Bigfin reef squid from the Philippines. Photo by Marcelo Halpern
The third session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) began in New York on Monday. For this meeting, delegates have, as a basis for their negotiations, a draft text of an agreement containing treaty language, prepared by IGC President Rena Lee (Singapore) and the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.
In opening statements, both IGC President Rena Lee and Under Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel Miguel de Serpa Soares pointed to the recent Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), noting that BBNJ can be a part of “turning the tide” on global biodiversity loss.
As delegates exchanged general views and began an in-depth consideration of the draft text, the highlights of the first day include, inter alia:
Divergence in understanding on fundamental issues, including the timeframe for the conclusion of discussions on the ILBI;
Agreement on the need to have an article on “General Objectives,” separate from objectives relating to specific aspects of the 2011 package;
Divergence on the application of the instrument, and the need for a separate article on sovereign immunity, given that this is reflected in UNCLOS; and
Discussions on the future instrument’s relationship with existing instruments and frameworks.
In their general statements, several supported the common heritage of humankind as an overarching principle governing marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. Many also highlighted the importance of capacity building and the transfer of marine technology to operationalize the future instrument.
In the corridors, delegates and participants exchanged ideas on the potential trade-off between the timely conclusion of the IGC considerations and the quality of the new treaty. While some cautioned against “self-imposed” deadlines, others underscored the urgency of the issues under discussion, stressing that “time matters.” Most agreed, however, that informal deliberations throughout the session will allow for fine-tuning the text and hopefully bridging existing divergent opinions.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB Meeting Coverage, has provided daily web coverage, daily reports, and a summary and analysis report from BBNJ IGC-3. The summary and analysis report is now available in HTML and PDF.
L-R: Dais during the opening session with Miguel de Serpa Soares, Secretary-General of the IGC, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel; IGC President Rena Lee, Singapore; Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, Director, UN Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS); Alice Hicuburundi, UNDOALOS; and Charlotte Salpin, UNDOALOS
IGC President Rena Lee, Singapore
Miguel de Serpa Soares, Secretary-General of the IGC, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel
Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, UNDOALOS
Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Palestine, on behalf of the G-77/China
Perks Ligoya, Malawi, on behalf of the Least Developed Countries
Andreas Papaconstantinou, EU
Martin Mainero and Fernando Marani, Argentina, reviewing draft text
Janine Coye-Felson, Belize, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
Carlos Mata, Uruguay, on behalf of the Like-Minded Latin American Countries
Essam Yassin Mohammed, Eritrea
Yang Liu, China
Juliette Babb-Riley, Barbados, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Juan Cuéllar Torres, Colombia, on behalf of UNCLOS non-parties
Delegates from Chile consulting
Evan Bloom, US
Yedla Umasankar, India
Mohammad Kurniadi Koba, Indonesia
Anne Christine Brusendorff, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
Peggy Kalas, High Seas Alliance
Rishy Bukoree, Mauritius
L-R: Muhammad Taufan, Haryo Nugroho, and Sora Lokita, Indonesia
Informal Working Group on Cross-cutting Issues
Lionel Yee, Singapore
Hwang Junshik, Republic of Korea
Diedre Mills, Jamaica
Yocasta Valenzuela, Dominican Republic
Ma. Angela Ponce, the Philippines
Luis Oña Garcés, Ecuador
Side Event presented by Greenpeace and High Seas Alliance: A Strong Global Ocean Treaty, Javier Bardem is onboard, are you?
L-R: Farah Yasmin Obaidullah, Women4Oceans; Sofia Tsenikli, Greenpeace International; Javier Bardem, Actor and environmental activist; Sandra Schöttner, Greenpeace Germany; and Jennifer Jacquet, New York University
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