On 16 November 1993, Guyana became the 60th State to ratify the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS). Consequently, the Convention will come into force on 16 November 1994. The Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks is widely perceived as consistent with UNCLOS and would benefit greatly from its entry into force. At present, only one developed State has ratified the Law of the Sea Convention and negotiations are ongoing to make it more acceptable to others. Negotiations on the so-called "boat paper" are being carried out under the supervision of the UN Secretary-General in an attempt to bridge differences between the pioneer States who have invested heavily in deep sea-bed mining technology and developing country representatives who want to preserve the deep sea-bed's status as the Common Heritage of Mankind. It is expected that an agreement will be reached in 1994 and a draft resolution could be presented for adoption at the 49th session of the UN General Assembly.
The second substantive session of the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks opened on Monday, March 14 1994 at UN Headquarters in New York. After a day of general statements, the Conference convened in informal session to begin a first section-by-section reading of A/CONF.164/13*. The work schedule was to include parallel meetings of two different working groups to address the two major technical concepts, the precautionary approach, and reference points for fisheries management. Because some small delegations felt they would be unable to participate fully in those working groups if they were held in parallel to the Plenary session, the Chair suggested that an initial general debate would be held in Plenary on these matters, that the technical debate would then be carried out by the working groups, and that their reports would be presented back to the Plenary and be integrated in the final negotiating text.
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