Published by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 05 No. 126
23 April 1999
THURSDAY, 22 APRIL 1999
Thirty high-level government officials presented statements on
oceans and seas to CSD-7 delegates during morning and afternoon
sessions of the High-Level Segment. Participants also engaged in
an interactive dialogue on oceans issues.
On the Global Programme of Action on the Protection of the
Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), several
speakers stressed the importance of accelerating its
implementation. CHINA noted that a lack of financial resources
and management expertise constrains developing countries
capacity to implement the GPA, and said developed countries
should bear greater responsibility for marine protection. The EU
stressed that all States must develop or review national action
programmes and identify obstacles to GPA implementation. NIGERIA
called for multilateral agencies, including the GEF, to
prioritize GPA activity. NORWAY welcomed the establishment of
The Hague coordination office and the clearing-house mechanism.
SOUTH AFRICA pointed to the sustainability of marine resources
as key to the eradication of poverty. The PHILIPPINES called on
developed countries to take the lead in improving consumption
and production patterns. The UK noted the effects of burning
fossil fuel on coral reefs, which provide an early warning of
the threats of global warming, pollution and over-exploitation.
The SOUTH PACIFIC GROUP called on the CSD to support the
International Coral Reef Initiative and implementation of the
CBD Jakarta Mandate. AUSTRALIA urged the development and
implementation of marine protected areas in domestic waters and
on the high seas.
On living marine resources, ICELAND supported FAOs work to
develop voluntary guidelines for eco-labelling of fish products
and stressed that they must be scientifically based, easily
verifiable and transparently applied. CHINA called for studies
by FAO on how such eco-labels may result in non-tariff trade
barriers and their possible impacts on developing countries. The
EU emphasized measures to enforce sustainable limits on
exploitation of specific fish stocks and develop international
instruments such as plans for by-catch reduction. The
PHILIPPINES noted the recognition that a reduction of fishing
subsidies is necessary to address over-fishing. JAPAN stated
that, in certain cases, subsidies help realize socio-economic
policy goals, contribute to the reduction of excessive fishing
capacity, and should not be singled out as being responsible for
excessive fishing capacity. COLOMBIA emphasized the need to
address the social and economic components of living marine
resource conservation. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said sea-bed mining
policy should recognize fishing interests. ICELAND suggested
establishing an intergovernmental panel on marine pollution.
INDIA called for support to developing countries for capacity
building to augment scientific knowledge of oceans.
AUSTRALIA supported the FAOs development of a global plan of
action to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
(IUU). NIGERIA and FRANCE called on the CSD and other UN bodies
to prioritize IUU, especially by vessels flying flags of
convenience. NORWAY said no nation should allow its flag to be
used as a flag of convenience and called on the CSD to encourage
FAO prioritization in this area.
On international coordination and cooperation on oceans issues,
the EU underscored the need for a more comprehensive and
coordinated approach and to make use of existing arrangements
and mechanisms. DENMARK called for increased effectiveness of
existing institutions and political will to implement
agreements. ICELAND said global bodies should not attempt to
solve local fisheries management problems where local action is
required. PORTGUAL proposed that a review of the mandates and
activities of UN ocean-related agencies be submitted to the
General Assembly (GA) next year with the CSD's recommendations.
CANADA proposed holding senior-level meetings under the GA to
identify gaps and establishing a panel of experts on oceans and
fisheries. FRANCE described existing global monitoring
arrangements by UN bodies as piecemeal and, along with
AUSTRALIA, the SOUTH PACIFIC GROUP and others, called for an
open-ended working group to meet annually and make
recommendations to the GA. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said the South
Pacific Groups proposed working group would use existing
institutions and financial resources and should provide for
major group participation. MEXICO also called for broad
participation in an open-ended working group. COLOMBIA said it
is important to avoid creating new bureaucratic mechanisms with
financial implications. IRELAND called for institutional renewal
rather than new institutions. ALGERIA, INDIA, COLOMBIA, IRELAND
and others stressed that the GA is the competent forum for
decision making on ocean issues.
On regional cooperation, LITHUANIA, NIGERIA, NORWAY, MONACO,
MALAYSIA and MADAGASCAR highlighted successes from regional and
sub-regional cooperation on marine protection and management.
NORWAY, MADAGASCAR, ALGERIA and others called for revitalizing
and strengthening UNEPs Regional Seas Programme. FRANCE
supported making full use of existing regional arrangements,
including the activities of UNEP. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said
the CSD should not remain silent about the environmental
consequences of the Balkan war and proposed conducting an
investigation to see how to avoid an ecological catastrophe.
On land-based sources of marine pollution, NORWAY supported
holding a global conference on sewage, noted the need to support
developing countries and highlighted the importance of a legally
binding instrument on POPs. EGYPT said the GPA should be
translated into a legally binding agreement. The US said
delegates at UNCED debated the need for a global treaty and
decided the issue was best addressed at the national and
regional levels. He noted that the GPA evolved as an alternative
and said the CSD should remedy insufficient GPA implementation.
UNEP said work was underway on establishing an office in The
Hague, on developing a strategic plan to cover all aspects of
the GPA and on leveraging resources for the clearing-house
mechanism. PAKISTAN highlighted a recent meeting for the UNEP
South Seas Programme during which countries agreed to promote
greater exchange of information to combat land-based pollution.
MOZAMBIQUE reported on African States efforts to develop
partnerships to implement oceans and seas agreements. IUCN
called for greater inclusion of NGOs in the GPA process.
On international agreements, the NETHERLANDS called for a
convention on international environmental crime with compliance
instruments including sanctions to deal with marine pollution.
He said such a convention could deal with sanctions for flag
States and ship owners. The UK supported the call for greater
sanctions if countries do not respect their obligations. The US
said "the enemy is us," as the same governments are behind the
various agencies who appear to contradict one another.
Chair Upton invited comments on consistency of approaches by
international agencies. EGYPT said the CSD should call on
governments to create better coordination at the national level.
Under-Secretary-General Nitin Desai agreed that the problem is
at the national level where different areas of responsibility
rarely reside in one place. INDIA called for support for
developing countries to achieve greater coordination. DENMARK
said different national agencies take different decisions
according to the levels of public scrutiny and invited
governments to sign the Aarhus agreement that provides for
public access to information. On marine science, MEXICO and
COSTA RICA called on the CSD to recommend that UN agencies
coordinate to improve scientific assessment of El Niño and its
impacts on climate change and biodiversity. ICELAND recommended
considering the establishment of an intergovernmental panel on
scientific aspects of marine pollution. SWEDEN highlighted the
importance of POPs negotiations for the marine environment.
On living marine resources, the US stressed that there are
key issues that need to be addressed: by-catch and destructive
fishing practices, IUU, and subsidies. CANADA noted that the
fishing industry targets certain species of fish when faced with
a prohibition. On over-capacity and subsidies, BRAZIL said the
CSD should not lose sight of common but differentiated
responsibilities. The FAO said the latest estimate of the
fishing industrys discards is 20 million tons per year. The WWF
said 90% of fishing subsidies are administered in direct
violation of WTO reporting requirements. IRELAND called for
greater research into methods and equipment to avoid by-catch.
The Chair suggested that setting a quality outcome target could
drive investment in equipment. The EU said the CSD must push
States to examine subsidies and over-capacity and that IUU is a
major issue for the FAO. He invited the CSD to press for a
mandatory instrument giving full effect to UNCLOS provisions.
SWEDEN highlighted the need to strengthen regional fishery and
monitoring capacity. The US called on the CSD to urge States to
bring the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and FAO compliance agreement
into force. ICELAND said the abolition of government subsidies
would resolve trade disputes and problems with over-fishing.
JAPAN suggested waiting for FAO to complete its examination on
over-capacity and subsidies.
INDONESIA and MADAGASCAR noted that small-scale fishermen's
subsistence is often affected by industrialized fishing fleets
and by IUU. NORWAY indicated the usefulness of the FAO
compliance agreement to deal with the problem of flags of
convenience and highlighted the role of regional organizations
in taking measures against illegal fishing practices. The FAO
and Trade Unions called attention to the recently adopted FAO
ministerial declaration on combating all forms of IUU. BARBADOS
mentioned work on an initiative to declare the Caribbean Sea a
special environmental zone.
On international coordination and cooperation, several speakers
agreed with Chair Upton's observation that delegates are seeking
to broaden and deepen the discussion in the GA. PORTUGAL
supported an ad hoc group with participation of NGOs and UN
organizations. BRAZIL said the gaps and overlaps should be
identified and then the GA should decide how to proceed. Hans
Corell, Head of the UN Legal Department, noted that the GA
discussions cover a wide variety of issues, highlighted the
timing constraints for producing Secretary-Generals reports,
and suggested that the CSD could recommend that an early report
be prepared on a specific issue for consideration prior to the
GA and then the GA could receive its broader report as usual.
TURKEY said the CSD should express support for regional
cooperation. SOUTH AFRICA stressed the need to move from client-
donor relationships to identifying partnerships. CAMEROON
supported the strengthening of sub-regional instruments of
coordination on ocean issues. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION asked UNEP
if it shared its concern about the war in Yugoslavia and thought
it necessary to conduct an ecological investigation of its
environmental consequences. UNEP responded that its offices in
Nairobi and Geneva have undertaken preliminary measures to
consider the necessary data to take action.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Informal negotiations on the draft CSD contribution to the GA
Special Session on SIDS reconvened Thursday evening.
Representatives of SIDS are seeking CSD support for special
dispensation in international trade bodies to help them resist
the impact of trade globalization. Ministers are expected to
take up the issue during the High-Level Segment Friday.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The High-Level Segment will work as a
preparatory body for the Special Session on SIDS during the
morning and will discuss changing consumption and production
patterns during the afternoon. Both meetings will take place in
Conference Room 1. The Chairs summary of the High-Level
Segments guidance for elements for CSD-7 decisions will be
distributed in the afternoon.
SIDE EVENTS: See CSD Today for today's side events.