Any new treaty to improve governance of the high seas must ensure healthy resilient Oceans and seas, promote greater coherence, and complement the relevant existing instruments, frameworks and sectoral bodies.
This was the clear message put forward by the Pacific Islands Forum at the opening of the second session of the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) on an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Speaking on behalf of the Forum chair, Nauru’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Margo Deiye, highlighted that Forum members were ready to do their part to conclude the negotiations by 2020.
“The Forum wants the new treaty on the Conservation and Sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) to improve overall governance of high seas.
“As a region of navigators, we recognise that even with the best navigation, we must continue do the hard work, moving the oars in concert with one another, if we are to reach our destination,” said Ms Deiye.
Delegations from members of the Pacific Islands Forum who are currently negotiating at the United Nations Headquarters in New York indicated that the new BBNJ instrument must incorporate and recognise the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as the special case of Small Island Developing States and the interests of adjacent coastal States.
“This instrument needs to improve the kind of global management and conservation of areas beyond national jurisdictions, which is needed to protect our marine environment beyond the status quo, enable us to halt the loss of our valuable and precious marine biodiversity and make good on the commitments we have made to ensure a healthy and resilient Ocean,” said Ms Deiye.
In the lead-up to the Second Session of the IGC, the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner convened a preparatory workshop for the Pacific’s negotiators in Suva.
At the opening of the Suva workshop, the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Dame Meg Taylor emphasised the need to placing people of the Blue Pacific region at the center of the negotiations and reminded participants’ that the negotiations in New York would provide a momentous opportunity for the Pacific to fully realise the Blue Pacific Continent.
The second session of the IGC will meet until April 5th.
In addition to representatives of members of the Pacific Islands Forum, a group of legal and technical experts drawn from the Pacific Ocean Alliance, and especially CROP agencies, are attending the session to provide assistance and support towards the advancement of the Pacific’s negotiating positions in accordance with the mandate given by Forum Leaders.
Source: Press Release, Pacific Island Forum