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The second substantive session of the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks will take place from 14-31 March in New York. This session is expected to focus primarily on the negotiating text prepared by the Chair of the Conference at the conclusion of the first substantive session in July 1993. The structure of the negotiating text is as follows:

Although there was not consensus at the end of the July session that this negotiating text would serve as the basis for future negotiation, it appears as though delegates have reached an understanding with the Chair that this document will be the focus at the second session. During the July session one of the issues was whether or not the final outcome of the Conference would be legally-binding. The Chair's negotiating text represents a list of non-legally- binding recommendations. During the July session, a number of like-minded States advocated a legally-binding approach and submitted a draft convention to be considered by the Conference. This document, however, was never used as the basis for negotiation as the Chair favored a consensus approach and did not think that this draft Convention had enough support. Although this draft convention may not be the basis for negotiations in March, it is likely that it will lurk in the shadows and may emerge again should its sponsors, including Canada, Iceland, Chile and Argentina, believe this action to be appropriate. [Return to start of article]