Earth Negotiations Bulletin - ENB

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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

13-17 February 2006
| UN Headquarters, New York

Highlights from Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Working Group Co-Chair Philip Burgess


On Tuesday, 14 February, the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group of the General Assembly to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (the Working Group) concluded the general exchange of views and considered past and present activities of the United Nations (UN) and other relevant international organizations in the morning. In the afternoon, delegates commenced discussions on the scientific, technical, economic, legal, environmental, socioeconomic and other aspects of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.

Working Group Co-Chairs Juan Manuel Gomez-Robledo and Philip Burgess

Left to right: Luis Nino, Venezuela, highlighted the work on marine biodiversity under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); Allieu Kanu, Sierra Leone, called for greater involvement in marine scientific research (MSR) of developing country scientists; Tomas Heidar, Iceland, said most threats to marine biodiversity, both within and beyond areas of national jurisdiction, could be addressed by implementing measures in the existing framework, without the need to establish new instruments.


Lori Ridgeway, Canada, outlined discussions at the 2005 meeting of the Committee of Fisheries (COFI) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), highlighting: the present implementation gap; illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing; deep sea fisheries; scientific criteria for marine protected areas (MPAs); urgent reforms of regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs); and market-based instruments.

Holger Martinsen, Argentina, stressed the importance of coherent government positions in different forums.


Perusing the ENB (left) and the EU consulting (right)

Left to right: Serge Beslier, European Commission, highlighted its support for existing RFMOs and for the development of new ones, noting the establishment of MPAs for fisheries conservation and biodiversity protection.

Joji Morishita, Japan, emphasized the importance of implementing existing instruments rather than establishing new ones, noting that any new agreement or initiative should focus on preventing only illegal high seas fishing.

Satya Nandan, Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority (ISA), described the ISA mandate and activities, highlighting: the 2001 regulations for the exploration and exploitation of polymetallic nodules in the Area; the licensed contractors' monitoring and reporting responsibilities; and scientific collaboration between ISA, scientists and contractors, stressing the importance of participation by developing country scientists.

Donna Petrachenko, Australia, prioritized coordinating the different purposes and objectives of MPAs, such as biodiversity protection and fisheries management, as RFMOs cannot be assumed to establish MPAs for broader purposes.

Kazuhiro Kitazawa, Japan, presented a DVD illustrating how MSR is carried out, what technologies are used and what kinds of species have been found in deep waters.

Regarding MPAs, Mexico (right), underscored that the current international framework provides a sufficientlegal basis for the establishment of high seas MPAs, without the need for a new international agreement. He suggested that CBD and FAO deal with the scientific aspects of high seas MPAs, whereas the General Assembly and the Working Group concentrate on the legal and technical aspects, to ensure consistency with UNCLOS.

Co-Chair Philip Burgess and Andrew Brooke, Australia, speak with ENBer Elisa Morgera.
Side Event co-sponsored by Conservation International and UNEP
Sylvia Earle, Conservation International, makes a presentation on Marine Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction: Charting a Course for Sustainability

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