular the report prepared to assist this meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group, contained in the document A/62/66/Add.2.

First of all, as you know the CBD will be holding its 9th Conference of the Parties in two weeks from now, at which it will be considering ways to take forward the criteria for the identification of areas in need of protection in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Many delegations have expressed support for moving ahead on this issue and we therefore believe that this meeting should send a clear message in this regard to the CBD COP. The European Union will strongly support the adoption of the scientific criteria at the COP. It is also in favour of the establishment of a process in the context of the CBD to carry out the necessary scientific and technical follow-up work, with the full engagement of FAO, IMO, ISA, Regional Seas Conventions and RFMOs, to build a register/list of areas that would meet these criteria.

We concur with the interventions made yesterday that this activity should feed into the UNGA process and in this regard we would call on UNGA, at the end of the year, to encourage competent bodies to actively contribute to the establishment of such a list/register. In parallel, we would urge the UNGA to call upon relevant organisations, Regional Seas Conventions and RFMOs to cooperate in establishing pilot multipurpose MPAs on the basis of the criteria in the interim.

Secondly, we would like to share our ideas for the continuation of the Working Group and the issues which should be addressed by the Working Group as a matter of priority.

As we mentioned yesterday, we propose that the work of working group should be further structured and consolidated and that it should continue its work and should meet again next year. Also the input of inter-sessional work could improve the deliberations in the WG. In particular we believe that the Working Group should be given the mandate to deliver recommendations to UNGA at its next sessions.

We believe that the working group should divide its work between on the one hand considering progress made in on-going activities and supporting UNGA in this regard and on the other hand in developing options for new tools in order to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ, and to reach a successful implementation of 2010 and 2012 biodiversity targets.

For this, and given the views that we have heard this week, we would propose that it focuses its work on:

  • the implementation and enforcement of existing instruments designed to protect the marine environment in ABNJ and identifying issues to be addressed, and means to develop an integrated approach;
  • the establishment of Marine Protected Areas in ABNJ;
  • developing Environmental Impact Assessment as a tool for improving ocean management in ABNJ;
  • Practical options for the access and benefit sharing of Marine Genetic Resources in and from ABNJ.

These four issues could be on the agenda of the next meeting of the Working Group with an aim to develop concrete recommendations to the UNGA.


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Date: 05.05.2008