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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 Friday, 17 February 2006

On Friday, 17 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) completed its work with discussions based on a draft Co-Chairs' summary of trends, circulated on Thursday evening. The Co-Chairs' summary of trends is to be read in conjunction with the summary of discussions of the Working Group, which will be circulated after the end of the meeting. Both summaries will be transmitted, as an addendum to the report of the Secretary-General on oceans and the law of the sea, to the 61st session of the General Assembly.

Co-Chair Burgess gaveled the meeting to a close at 1:27pm.

ENB Summary
Síntesis del BNT
Compte Rendu du BNT
Co-Chairs Juan Manuel Gomez-Robledo and Philip Burgess, and Alice Hicuburundi, Burundi

Co-Chair Burgess (left) informed delegates that the comments expressed on the Co-Chairs’ summary will be taken into account in the finalization of the document. He congratulated delegates for having addressed a complex web of issues, and underscored the general willingness to continue discussions on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, highlighting the need for an integrated and focused approach. He also stressed the need for short- and long-term action, and remarked that there is not as much time to address threats to marine biodiversity as that once available to the drafters of UNCLOS. Closing the discussion on the draft Co-Chairs’ summary of trends, Co-Chair Gomez-Robledo (right) thanked participants for the frank exchange of views and for a constructive week of deliberations. Co-Chair Burgess with ENBer Elisa Morgera (right)


Co-Chairs Juan Manuel Gomez-Robledo and Philip Burgess speak with Margaret Hayes, US (left). During her intervention, Margaret Hayes, US, lamented that the Co-Chairs' summary of trends did not accurately reflect the areas of convergence on ways forward emerging from the discussions, such as the urgent need for: implementation of existing instruments; additional MSR on resources beyond areas of national jurisdiction; and capacity building and resource management in developing countries. She suggested deletion of a number of paragraphs, including on: the need for previous environmental impact assessments; the language on coastal States and sedentary species in the continental shelf not accurately reflecting the provisions of UNCLOS; and text on area-based management tools failing to mention the linkage between threats and management measures.


Stuart Beck, Palau (left), noted that sufficient evidence exists for prompt action, particularly for an interim prohibition on bottom-trawling. He further reiterated the inability of RFMOs to regulate IUU fishing. Emma Sarne, Philippines (center), expressed its concerns about activities in the high seas and in other areas beyond national jurisdiction, and said that MSR activities must be restricted and regulated. Lori Ridgeway, Canada (right), emphasized that the Co-Chairs' summary should capture the tremendous progress and sense of momentum achieved in the working group.


Gerard Hafner, Austria, speaking for the EU (left), presented reflections on the document, stressing: the need to advance from a sectoral to an integrated approach; that further studies are not needed to verify the existing governance gap prior to moving forward on the establishment of a new implementation agreement; that multipurpose MPAs are the key tool to manage biodiversity and vital for establishing a global representative network of MPAs before 2012; and, that the list of specific studies should not require to be completed before any action is taken. Sivuyile Mqungo, South Africa, speaking for the G-77/China (right), noted that a number of issues should have been reflected differently, and taking into account that the document was not to be negotiated, he acknowledged it as part of a package and a step in the right direction.

Allieu Kanu, Sierra Leone (left), said the section of the Co-Chairs' summary of trends on the rights of coastal States on the continental shelf reflects the provisions of UNCLOS. Pok-Keun Yuh, Republic of Korea (right), said the term “destructive fishing practices” should be used only to describe bottom trawling. He also asked the Co-Chairs to reflect his country's opposition to the establishment of MPAs in the high seas.

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