10 December 2007
General Assembly
GA/10670

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly

Plenary

64th & 65th Meetings (AM & PM)


General Assembly appropriates $993 million for Capital Master Plan in 2008-2009;


Authorizes ‘accelerated strategy’ proposed by Secretary-General


Also Adopts Texts on Question of Palestine, Middle East, Climate Change;

Begins Debate on Oceans and Law of Sea on Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Convention


Concerned about the costs of further delaying the renovation of the United Nations New York Headquarters, the General Assembly today apportioned nearly $1 billion for the long-gestating project, which will relocate thousands of employees and delegates while the Organization’s antiquated complex is being overhauled.


Acting on the recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the Assembly approved by consensus a resolution appropriating $992.77 million for the 2008-2009 biennium for the refurbishment of the complex -- the so-called Capital Master Plan -- while suggesting no changes in the payment schedule for Member States’ contributions to the project, which had been agreed upon last year.


In 2006, the Assembly approved a total budget of $1.88 billion for the Plan and a financing mechanism through Member States’ assessments, while also instructing the Secretary-General to “make every effort to avoid budget increases” and to submit “possible options” on how to remain within the approved budget.


With the project behind schedule, United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon this year proposed an accelerated strategy to save money on construction by speeding up the renovation, in particular by emptying the entire 39-story Secretariat Building in one phase, instead of the four-step process envisioned in the plan approved by the Assembly last year.  This scenario would require more office swing space off site, but the costs of such space would be offset by the lowered cost of the renovation itself, which would be completed by 2013 instead of 2016.


Taking note of Mr. Ban’s proposal, the Assembly authorized him to enter into an additional swing space arrangement needed for a single-phase renovation of the Secretariat Building “as a matter of urgency”.  The Assembly also approved the changes in the schedule of renovation work proposed by Mr. Ban, subject to the availability of the additional swing space, and specified that, should such an arrangement not be entered into within 120 days, the Secretary-General should proceed without further delay with the phased approach to the renovation approved by the Assembly in resolution 61/251 of last year.


Reiterating its serious concern at the “hazards, risks and deficiencies of [the Building] in its current condition, which endanger the safety, health and well-being of staff, delegations, visitors and tourists”, the Assembly today also requested the Secretary-General to ensure that concrete safeguards were in place during the project to “ensure full accountability for the delays, lack of responsiveness of management to the needs of the Plan, and other factors that had contributed to the delays and projected budget overrun”.


The action capped a day when the Assembly also began its annual debate on the oceans and law of the sea -- which featured the participation of some 35 delegations -- and adopted texts on the Middle East and the question of Palestine, as well as a report by the Second Committee on climate protection.


By a traditionally wide margin the Assembly adopted a resolution on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine by a vote of 161 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Tonga, Vanuatu) (Annex IV).  The text states that the momentum generated at last month’s Middle East peace conference at Annapolis, Maryland, had helped set the stage for immediate follow-up negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Paris on 12 December, in which Israeli settlements will figure prominently.


By its terms, the Assembly stressed the urgent need for sustained and active international involvement, including by the diplomatic Quartet, to support both parties in revitalizing the peace process towards the resumption of direct talks to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement, on the basis of United Nations resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet-backed “Road Map” peace plan.  It also called on parties to exert all efforts to halt the deterioration of the situation and reverse all measures taken on the ground since 28 September 2000.


Among the other resolutions adopted under that issue was a text on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, adopted by recorded vote of 109 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 55 abstentions (Annex I).


A resolution on the division for Palestinian rights of the Secretariat was approved by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 54 abstentions (Annex II); the text on special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information was adopted by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Tonga, Vanuatu) (Annex III).


The Assembly then adopted two resolutions on the situation in the Middle East.  By a text on Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 160 in favour to 6 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions (Angola, Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu) (Annex V), the Assembly reiterated its determination that any actions taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and, therefore, null and void, calling on Israel to cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.


It further stressed that a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and Israeli sides, and include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and conscience of its inhabitants.


By a resolution on the Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 111 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions (Annex VI), the Assembly declared that Israel had failed to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and that the Israeli decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void.


The Assembly determined the occupation of the Syrian Golan was a stumbling block in achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region, and called on Israel to resume talks on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks.  It further demanded that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the 1967 lines, and called upon the parties concerned, the co-sponsors of the peace process and the entire international community to exert all necessary efforts to ensure the resumption of the peace process.


Acting on the recommendation of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial), the Assembly adopted without vote a resolution recognizing the serious risks posed to all countries by climate change, especially developing countries, small island and African States.  It reaffirmed efforts to address climate change in a manner that boosts sustainable development and economic growth of the developing countries.


The Assembly also called upon all States to take urgent global action to address the phenomenon in accordance with the principles identified in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including that of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and, in this regard, urged all countries to fully implement their commitments under the Convention, to take effective and concrete actions and measures at all levels, and to enhance international cooperation in the framework of the Convention.


Ahead of that action, the Assembly retained operative paragraph 11 of that resolution by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 2 against ( Japan, United States) with no abstentions (Annex VII).  By that paragraph, the Assembly would “request the Secretary-General to make provisions for the sessions of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its subsidiary bodies in his proposals for the programme budget for the biennium of the 2008-2009”.


Opening the Assembly’s annual consideration of oceans and law of the sea, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening for signature of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The Law of the Sea regime had been one of the Organization’s major achievements in its quest to strengthen peace, security and cooperation among all nations, and included innovative concepts in the development of international law.  Further, it provided an impetus for the conclusion of other instruments related to ocean use, such as the conservation, management and sustainable use of living marine resources.


At the same time, implementation of some of the Convention’s provisions had lagged, she said.  Fisheries continued to be depleted and the marine environment had been degraded by pollution from various sources, including climate change.  Transnational organized crime, the smuggling of persons and piracy also presented major threats.  The United Nations had noted with concern that such illegal activities were on the rise in some regions.  Smuggled persons raised maritime issues that required urgent attention, as did issues around the adaptation of coastal communities.


As such challenges transcended national boundaries, addressing them required States to work together at the national, regional and global levels, she said.  It also required cooperation to ensure that all parties had the legal, institutional, economic, technical and scientific capacity to abide by the Convention.  The treaty remained the fundamental basis of peace and security in the oceans.  With 155 parties to date, it was one of few international agreements that had been widely applied, including by many non-parties.  She encouraged those that had not yet done so, to consider becoming parties to the Convention.


Among the issues covered in the subsequent debate, delegates raised concerns about unlawful uses of the seas, notably through destructive fishing practices, piracy and maritime terrorism.  Many called for improving compliance with existing shark fishing regulations to restrict “fining”, a practice which had caused the world’s shark population to dwindle.  Many said “unprecedented” efforts were needed to significantly reduce the loss of biological diversity by 2010.   Portugal’s representative said the convening of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group on such issues would provide the Assembly with an opportunity to carry its work forward.


Tonga’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group, said her delegation shared the common goal of harnessing the value of marine resources in the region and ensuring their sustainable conservation and management.  The Pacific Island regional waters were home to fish stocks of global importance, much of which fell within the national jurisdiction of small island developing States.  Thus, she stressed the importance of capacity-building initiatives.


She went on to say that illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing was the greatest threat to the future sustainability of regional marine resources, and strongly supported calls for urgent action to address that issue.  Effective management of threatened stock levels would provide benefits for all Forum countries.  As an example, she said the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization aimed to fill a crucial gap in the management of high-seas fisheries in the South Pacific Ocean.


The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), also highlighted the critical importance of the oceans and seas as the common heritage of mankind, stressing that the Caribbean Sea and its neighbouring oceans were critical to the very existence of CARICOM States.  On international shipping activities, he said safe, secure and crime-free routes for navigation, and the implementation of international rules and standards for improving maritime safety, must form part of a comprehensive programme aimed at protecting maritime trade.


The Community was particularly concerned by the transport of radioactive materials.  Indeed, the region’s fragile marine ecosystem -- as well as health and livelihoods -- faced the risk of irreparable damage in the event of an accident during the transport of such materials.  While CARICOM States continued to recognize the principles of freedom of navigation and innocent passage, they also continued to urge States concerned not to use the Caribbean Sea as a route for the shipment of nuclear materials.


He went on to say the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances continued to be a matter of concern.  To effectively respond to the challenge, CARICOM States, in collaboration with the heads of national drug law enforcement agencies in other regions, had expressed support for the strengthening of law enforcement cooperation at the national and regional levels.  At the same time, he said, while the Community welcomed such cooperation in drug interdiction in its regional waters, it would reiterate that such cooperation should not be confined to drug trafficking.  It should be extended to include the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, which threatened stability in the region.


The representatives of Brazil and the United States introduced the two draft resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea and sustainable fisheries.


Also participating in the debate on oceans and the law of the sea were the representatives of Portugal (speaking on behalf of the European Union), Viet Nam, Egypt, Tunisia, Cuba, Namibia, China, Monaco, India, Norway, Guatemala, Kenya, Australia, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Iceland, Venezuela, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Canada.


The representative of Senegal introduced the draft resolutions on the Question of Palestine.


The representatives of Panama spoke in explanation of vote before action was taken on those texts.


Speaking in explanation of vote were the representatives of Portugal (speaking on behalf of the European Union), the United States, Iran, Israel, Argentina and Australia.


The representatives of Portugal, Syria and the Permanent Observer of Palestine made statements after the vote.  The representative of Hungary clarified his positions on the votes.


The President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority also spoke as observers.


The General Assembly will reconvene tomorrow, Tuesday 11 December, at 10 a.m. to hold a high-level plenary on the follow-up to the outcome of the 2002 special session on children.


Background


The General Assembly met today to take up questions related to oceans and the law of the sea and to sustainable fisheries.


The Assembly has before it a letter dated 30 July 2007 from the Co-Chairpersons of the Consultative Process addressed to the President of the General Assembly, which transmits the report on the work of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative on Oceans and the Law of the Sea at its eighth meeting (document A/62/169).  Part A of the report summarizes the discussions held during the eighth meeting, which took place from 25 to 29 June 2007 and focused on marine genetic resources.  Part B contains information on issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the General Assembly on oceans and the law of the sea.  The Co-Chairpersons’ possible elements on marine genetic resources, the focus of that meeting, are included in the report’s annex.  Intended to be suggestions for the General Assembly’s future consideration under the agenda item “Oceans and the law of the sea”, they are proposed by the Co-Chairpersons in absence of the agreed consensual elements referred to in paragraph 6(a) of the format and annotated agenda for the eighth meeting (A/AC.259/L.8).


Also before the Assembly is the Secretary-General’s report on sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments (document A/62/260).  The report contains information on steps and initiatives taken or recommended by the international community to improve the conservation and management of fishery resources and other marine living resources, with a view to achieving sustainable fisheries and protecting marine ecosystems and biodiversity. 


The report emphasizes the importance of the full implementation by States of all international fishery instruments, whether legally binding or voluntary, which promote the conservation and sustainability of marine living resources.  It also emphasizes the importance of cooperation among States to address unsustainable fishing practices and promote sustainable fisheries in areas beyond national jurisdiction through implementing their responsibilities as flag States of existing organizations or arrangements, or by establishing new organizations or arrangements where none exist.  It also includes a brief report on the status and activities of the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement Assistance Fund.


The Assembly also has before it a 10 October 2007 letter from the Permanent Representatives of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua to the Secretary-General (document A/62/486), transmitting a copy of the Managua Declaration:  The Gulf of Fonseca, a zone of peace, sustainable development and security. The Declaration, signed on 4 October 2007 by the Presidents of those countries, outlines “a new era of collaboration” in order to address and resolve issues relating to the Gulf of Fonseca by means of an open and constructive dialogue.


Also before the Assembly is a 22 October 2007 letter from the Permanent Representatives of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to the Secretary-General (document A/62/518), which provides information on the meeting on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore convened by those Governments and the International Maritime Organization.  The meeting provided an avenue for engagement between littoral States and other interested parties on matters relating to the safety, security and environmental protection of the Straits.  The meeting formally established the Cooperative Mechanism to this end and produced the Singapore Statement, which is included in the annex and which emphasizes the need to continue supporting the work of the Tripartite Technical Expert Group on Safety of Navigation in enhancing the navigation and protection of the marine environment of the Straits.


The Assembly has before it the Secretary-General’s report on oceans and the law of the sea (document A/62/66), which was also submitted to States parties to the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea.  As the basis for discussion at the eighth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, the report contains information on marine genetic resources, the topic for that meeting.  It also provides information on the status of the Convention and its implementing agreements, declarations and statements made by States under articles 287, 298 and 310; State practice regarding maritime space.


Issues in the following areas are also covered:  recent developments in international shipping activities; people at sea; maritime security; marine science and technology; conservation and management of marine living resources; marine biodiversity; protection and preservation of the marine environment; climate change; small island developing States; settlement of disputes; and international cooperation and coordination.  Capacity-building activities of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea are also presented.


The report concludes that oceans and seas require increasingly urgent attention, noting also that related issues are multidisciplinary, interconnected and becoming more complex.  An effective response will require integrated, coordinated and cooperative approaches.


Among the emerging interdisciplinary issues is the use of marine genetic resources, which presents a particular challenge given the scientific, technological, socio-economic, environmental, policy and legal issues it raises.  The report calls for studies to comprehend both the full level of activities related to the issue and the nature of partnerships between the public and private sectors, and among public institutions from different States.  Priority must also be given to managing human activities that adversely impact marine ecosystems to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of ocean resources.


An addendum to the report on oceans and the law of the sea (document A/62/66/Add.1) contains information to update the March report through July.  As of July, the number of States parties stood at 155; there were 129 parties to the Agreement relating to the implementation of the Convention’s Part XI; and the number of parties to the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement rose to 67.  The report is also intended to be taken up by the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention to provide them with information on issues of a general nature. 


Intended to be read with the main report, the addendum covers such issues as the Convention’s status, State practices regarding maritime space, the work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and the International Seabed Authority, international shipping activities, people at sea, maritime security, marine science conservation, management of marine living resources, marine biological diversity, protection and preservation of the marine environment, sustainable development, small island developing States, climate change, dispute settlement, international coordination and cooperation and the capacity-building activities of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.


A second addendum to the report on oceans and the law of the sea (document A/62/66/Add.2) provides more information on issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.  The report is intended to assist the second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study such.


The report is intended to be read in conjunction with recent reports from the Secretary-General on oceans the law of the sea and sustainable fisheries, as well as the report of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group and the report of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative on Oceans and the Law of the Sea -– known as the “Consultative Process”.  It presents information on the environmental impacts of anthropogenic activities on marine biological diversity, coordination and cooperation among States and relevant intergovernmental organizations and bodies for the conservation and management of marine biological diversity, the role of area-based management tools and genetic resources.  It also investigates whether there is a governance or regulatory gap and, if so, how it should be addressed.


The Assembly also had before it a 13-part draft resolution on Sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments (document A/62/L.24), which, among other things, recognizes the urgent need for action at all levels to ensure the long-term sustainable use and management of fisheries resources through application of the precautionary approach.


The draft calls for action in the areas of achieving sustainable fisheries and implementing the 1995 Agreement and related fisheries instruments, highlighting recommendations from the 2006 Review Conference on the Agreement.  It further outlines actions vis-à-vis illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; monitoring, control, surveillance; compliance and enforcement of measures; fishing overcapacity; large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing; fisheries by-catch and discards; sub-regional and regional cooperation; responsible fisheries in the marine ecosystem; capacity building; and finally, cooperation within the United Nations system.


For the General Assembly’s sixty-third session, the Secretary-General would be requested to submit a report on the subject which takes into account information provided by States, relevant specialized agencies -– particularly the Food and Agriculture Organization -- and other appropriate United Nations bodies.


Statement by Deputy Secretary-General


Deputy Secretary-General ASHA-ROSE MIGIRO, addressing the Assembly on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said today marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening for signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The Convention had been a major achievement of the United Nations in its quest to strengthen peace, security and cooperation among all nations, and included innovative concepts in the development of international law.  Further, it provided an impetus for the conclusion of other instruments related to ocean use, such as the conservation, management and sustainable use of living marine resources.


She said the global regime set out in the Convention had replaced uncertainty with clarity, paving the way for increased international cooperation.  Moreover, it was the first multilateral treaty which provided for compulsory dispute settlement mechanisms.  Over the last 25 years, considerable progress had been made.  Conflicts had been avoided, pollution was being addressed and oceanic knowledge had improved through marine scientific research.


At the same time, implementation of some of the Convention’s provisions had lagged, she said.  Fisheries continued to be depleted, and the marine environment degraded by pollution from various sources, including climate change.  Transnational organized crime, the smuggling of persons and piracy also presented major threats.  The Secretary-General’s reports had noted with concern that such illegal activities were on the rise in some regions.  Smuggled persons raised maritime issues that required urgent attention, as did issues around the adaptation of coastal communities.


As such challenges transcended national boundaries, addressing them required States to work together at the national, regional and global levels, she said.  It also required cooperation to ensure that all parties had the legal, institutional, economic, technical and scientific capacity to abide by the Convention.  The treaty remained the fundamental basis of peace and security in the oceans.  With 155 parties to date, it was one of few international agreements that had been widely applied, including by many non-parties.  She encouraged those that had not yet not done so, to consider becoming parties to the Convention.


In closing, she hoped the challenges ahead would be addressed in the same spirit of dedication that prevailed during the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, which led to the adoption of the Convention.  Nothing less was required if present and future generations were to benefit from the ocean’s bounty and achieve sustainable development.


Introduction of Draft Resolution on Oceans and the Law of the Sea


MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) introduced the draft resolution (document A/62/L.27).  She noted that it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea for signature, which, as the draft resolution emphasized, had a universal and unified character and set out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out.  The draft also emphasized the Convention’s contribution to the strengthening of peace, security, cooperation and friendly relations among all nations, to the promotion of economic and social development of all the world’s peoples and to the sustainable development of the oceans and seas.


She said the draft resolution further covered several oceans-related issues such as capacity-building, the effective functioning of the International Seabed Authority and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas, the work of the Commission on Limits of the Continental Shelf, maritime safety and security, marine science, marine environment and biodiversity.  The draft also noted the discussion of the legal regime on marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and called on States to further consider this issue.


The text endorsed the request to the Secretary-General to take timely measures to strengthen the capacity of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, she said.  It also expressed serious concern for other current and projected adverse effects of climate change on the marine environment and marine biodiversity, she said.  To that end, it called on States to enhance their efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  It also called on States and financial institutions to strengthen capacity–building in developing countries.  She expressed the sincere expectation that the draft could be adopted by the General Assembly. 


Speaking in her national capacity, she highlighted Brazil’s position among the first signatories to the Law of the Sea and its commitment since then to the Convention’s full implementation.  Brazil was also among the first countries to make a submission on the establishment of the continental shelf’s outer limits beyond 200 nautical miles, and was currently studying the recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.  In that, her delegation emphasized the continued need for active interaction between submitting States and the Commission, as the draft recognized.  She welcomed the draft’s provisions to address the Commission’s increasing workload due to those submissions.


The Commission’s adoption of common criteria concerning technical issues for which neither the Convention nor the Scientific and Technical Guidelines provided any specific guidance should be addressed as a matter of priority, she said.  She further noted that Brazil had ratified the Agreements relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the Convention and Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the International Seabed Authority last October, and was organizing a regional workshop with the Authority in 2008.


Reaching consensus on the outcome of the Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the sea on “Marine genetic resources”, however, had proven impossible, she said.  The next meeting of the working group dedicated to that topic would provide a useful opportunity to further understand and discuss the issue beyond areas of national jurisdiction.  The diverging view expressed during the eighth meeting of the consultative process highlighted concerns that the process was intended to facilitate and contribute to the General Assembly’s debates, not to replace or pre-empt them.  As such, it should allow for a better understanding of emerging and complex issues and help identify areas of enhanced coordination.  It was not a negotiating forum.


Turning to sustainable fisheries, she reiterated that the problem of excess fishing capacity came not only from illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries, but also from the oversized fishery fleets of some developed countries.  Developing countries had the legitimate right to develop their fisheries for straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks.  In closing, she emphasized the enduring nature of the new era launched by the Law of the Seas, which combined the traditional freedom of the seas with the principle of the international seabed as common heritage of mankind, the conservation of marine living resources and the protection of the marine environment.


Introduction of Draft Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries


KELLY KNIGHT, United States Public Delegate to the United Nations, introduced the draft resolution (document A/62/L.24).  She said that by working informally during the weeks between negotiating sessions –- particularly through “informal informals” -- language had been found that was acceptable to all delegations.  Noting that useful information and discussion that took place in the 2007 Informal Consultative Process on marine genetic resources had been incorporated into this year’s oceans resolution, she said that boded well for discussions in the spring’s Ad Hoc Working Group.  Her delegation also looked forward to the discussion during next summer’s informal consultative process on maritime security and safety issues.


She said the United States placed great importance on ensuring the freedom and safety of navigation, the rights of transit passage, archipelagic sea lanes passage and innocent passage in accord with international law, particularly the Convention.  The current draft on sustainable fisheries contained important provision to address such critical issues as control of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, reduction of fishing capacity, implementation of the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement and regulation of destructive fishing practices, among other important matters.  The most notable aspect of the resolution was perhaps the provision for the regulation of shark fisheries.  Her delegation sought strong results to address critical gaps in oceans governance in this resolution, and considered the draft’s provisions positive steps forward.  The United States would continue to further advance those issues bilaterally, through relevant regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements and in negotiations to establish new regional organizations.


She said the resolution further established other steps for the international community to take, including a resumption of consultations of the States Party to the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement.  She reaffirmed her country’s view of the Agreement’s significance, and urged all States not a party to the Agreement to become one.  She stressed that the Agreement was the foundation for negotiations to establish new regional agreements.


Saying that reducing the excess capacity of the world’s fishing fleets continued to be a high priority for her country, she noted that the text urged States to make reductions “commensurate with the sustainability of fish stocks”.  The resolution also recognized continuing efforts to address the problem of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and the upcoming negotiation of a legally binding port States regime would be a valuable opportunity to develop stronger controls.  Her delegation hoped to see port States take stronger measures to prevent the landing and transhipment in their ports of fish caught in contravention of existing regulatory regimes.


The annual sustainable fisheries resolution remained a relevant instrument through which the international community could highlight issues of concern and articulate ways to address them, she said.  Yet, much work remained to ensure the sustainability of global fish stocks.  Emphasizing that the regional fisheries management organizations must carry out this work and implement the guidance provided to the international community through the General Assembly’s resolutions, she urged all of those organizations to take timely and concrete action to those ends.


Noting the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening for signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, she said the treaty now waited consideration by the full United States Senate.  The United States was also making efforts to end overfishing, replenish its fish stocks and advance responsible stewardship, by -- among other things -- outlawing the sale of striped bass and red drum caught in federal waters, and returning the stocks of Atlantic sea scallops and swordfish to productive levels.  It was also conserving wetlands, which acted as “nature’s nurseries” by helping small fish survive before they headed to deeper waters.


Statements


JORGE DE LEMOS GODINHO ( Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said as new challenges emerged and the relevance of the oceans and seas was becoming more widely acknowledged, his delegation wished to reiterate the importance of maintaining the Convention’s integrity and the pre-eminence of its jurisdictional framework.  Stressing the importance of the principle of freedom of navigation, and the rights of innocent passage and transit passage, he reaffirmed that laws and regulations adopted by States bordering straits used for international navigation should not discriminate among foreign ships, or hamper the right of passage.  Further, port States should exercise their sovereignty in managing ports in a non-discriminatory manner and in line with the Convention.


He was deeply concerned about threats of piracy and armed robbery, and it was critical that the international community, through the relevant United Nations bodies, be actively engaged in combating those scourges.  Combating environmental degradation of the seas was also urgent, and an “unprecedented effort” was needed to significantly reduce the loss of biological diversity by 2010, as called for at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  The Union fully supported the Assembly’s initiatives on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, and looked forward to the convening of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group, as that would allow the Assembly to carry its work forward.


He said the Union’s commitment to developing an integrated approach to the sustainable management and conservation of the oceans was seen in the recent adoption of an Integrated Maritime Policy, the most important component of which sought joint solutions for stimulating economic growth and preventing environmental degradation.  He welcomed the upcoming Informal Consultative Process debate on maritime security and safety, saying it should focus on threats posed by piracy and armed robbery at sea.  The issue of maritime terrorism should not be overlooked.  He also looked forward to constructive debate on illegal migration by sea at the next meeting. 


The omnibus resolution made a timely call for stronger efforts in reducing the effects of climate change, he said, adding that his delegation, having taken into account the Commission’s heavy workload, fully endorsed the request of States parties to strengthen the capacity of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.  He reiterated the call for improved cooperation between United Nations agencies and other bodies as a basis for improved oceans policymaking.


Turning to the illegal use of the seas, he said importing States must adopt effective measures to prevent their markets from being used in marketing fisheries products derived from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.  To that end, the Union was developing measures, such as effective port controls.  He encouraged the Union’s partners to reinforce collective action through the Food and Agriculture Organization, among others, saying his delegation was ready to assist developing countries in capacity-building to both tackle those crimes and build sustainable fisheries.


On the Fish Stocks Agreement, he welcomed the increased participation seen in the last 18 months, and fully supported efforts to establish a dialogue with States that had expressed difficulties in joining that key instrument.  For its part, the European Union was addressing destructive fishing practices and working to boost its regulatory regime vis-à-vis shark conservation and management.  He welcomed the resolution’s focus on shark conservation, an area where fisheries management needed effective strengthening to address the lucrative shark fin trade.  Serious discipline was required to conserve species that played a fundamental regulatory role in the food chain.


RAYMOND O. WOLFE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that this “silver” observance of the historic adoption of the Convention on the Law of the Sea reminded all of the critical importance of the oceans and seas as the common heritage of mankind and to the development of many United Nations Member States.  Indeed, the Caribbean Sea and its neighbouring oceans were critical to the very existence of CARICOM States, and the members of the Community were convinced of the urgent need to conserve and protect those waters, as well as being able to share in their resources.  With that in mind, the Community was increasingly concerned by the damaging effects phenomena such as climate change were having on the world’s oceans.  The CARICOM was pleased recent deliberations on the Assembly’s annual omnibus resolution on the Law of the Sea had ensured the inclusion of language that reflected the impact of global warming on oceans and the consequent impact on the marine environment and biodiversity.


Turning to the relevant reports before the Assembly, he said the Community was particularly concerned with issues related to the governance of marine fisheries, the implementation of the outcome of the 2006 Review Conference on the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement, and the promotion of measures to ensure sustainable fisheries, all of which needed continued attention, especially in light of ongoing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.  He said that involvement in marine science and research was also important, and the Community continued to support the transfer of technology that assisted States, especially small islands, to participate in such activities.


He went on to say the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea was commemorating its tenth anniversary, and Jamaica had been pleased to host that panel’s second regional workshop on the settlement of disputes this past April.  That event had provided for a rich exchange of views, and had served to broaden all the participants’ knowledge on sea-related disputes.  On the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, he said that with information from States wishing to extend their continental shelf jurisdiction beyond 200 nautical miles due by 2009, “urgent steps” were required to improve the Commission’s working methods.  It was imperative that effective measures be taken to ensure the timely and efficient performance of the Commission’s functions, he added.


On international shipping activities, he said maritime trade was an important component of global commercial activity, moving some 7.11 billion tonnes of goods a year.  That trade was particularly important to the Caribbean region.  Navigation safety was a critical component in promoting growth in maritime commerce.  Safe, secure and crime-free routes for navigation, and the implementation of international rules and standards for improving maritime safety, must form part of a comprehensive programme aimed at protecting maritime trade.  The Community was particularly concerned by the transport of radioactive materials.  Indeed, the region’s fragile marine ecosystem –- as well as health and livelihoods -- faced the risk of irreparable damage in the event of an accident during the transport of such materials.  While the CARICOM States continued to recognize the principles of freedom of navigation and innocent passage, they also continued to urge States concerned not to use the Caribbean Sea as a route for the shipment of nuclear materials.


He went on to say the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances continued to be a matter of concern.  To effectively respond to the challenge, CARICOM States, in collaboration with the heads of national drug law enforcement agencies in other regions, had expressed support for the strengthening of law enforcement cooperation at the national and regional levels.  At the same time, he said, while the Community welcomed such cooperation in drug interdiction in its regional waters, it would reiterate that such cooperation should not be confined to drug trafficking.  It should be extended to include the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, which threatened stability in the region.


FEKITAMOELOA ‘UTOIKAMANU (Tonga), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group, said her delegation shared the common goal of harnessing the value of marine resources in the region and ensuring their sustainable conservation and management.  She welcomed new measures in this year’s sustainable fisheries resolution relating to the conservation and sustainable management of shark species, and commended the coordinators for their conduct of the negotiations.  As developments in oceans affairs were of primary importance, her delegation considered the annual debate and its conclusions integral to the year’s work.  The Forum valued the primacy of the Convention as the constitutional framework for human interaction with the world’s seas, and welcomed the increasing number of States parties to it.


The Pacific Island regional waters were home to fish stocks of global importance, she continued, much of which fell within the national jurisdiction of small island developing States.  Thus, she recognized the importance of capacity-building initiatives, and welcomed the many references in the resolutions to efforts aimed at supporting implementation of the Convention.  Also, she was pleased to have participated in efforts to ensure greater recognition of the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.  She urged caution vis-à-vis sequestration technologies.


Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing was the greatest threat to the future sustainability of regional marine resources, she said, strongly supporting the call for urgent action to address that issue.  Recalling the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting held in Tonga this year, she said effective management of threatened stock levels would provide benefits for all Forum countries.  As an example, she said the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization aimed to fill a crucial gap in the management of high-seas fisheries in the South Pacific Ocean.  She welcomed progress this year in implementing measures for bottom fishing agreed in last year’s sustainable fisheries resolution.


On institutional issues, she said the Forum was pleased with recent changes to the procedure for accessing funds in the United Nations Trust Fund to support submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.  She welcomed acknowledgement in this year’s resolution on the need to improve resources for the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.  Her delegation continued to support the United Nations Informal Consultative Process, and looked forward to the second Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction in 2008.  All States must have equal opportunity to participate in those discussions.


HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said his delegation welcomed the opportunity to participate in today’s debate, and attributed high significance to the topic being discussed.  He took note of the Secretary-General’s report, which served as a good basis for the discussions at the seventeenth meeting of States parties to the Convention, and its contents showed there were many issues that deserved serious attention.  The Convention had provided a sound international legal order for oceans and seas, and was well known as a “balanced package” in which competing interests had to be reconciled.


Viet Nam attached great importance to the Convention, and had always been committed to respecting its provisions, in good faith and through concrete actions, he said.  As no State party could avoid disputes, exchanging of views to achieve better understanding was preferable.  In that spirit, Viet Nam had joined China and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries in implementing the Declaration of Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea, and strongly believed that the successful realization of the Declaration, notably through joint marine projects, would provide a more conducive environment for peace and economic development in the region.   Viet Nam had joined other regional countries in bringing into force the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.  His delegation had followed closely the negotiations on the draft resolutions and was pleased that, despite diverging views, States had finalized the texts.  He supported their adoption.


NAMIRA NABIL NEGM ( Egypt) said the continuing deterioration of the coastal and marine ecological systems originating from land-based human activities and over-exploitation of marine fisheries was a matter of deep concern.  It required the international community to adopt conservation measures to minimize the by-catch of endangered species and to ban trade of whales and sharks.  His delegation urged all Sates to implement the Convention’s provisions, especially by adopting the necessary measures to put an end to shark fishing.  The role of the Convention should also be enhanced.  It offered an international framework to, among other things, prevent and protect the seas from marine pollution, and to enhance the capacities of developing countries to exploit natural resources in areas under their national jurisdiction. 


Yet, the Convention had failed to meet expectations in that regard, he said.  Indeed, natural resources had been exploited, while information had not been exchanged with developing countries.  Thus, a comprehensive and effective system of information exchange and technology transfer was needed, so developing countries could establish ocean observation programmes and apply the standards relating to ocean acidification.  Modern fisheries technology should also be transferred to help preserve biological diversity and marine coral reefs and habitats.


He affirmed the role of the United Nations and its agencies in enhancing cooperation between the regional and subregional organizations in conducting the necessary scientific research and providing developing countries with technical assistance, so they could fulfil their obligations.  It was also necessary to develop a “compliance culture” on the international obligations concerning the duty of States to exercise effective control over fishing vessels flying their flag.


He stressed the great concern in which developing countries regarded the work of the Committee on the Continental Shelf.  Those developing countries were not able to conclude their studies on the potential of their Continental shelves, and had been unable to apply to the Committee.  He warned that the situation would lead to the equity principle’s not being applied, as it was called for in the Convention.  To avoid that, all States should cooperate to ensure that developing countries would be able to enjoy their rights, on equal footing with developed States.


He further stressed the need for continuing negotiations among States to enhance international cooperation on matters relating to seas and ocean.  To that end, he expressed concern regarding the failures of States to reach an agreement on two important issues during the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process in June 2007 and during the informal consultations of the resolution on oceans and the law of the sea.  The resolution on the Law of the Sea had not mentioned the protection of immigrants at sea.  Also, some States did not recognize that the Convention on the Law of the Sea represented the legal framework governing marine genetic resources in areas of the high seas beyond national jurisdiction.  That required a revision of the methodology of preparation of the consultative process, he said.  The process should also be conducted in a manner that took all States interests into consideration.


HABIB MANSOUR ( Tunisia) said the Convention had triggered great hopes, especially for developing countries, but there were areas of great concern that needed immediate attention and action.  Among them were illegal fishing and the tragic reality of illegal immigration by sea, the latter a phenomenon that had alarming dimensions in many regions of the world.  It was the obligation of States to secure the safety of people in distress in their seas, but that was not always respected.


He said degradation of marine ecosystems and aquatic culture was of great concern to Tunisia, which was situated seaside, where many people found their livelihood.  Despite efforts, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing continued to be a serious menace to fish stocks and marine ecosystems, as well as the economies of numerous States, particularly developing countries.  He stressed the need for urgent, effective measures at all levels to maintain good governance of marine species and better management of aquaculture.  He called for reinforcing the technical capacities of developing countries through marine technology transfer that would enable countries to fulfil their obligations and benefit from their aquatic resources.


ILEANA NUNEZ MORDOCHE ( Cuba) said her delegation placed special emphasis on strengthening international cooperation among actors concerned with the management of seas and oceans, including transfer of knowledge and capacity building, which were vital for developing countries.  Such issues were especially important to Cuba, which, despite economic hardships, had continued to make huge strides in implementing international strategies for the sustainable development and protection of the marine environment, towards coherent and effective implementation of the provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention.


She said the Convention established the adequate and universally accepted legal framework, within which all activities on oceans and seas should be carried out.  With that in mind, she drew attention to policies and initiatives that undermined the Convention’s regime, such as the current management of the new sustainable uses of oceans, including the conservation and management of the biological diversity of the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.  In that regard, States should abide by the principles established by the Convention, which provide that marine scientific research in the area should be carried out exclusively for peaceful purposes and the benefit of humanity at large.


On the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement, she said that, while Cuba was not a party to that accord, it complied in good faith with its major provisions concerning conservation and management.   Cuba continued to have concerns at the mechanism of visits and inspections on board fishing vessels, established under articles 21 and 22 of the Agreement.  She wrapped up with praise for the coordinators of the negotiations on the relevant draft resolutions before the Assembly.  She also called for the provision of complete conference and translation services to the informal meetings in which such negotiations took place, in line with the increasing importance of the Convention.  She also urged that such informal meetings not coincide with meetings of the Sixth (Legal) Committee.


CLEMENT M. MWAALA ( Namibia) said his delegation was pleased to co-sponsor both relevant draft resolutions before the Assembly.  The two texts addressed issues that were very important to his Government, and he was pleased that the “fisheries” draft once again reaffirmed the importance of conservation, management and sustainable use of marine living resources.  He was equally pleased that it stressed the need to strengthen intergovernmental cooperation to improve the conservation and management of fisheries resources, as well as to combat illegal and unregulated fishing, and overfishing.  Namibia would continue to work constructively with States, regional and international bodies engaged in regulating fisheries, to give effect to the provisions of the current resolution.


Indeed, Namibia had already put in place legal instruments and policies, including a Marine Resources Act of 2000, and a National Plan of Action, which specifically provided a framework for responsible development and management of its marine resources.  In addition, Namibia had made great strides in implementing a national satellite-based vessel monitoring system to ensure real-time monitoring of vessel movements and fisheries activities in Namibia’s economic zone and continental shelf.  That system was also intended to help Namibia comply with the requirements posted by regional and international fisheries management organizations.  Consideration was also being given to a legal requirement that would prohibit Namibian nationals from engaging in fishing activities that would violate the fishing laws of other States, or that undermined the conservation and management of measures adopted by regional fisheries management organizations.


On the omnibus resolution before the Assembly on “oceans and law of the sea”, he said Namibia supported the international community’s efforts to fully implement the provisions of the Law of the Sea regime.  Such efforts would help achieve the goals of establishing a legal order that would promote the peaceful use of the oceans and seas; equitable and efficient utilization of their resources; conservation of their living resources; and the protection of the marine environment.  Indeed, the marine environment was facing challenges that, if not addressed immediately and effectively, would have profound implications for sustainable development, conservation and management and marine biological diversity.


LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said the Convention on the Law of the Sea should remain the framework for maintaining a harmonious marine order, keeping in mind the need to balance sound protection of the oceans with rational utilization and national sovereignty.  In regard to delimitation of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, the relevant Commission must faithfully fulfil its mandate in accordance to the Convention and not speed up its work, regardless of other factors. Given the complexity of the issue, the deadline for States parties to file their submissions was unrealistic, particularly for developing countries.  The parties should consider postponing it.


Similarly, he said, the regulations on seabed prospecting and exploration should take into account both the common heritage of mankind and the investment interests of all countries, through the development of adequate knowledge of the resources concerned and reconciliation of different countries’ interests.  Turning to the Law of the Sea Tribunal, he underlined its important role.  He anticipated the support of States parties for the new Chinese candidate for Tribunal judge.  In addition, he said he hoped the Convention’s regimes governing transit through straits and the sea lanes of archipelagos would be preserved.  In regard to pollution from vessels, he saw as key relevant provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as pragmatic cooperation between countries.  Finally, he stressed China’s willingness to cooperate in the common effort to care for the world’s oceans.


GILLES NOGHÈS (Monaco) said the institutions created by the Convention –- the Seabed Authority, the International Tribunal and Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf -- had together contributed to the development of the law of the sea.  Regarding climate change, the vulnerability in the polar regions, especially in the Arctic, was addressed by the Convention, which was essential to protecting that fragile area.  The intergovernmental group of experts on the evolution of climate had recognized the influence gas concentrations had on climate, and the Assembly could only express its serious preoccupation with the effects of climate change on human and natural life, as well as on marine life and marine biodiversity.  Following the Bali meeting, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, the impact of those changes was one of the major political issues of the day.


Monaco, located along one of the most fragile seas in the world, had paid close attention to the evolution of oceans and seas since the start of the twentieth century.  Prince Albert had visited the North Pole in 2006, witnessing climate change up close, and had encouraged scientific research focusing on the impact of pollution on the region.  The Monegasque authorities emphasized cooperation and coordination concerning conservation and marine biodiversity management within its own jurisdiction.  He said his country had participated in a tripartite accord with France and Italy concerning the Pelagos sanctuary and was looking forward to hosting, in 2008, an international forum on priorities for future research.  Monaco attached the greatest importance to following a path of multilateral cooperation on questions before the General Assembly, which was the only body to debate and adopt measures that were invaluable for the preservation and development of the oceans and seas, and, thus, invaluable for the future of the world.


NIRUPAM SEN ( India) said since his country had a 4,000 mile long coastline and 1,300 islands, it had a traditional interest in maritime and ocean affairs, specifically the Convention and its subsidiary institutions, including the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.  At the Commission’s current critical phase, he fully supported the Secretary-General in taking timely measures to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (DOALAS).  Regarding the elections of the Commission and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, he hoped the next meeting of States parties would agree on a joint proposal of the Asian and African groups on the allocation of seats in those bodies based on geographical representation.


While the International Seabed Authority was currently involved in conservation efforts, he cautioned against attempts to impose an unduly burdensome regime.  The symbiotic relationship between the biodiversity of the deep seabed and its ecosystems made the resources of the seabed a common heritage of mankind, and it was necessary to identify the risks to that heritage and agree on a substantive legal basis for conservation and management of biodiversity.  On maritime navigation, he viewed with serious concern acts of terrorism, piracy and armed robbery against ships, and was pleased to note a decrease of those actions in Asia, due to increased national action and regional cooperation.  The freedom of navigation was critical, he said.  Conservation, management and the sustainable use of biodiversity on the high seas were threatened by overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; compliance and enforcement measures were essential to combat those threats.


JOHAN LØVALD ( Norway) noted the Nobel Peace Prize had been presented just today to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore for efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change and lay the foundation for counteracting or mitigating it.  The consequences of climate change and of ocean acidification, he said, could be the biggest challenges to fisheries all over the world in the next few decades.  Further study was needed, since current knowledge was limited on how to adapt ocean management to climate change.


Turning to the Arctic as a part of the world where evidence of climate change was clear, he said the area of sea ice in September had been just over half of what it was in the 1950s and 1960s.  In October, his country had invited the other four Arctic coastal states of Canada, Denmark, Russia and the United States to informal discussions.  They had agreed on taking cooperative measures in a range of areas, including scientific research.  They had also agreed that commercial fisheries may extend into more northern Arctic areas in the future.  Implementation of the principles and rules set out in the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement should begin.


Moving on, he said too little had been done to implement the existing legal framework for protecting marine biodiversity.  Many coastal States had not yet established a network for managing marine protected areas within their own national jurisdictions.  Norway’s would be in place well before 2010.  An ecosystem approach should be adopted, and the precautionary principle should be applied in managing human activities to ensure conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources.


On other matters, he said Norway looked forward to the completion of technical guidelines on illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries.  Establishing the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles was crucial for implementing the global law of the sea regime.  Doubts about unresolved bilateral delimitation issues or challenges about data collection and analysis should not constitute undue obstacles in preparing for the May 2009 deadline for submitting plans about offshore shelf activities to the shelf Commission.  A draft informal discussion paper for how to meet the 2009 deadline was attached to their statement.  He was looking forward to continued dialogue on the issue.


JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE ( Guatemala) said he supported the idea of including genetic resources of the seabed as a heritage of mankind that should be examined regarding its exploitation and conservation, a notion that would be marked by a significant step through the passage of the omnibus resolution.  Guatemala continued to promote the conservation of biodiversity in international deep seabeds, and hoped to contribute to next year’s working group to study the subject, along with sustainable measures for biodiversity within national jurisdictions.  Regarding climate change, the resolution to protect oceans and the law of the sea had sent an important political message to delegations at the Bali meeting that were currently deliberating on that theme.


Guatemala believed in fostering a genuine dialogue among States parties to the 1995 United Nations accord on the conservation and management of migratory fish stocks in order to overcome the obstacles identified.  Urgent attention was needed concerning illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and effective measures must be found to protect vulnerable ecosystems.  Fishing should be planned and managed, not just for short-term time frames, but for the benefit of future generations.  The consensus on the resolutions today constituted a fundamental step ahead.


ANTHONY ANDANJE (Kenya), noting that his country had ratified the Convention in 1989, recalled that, under its provisions, States were required to establish their continental shelf 10 years after its entry into force.  The submission date had been extended to May 2009 for States that had made early ratification.  Kenya had established a Task Force in 2005 to delineate the outer limits of its shelf, had completed preparation of the Desk Top Study, and expected to make a submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental shelf within 18 months.


Implementation of Article 76 continued to pose serious financial and technical challenges to coastal developing States, in part because parameters defining whether a coastal State could extend jurisdiction beyond 200 nautical miles were based on complex scientific rules.  The costs involved in collecting and analysing geophysical data required substantial resources.


Regarding Article 4, annex II, he said Kenya was committed to making its submission within the timeline, but that it should not be regarded as a “deadline” that in effect penalized States that had ratified the Convention early.  States parties should constantly review the ability of States to meet the timeline, and make recommendations.  A general extension for developing coastal States could be considered.  Submission of the Desk Top Study should be sufficient for “stopping the clock” on the time limit.


Turning to the Commission, he said the Chairman’s report had indicated the need for more resources, adding that the Chairman had informed the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties that, as of 2005, some 65 States had extended continental shelves, up from 33 in 1978.  Africa was the main growth area, and it was noteworthy that, in their rush to “beat the deadline” for submissions, States were overwhelming the Commission.  The Commission could only process two submissions each 10-week session and, thus, it would become burdensome for nominating member States to support Commission members, as required.  It would have to extend its work until 2035 to process the 65 outstanding submissions.  That state of affairs was unacceptable to coastal States.  The proposal for Commission members to receive “emoluments” while performing duties vis-à-vis coastal States deserved consideration, as such emoluments could be defrayed through the United Nations regular budget.  On capacity-building, he called for sharing knowledge from research programmes.  On the Trust Fund, he welcomed the change in its terms of reference as an “important development”.  As data acquisition was the most expensive part of preparing a submission, he urged that it be incorporated in the review, and States should consider expanding the scope of the Grant to cover it.


His delegation supported the Informal Consultative Process on marine genetic resources, and, as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing was becoming a threat to fish stock security, urged that process to focus on related topics.  Welcoming the process decision to consider maritime security and safety in future discussions, he urged the global community to address armed robbery, notably in shipping lanes off the Somali coastline.  He appealed to States that were signatories to the Convention, but had not ratified it, to do so, and called on non-State parties to consider becoming a party.  Kenya supported an expanded role of the meeting of the States parties.  As the Asian African Group was entitled to five permanent seats on the Commission and the International Seabed Authority, with an extra rotating seat, it was important that the principle of proportional and equitable geographical representation be observed.


ROBERT HILL (Australia) said the relevant resolutions before the Assembly continued to raise key national, regional and international issues that were important for his delegation, which included governance arrangements for regulating human activities on the world’s oceans, the role and operation of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, seeking to improve maritime safety and security, and working towards the sustainable management and conservation of marine living resources.  On high seas governance, he said specific issues that needed to be addressed “most urgently” included over-fishing, destructive fishing practices, marine pollution, the impacts of global warming and the use of oceans to sequester carbon dioxide.


He went on to say that, as a large island nation and coastal State, Australia recognized the need for increased coordination at the domestic, regional and global levels to improve prevention and response capabilities in relation to new and emerging threats to marine security.  Those issues had relevance not only for prominent coastal and maritime States, but were key policy challenges across a broad spectrum, including energy security, international trade and commerce, piracy and armed robbery at sea, transnational organized crimes and maritime terrorism, particularly in respect of offshore facilities.  He welcomed, in that regard, recent technological developments that were now contributing to improvements in the safety of shipping and maritime domain awareness.


He also welcomed language in the omnibus text which addressed the important work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and the challenges that lay ahead.  Australia would encourage States whose experts were serving on the Commission to do their utmost to ensure the full participation of those experts in the work of the Commission.  He also welcomed recent efforts by regional fisheries management organizations to regulate bottom fisheries.  For its part, Australia continued to work in its region towards the establishment of new regional fisheries management organizations and adopting measures for bottom fisheries.  As an initial co-sponsor with Chile and New Zealand, Australia had continued to be a key player in the development of the South Pacific regional fisheries management organization.  Australia welcomed this year the adoption of voluntary interim measures by the participants in the negotiations to establish that scheme.


He said illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing was a “complicated and multi-faceted problem.”  Still, the international community must address “this scourge of the oceans” through a combination of increased flag State responsibility; strengthened port State measures to restrict market access for illegal, unreported and unregulated catch; and strong action against nationals involved in illegal fishing activities.  Australia continued to take the problem very seriously, and acted firmly against foreign vessels fishing illegally in its waters.


Australia welcomed progress made in the joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and International Maritime Organization Ad Hoc Working Group on unregulated fishing, which had met for the second time in Rome last July.  He looked forward to continued cooperation between the two agencies on the matter, including crucial work on broadening the application of a unique vessel identifier, which would deliver a permanent and more accurate method for identifying vessels, particularly in the face of efforts to disguise their identity with changed names, altered colours and fabricated call signs, even while at sea.


RINA TAREO ( Marshall Islands) said climate change was impacting the world’s oceans, and tackling that phenomenon was particularly fundamental for low-lying small island nations like her own.  As the people of the Marshall Islands watched the sea level rise, they were becoming keenly aware of the need for global policymakers to better understand the broad impacts of global warming.  Her delegation was, therefore, pleased that the omnibus draft resolution before the Assembly on “oceans and the law of the sea” encouraged efforts deployed within the framework of the International Polar Year, with the shared goal of studying the impacts of climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.  That research would offer direct benefits for far-flung nations like Marshall Islands, as the degradation of the polar region was likely to substantially impact marine ecosystems worldwide.


She went on to say that Marshall Islands was pleased the resolution recognized the need for international cooperation to support regional marine conservation and climate change adaptation strategies, including the Micronesia Challenge, the innovative intergovernmental efforts in the Western Pacific region aimed at conserving 30 per cent of the near-shore coastal resources by 2020.  She said her Government was “gravely concerned” by new research on the relationship between climate change and ocean acidification.  Each year, the world’s oceans absorbed approximately one-third of all global carbon monoxide emissions.  Alarming increases in such emissions would lead to acidification and an attendant change in ocean chemistry that might severely impact coral reefs and related food chains on which her nation depended for food security, economic development and tourism.


She said not enough attention was being given to ocean acidification in international forums, and her delegation was pleased that it had been addressed in the omnibus text.  She would strongly urge other Member States to devote their immediate attention to pursuing further research and policy action in that vital area.  She went on to affirm the need for flag States to play an important role in enforcing maritime law.  Marshall Islands remained committed to undertaking the task of oversight, regulation and vessel inspection, as outlined by the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization (ILO).


Among other things, she stressed that her delegation was pleased the resolution on “fisheries” recognized the impact on the economic stability and food security of the Marshall Islands of the large amounts of by-catch unintentionally created –- and discarded or destroyed -- by commercial fishing operations.  In addition, Marshall Islands, which had one of the world’s largest and most diverse populations of reef sharks, was concerned by the reported decline in such species.  She noted that the resolution included international goals aimed at curbing the destructive practice of “shark fining.”  At the same time, she underscored that, while the text called on Member States to take immediate action to improve implementation and compliance with existing shark fishing regulations, aimed at restricting shark fining, nations such as Marshall Islands might have difficulties meeting the resolutions enforcement goals without sustained international assistance.


Introduction of Draft Resolutions on Question of Palestine


PAUL BADJI ( Senegal), Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, discussed the Committee’s work, noting that in the past, it had proposed to make use of available resources to carry out all planned activities in its annual programme.


He wished to dispel misunderstandings about the Committee’s mandate, saying that the Committee’s position on the Palestinian question was similar to that of most other groups of Member States, including the European Union.  Under his direction, the Committee had recently discussed issues with European institutions in Brussels, and had held consultations with the European Union and the European Commission since 1996.  Through the years, views had come together on various points.  Moreover, the Commission had supported the Middle East peace process, particularly since the 1991 Madrid peace conference.  He supported the important work of the Quartet’s Special Envoy to promote the economic development of Palestinians.  While demanding an end to occupation, the Committee had supported the creation of two States living side by side in peace and security within pre-1967 borders.


The Committee favoured an independent Palestinian State, and condemned all activities targeting civilian populations, he continued.  In last week’s communiqué, it had welcomed the Annapolis conference as a “decisive stage” in negotiations to end Israeli occupation.  He was particularly pleased by the parties’ efforts to work towards that objective.  Nonetheless, some States had refused to support the Committee’s mandate, and he urged them to reconsider their position.  He welcomed increased international efforts aimed at resuming the peace process, asking the Assembly to adopt the four resolutions and to support the important objectives contained in them.


The four draft resolutions and two texts on the situation in the Middle East are summarized in Press Release GA/10663, issued 29 November.


Action on Draft Resolutions


Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote on the text on the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the representative of Panama said his delegation believed in independence and national sovereignty.  The United Nations had a responsibility to monitor the situation in the Occupied Territory until it was resolved.   Panama was concerned by the Assembly’s lack of efficiency in this area, however.  The last few resolutions adopted on the situation had had “very low impact”.  It would abstain from voting on this text, in light of the recent progress that had been made towards solving the conflict.  The Assembly should rethink its role in dealing with the conflict.  Indeed, it was time for the Assembly to re-evaluate its actions, in this regard.


The Assembly then adopted a resolution on the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document A /62/L.18) by a vote of 109 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 55 abstentions (for details see annex I).


It then adopted a text on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat (document A/62/L.19) by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 54 abstentions (annex II).


The draft resolution on the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information (document A/62/L.20/Rev.1) by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Tonga, Vanuatu) (annex III).


The Assembly then adopted the draft text on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (document A/62/L.21/Rev.1) by a vote of 161 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Tonga, Vanuatu) (annex IV).


The Assembly then took up consideration of two texts on the situation in the Middle East.


It adopted a text on Jerusalem (document A/62/L.22) by a vote of 160 in favour to 6 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions (Angola, Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu) (annex V).


The Assembly then adopted a text on the Syrian Golan (document A/62/L.23) by a vote of 111 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions (annex VI).


Statements after Vote


Speaking after the action, the representative of Portugal, on behalf of the European Union, said he voted in favour of the draft on the special information programme on the question of Palestine because the resolution would enhance dialogue and understanding between the Israeli and Palestinian societies.


Regarding his abstention from the vote on the Syrian Golan, the European Union remained concerned about the situation in the Middle East, and stressed the importance of the Annapolis conference and the support of a two-State solution.  He supported the current negotiations, calling the Annapolis conference a turning point that would support a just and lasting solution.  He stressed that there could be no military solution.  He said Security Council resolution 242 must be respected, and that peace must be based on land for peace.  Negotiations should resume as soon as possible.  The Union voted in the Fourth Committee regarding the Syrian Golan and abstained from voting on this resolution, preferring to have only one resolution before the Assembly.


The representative of the United States could not support the resolution on the Syrian Golan because he continued to disagree with the text, which presented final status issues.  Regarding the Annapolis meeting, the resolution was unhelpful, he said.  The United States policy on Syria was well known, and the position remained unchanged since last year.


The representative of Iran said he had voted in favour of the resolution on the question of Palestine, but had reservations.  Iran had been unwavering in its support of the Palestinian people to attain national rights, and it supported the legal and democratic Government of Palestine.  But he believed that internal issues should be dealt with by Palestinians and through national dialogue, not with outside interference.  Iran supported the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and stressed the importance of the international community’s support.  The settlement of the Palestinian issue would occur only when the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people were addressed.


In explanation of vote after the vote, Israel’s representative said his delegation had voted against the draft resolutions, which all promoted an inaccurate narrative of the situation in the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Indeed, the recycling of drafts showed that the Assembly remained oblivious to the bilateral nature of the process.


In that regard, he highlighted areas where the resolutions failed to promote a peace process.  Resolution A/62/L.21 did not mention the greatest impediment to peace:  terrorism, as seen in the daily barrage of rocket fire on Israeli towns.  Since June, Palestinian terrorists had fired rockets every three hours.  The resolution ignored calls for the release of Gilad Shalit.  Ending the Qassam rocket fire and Mr. Shalit’s release were the basic criteria for the way forward.  A resolution that ignored those issues did not help settlement of the conflict.  Despite efforts to find language on resolution A/62/L.20, it was regrettable that a text could not be reached that enabled the Assembly’s consensus.  A balanced text would have enabled Israeli officials to take part in Department of Information activities.  However, rather than working together, Palestinians chose a resolution that only made those gaps wider.


In the biased conclusions, the resolutions had fed Palestinians’ fictitious sense of reality, he said.  Aside from the damage done to the region, they rendered the United Nations incapable of playing a role in addressing the conflict.  Efforts should be diverted to more realistic goals.  Hope for Palestinians could not be found in resolutions that promoted zero-sum solutions.  Indeed, not one had mentioned the vicious acts of violence carried out by Hamas.  Hope could be found only in the hearts and minds of leaders committed to peace.  It lived in the Road Map and in the insistence that both parties embrace their responsibilities.  The spirit of Annapolis had been felt in the region.  Moderate Arab States’ presence there had created the proper atmosphere to start substantive negotiations.  The resolutions considered today were completely detached from that process.


The representative of Argentina, explaining Argentina and Brazil’s vote on the resolution on the Syrian Golan, said those delegations had voted in favour of the draft, as they understood that its most important aspects related to the unlawful acquisition of territory by force.  Regarding operative paragraph 6, their votes did not prejudge the contents of that paragraph.  He urged the parties to resume talks to find a final solution to the question of the Syrian Golan, taking into account the principle of territory for peace.


The representative of Australia, in explanation of vote after the vote, was concerned at the disproportionate resources dedicated to the question of Palestine.  Annual resolutions endorsing the various work units did not rationalize the Secretariat’s structure, and the Department of Public Information’s programme was not a constructive use of resources.  They did little to help the cause for peace in the Middle East.


In a general statement, the representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union on the question of Palestine, welcomed the joint understanding reached at the Annapolis conference to launch, in good faith, bilateral talks to negotiate a peace treaty by the end of 2008, leading to the creation of a viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace next to Israel.  To build on that progress, it was essential that the parties desist from actions that would deter them from finding a just and lasting solution.  The European Union recalled the importance of instituting the Road Map, and reiterated concerns at violence against either Israelis or Palestinians.  While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defence, he called on Israel to exercise restraint.  At the same time, he condemned the firing of rockets into Israel.


The European Union was determined to support parties in their negotiations in a sustained manner, and would work closely with the Quartet and other partners, he said.  The Union was ready to take part in institution-building and good governance initiatives, among other efforts.  In closing, he underlined the importance of the donor conference to take place in Paris.


The representative of Syria said the international community was still supporting the adopted resolutions, which reflected that Member States supported the United Nations Charter and Syria’s right to its occupied land.  The vote sent out a clear message to Israel that occupation, murder, expansionist policies, settlements and the annexation of the territories of others were not acceptable.


It was obvious that Israel needed to be reminded that the international community had rejected its policy, which was against peace.  That was especially true since Israel’s Government had confiscated territory and had announced plans to build units for 300,000 settlers only two days after the Annapolis meeting.  He reaffirmed Syria’s appeal for a just, global peace and said that the Syrian Golan should be liberated from Israeli occupation, as guaranteed by international law.  Israeli occupation in the Syrian Golan was a two-fold crime in the eyes of the international community, not only regarding the Syrian Golan occupation, but concerning the fact that Israel had illegally annexed the Syrian Golan in 1981, prompting the Security Council to adopt resolution 487.  It was a bitter truth that Syrians had lived under the yoke of occupation, and the occupier should be condemned, in the same way Nazi Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland and Danzig in 1939 should have been condemned.  Not having condemned that Nazi German action allowed the occupier to expand.  The Golan was of no less importance than the two regions mentioned, and the international community should condemn the occupation.


During the current peace process, Syria wanted to take part in any discussions that would bring about peace and justice in the region.  That process required putting an end to Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories, Shabaa Farms and the Syrian Golan.


The Observer of Palestine called the resolutions a narrative of the international community about how peace based on justice could be accomplished, despite the resistance of one delegation.  It was high time for Israel to learn from what was done at the Assembly each year, as well as the negotiations Palestinians undertook with all blocs, including the European Community, the African bloc and so on, to find peace.  Only one delegation’s actions on the ground worked against the spirit of peace.  How could the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem continue after Annapolis? he asked.


The actions of Israel spoke much louder than their assertion of interest in peace, he continued.  They must change their behaviour to move the peace process forward.  They claimed Palestinians enjoyed being victims, but that was untrue.  The illegal wall, prisoners and continued expansion of settlements attested to the occupation.  Israel should wake up and look at reality.  He looked forward to concluding a peace treaty in 2008 with Israel, and to allowing the long-awaited Palestinian State to be born.


After those statements, the representative of Hungary said that his delegation would clarify its position on the votes on the texts that had just taken place.  Hungary would have abstained in the vote on the texts on the “Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” and the “division for Palestinian Rights in the Secretariat”.  It would have voted in favour of both texts on the “special information programme on the question of Palestine” and the “peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”.  It would have voted in favour of the text on Jerusalem and abstained in the vote on the text on the “Syrian Golan”.


Further Action


The Assembly then took up the report of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial) on sustainable development:  protection of the global climate for present and future generations (document A/62/419/Add.4) to take action on a relevant draft resolution contained therein.


The Assembly President informed Member States of a technical correction to the text, and then announced that a separate vote had been requested on operative paragraph 11 of the resolution, by which the Assembly would “request the Secretary-General to make provisions for the sessions of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and its subsidiary bodies in his proposals for the programme budget for the biennium of the 2008-2009”.


That paragraph was adopted by a vote of 162 in favour to 2 against ( Japan, United States), with no abstentions (annex VII).


The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution as a whole without a vote.


Next taking up the report of the Fifth Committee on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009 (document A/62/563), the Assembly adopted, without vote, a draft resolution therein entitled “Capital Master Plan”.


Statements on Oceans and Law of the Sea


CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said, despite progress in protecting marine life, there were many examples of States not meeting their commitments to obligations and international laws.  Mexico was convinced that cooperation and coordination at all levels in establishing interdisciplinary approaches could find peaceful solutions to controversies, using effective legal, political and technical tools.  Mexico had concluded a partial study on the continental shelf and would present its findings in the coming weeks.  Mexico considered the safety of navigation, the protection of human rights of seafarers, and the prompt release of vessels and their crews to be important elements that needed attention.


Climate change was another important phenomenon that affected a majority of human activities, and Mexico supported the omnibus resolution’s timely inclusion of issues such as acidification of oceans and gas emissions.  Mexico was in favour of guarantees for using the genetic resources of international deep seabeds in a sustainable and equitable manner.  He said sustainable fishing was of great importance to Mexico, and called on States to establish a dialogue on conservation and sustainable use of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks.  One essential aspect to guarantee that fishing contributed to sustainable development was responsible international trade.  A fundamental mechanism would be to issue eco-friendly certification, in keeping with international law.  Also needed were non-discriminatory market access, the elimination of trade barriers and trade distortions, and adherence to the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.  Mexico believed vulnerable marine ecosystems should continue to be supported through the 2006 accords.  He said the continued productivity of oceans depended on sustainable practices and the international community’s recognition that problems of oceans were interrelated and should be considered in an integrated way.


HJALMAR W. HANNESSON ( Iceland) welcomed the recent ratification of the Convention of the Law of the Sea by Moldova, Morocco and Lesotho, saying that by ratifying and implementing the Convention –- one of the “greatest achievements in the history of the United Nations” -- the international community sustained and promoted a number of its most cherished goals.  Every effort should be made to fully utilize existing instruments before other options -– including new implementation agreements under the Convention –- were seriously considered. 


Indeed, the three institutions established by the Convention were functioning well, he said.  Yet, as the deadline for making submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approached, the Commission’s workload was expected to increase considerably.  Thus, Iceland supported the decision to address this challenge by strengthening the capacity of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, among other things.  He noted with concern that the Division had insufficient staff and inadequate hardware and software.  Iceland further encouraged States to make additional contributions to two voluntary trust funds that would facilitate the preparation of submissions to the Commission by developing States and defray the costs those States faced when participating in the Commission’s meetings.


Saying that marine genetic resources were receiving growing attention by the international community, he noted the “good progress” in developing consensual elements of this complex issue, even though a final agreement had not been reached.  Those elements, which were contained in paragraphs 132 to 136 of the draft resolution on oceans, would provide a useful basis for further consideration of the issue.  Iceland remained unconvinced, however, that a new international legal regime for marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction was needed.  The Convention provided a sufficient legal framework in that respect, while also offering a great deal of flexibility.


Emphasizing the importance of the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, he said the provision represented important developments in international law.  Still, the Agreement’s effectiveness depended on its wide ratification and implementation.  Also important in the field of fisheries was the role of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  Its Committee on Fisheries had decided to develop technical guidelines for the management of deep-sea fisheries, and would include standards and criteria for identifying vulnerable marine ecosystems in areas beyond national jurisdiction and the impacts of fishing on such ecosystems.  This Committee had also taken important decisions to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, including initiating a legally binding instrument on minimum standards for port States’ measures.  It had also requested that the FAO consider the possibility of developing criteria for assessing the performance of flag States -– work Iceland considered particularly relevant in strengthening and developing the legal basis for action against vessels engaged in such fishing practices.


On the adverse effects of global warming on the marine environment and marine biodiversity, he said changing temperatures and currents may affect fish stocks in various ways, and he highlighted the draft resolution’s provisions that encouraged States to enhance their scientific activity to better understand climate change’s effects and to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  While the retreat of ice and the warming of the seas would offer new opportunities for navigation and exploitation of natural resources in the Arctic region, the conservation of the uncontaminated ecosystems in this region was vital.


AURA MAHUAMPI RODRÍGUEZ DE ORTIZ ( Venezuela) said her country gave special importance to the oceans and the law of the sea, due to its geographic location and concern for preserving marine ecosystems.  The General Assembly, through resolution 60/30, had decided to convene an Informal Open-Ended Working Group to study marine biodiversity in February 2006, which demonstrated States’ concern for marine deterioration.  She said Venezuela had actively participated in the meetings of the Working Group, which noted that the Conference of Parties had considered the subject since 1995 and the Jakarta Mandate.  Further, at the Eighth Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2006, the Convention’s role was recognized in the United Nations’ work.


Marine genetic resources constituted the central issue at the eighth meeting of the informal consultations last June, she said, noting that there had been long debate over how to reflect various views in a legal regime that would regulate resources beyond national jurisdiction.  The meeting did not define agreed elements; rather it stated that countries should work to clear the lack of consensus at future Assembly sessions.  It was Venezuela’s view that the Convention on Biological Diversity was necessary for providing input to the General Assembly, and should be the legal framework governing future work.  She also repeated that there were good reasons why Venezuela had not become party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea.


The Secretary-General's report noted that all must be allowed to benefit from marine genetic resources, which was why she insisted on the need for a legal regime, making it possible for non-State parties to the Law of the Sea Convention to gain.  The framework should be as broad as possible.  The Convention did not contain provisions governing that area.   Venezuela supported paragraphs 44, 52 and 53 of the report, which stated that the Convention on Biological Diversity played a key role in the work of the United Nations.


Venezuela had reflected international law in its internal legislation, she said, highlighting a law on fish farming and a decree on coastal areas.  The question of sustainable fishing was a priority area, and Venezuela had undertaken initiatives to protect hydro-biological resources.  On illegal fishing, Venezuela had established regular reports on the location of ships flying the national flag on the high seas, and maintained satellite arrangements to govern ships of a certain size.


Internationally, she said Venezuela had implemented a code of conduct, in line with the 1992 Rio conference, and had participated in regional organizations, including the Commission for Continental Fishing for Latin America and the Caribbean.  Moreover, Venezuela was a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, but not to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, or the agreement on the implementation of its provisions, since the reasons that prevented Venezuela’s adoption of those instruments had not changed.


VANU GOPALA MENON ( Singapore), noting that his country’s economy depended heavily on international shipping, said the Convention on the Law of the Sea was the principal framework for addressing all issues relating to maritime rights and obligations.  The annual informal consultations on the omnibus resolution provided a forum for States to discuss oceans issues, he said, adding that this year they had ended on time, a departure from the past and a welcome development.  He looked forward to the Assembly’s adoption of the omnibus resolution.


Highlighting Australia’s compulsory pilotage system in the Torres Strait, he said that while Singapore fully supported efforts to protect the marine and coastal environment, such measures must not contravene the Convention.  Ships and aircraft transiting such straits enjoyed the special regime of transit passage.  Laws and regulations that could be adopted were laid out in article 42.  He called for respecting the Convention’s integrity, saying that States could not “pick and choose” the parts with which they wished to comply.  Nor could States misuse certain provisions to justify measures that were inconsistent with the Convention.   Australia’s requirement to take a pilot aboard all ships transiting the Strait went beyond what was permitted under article 42, and seriously undermined vessels’ enjoyment of the right of passage.  Claims that the system was in line with the Convention and had received International Maritime Organization (IMO) approval were untrue.


Singapore had consistently said Australia’s actions threatened the delicate balance between the interests of coastal States and user States, and had explained that the IMO recommendation did not provide any legal authority to impose compulsory pilotage in the Torres Strait.   Singapore had made it clear to Australia that its system contravened the Convention, and that it would continue to work to resolve the issue amicably.  As the issue concerned all interested in protecting the Convention’s sanctity, if it went uncensored, it could erode the right of transit passage in international straits, and navigational rights in other maritime zones.


Reiterating Singapore’s continued commitment to promoting maritime safety and security, he said the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia had made progress, notably through its Information Sharing Centre.  He welcomed the decision taken at the twenty-fourth IMO extraordinary session last month to approve the formal cooperation agreement with the Centre.  A landmark decision to adopt a cooperative mechanism had been taken at the IMO meeting in Singapore in September, which would provide a framework for littoral States and user States to cooperate in the environmental protection of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.   Singapore was finally able to implement article 43 of the Convention, ensuring ships the right of transit passage through the Straits of Malacca.  To encourage adherence to the Convention, the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore and the University of Virginia School of Law would organize a conference in Singapore on passage rights and the Law of the Sea Convention in January.


BUDI BOWOLEKSONO ( Indonesia) said that, despite the relatively broad acceptance of the Law of the Sea regime, it was obvious that much needed to be done to promote even wider implementation of the Convention.  Among other things, States needed to strengthen their cooperation if they truly aimed to promote the responsible and mutually beneficial use of marine resources.  To that end, he highlighted the importance of the protection and preservation of the marine ecosystem against pollution and physical degradation.  Increased exploration and use of such resources, coupled with technological advances, most certainly were risks to the preservation of marine ecosystems and resources.  Moreover, marine biodiversity was being adversely affected by global warming, he added, noting that widespread melting of the polar region had caused rising seas worldwide.


Being an archipelagic country, Indonesia knew first-hand that even incremental increases in temperature affected coastal livelihoods, as well as the biodiversity in its waters.  What was worse, according to some projections, if such patterns continued, as many as 2,000 Indonesian islands could be lost in the next two decades alone.  “We are not alone.  Many island nations have also expressed alarm that rising sea levels could similarly eliminate them from the map”, he said, adding that retreating glaciers also put fresh water supplies at risk.  Changing weather patterns threatened to exacerbate desertification, drought and food insecurity for populations living in dry lands, especially in Africa.  “No nation or peoples should have to pay this kind of price,” he said.


The international community, therefore, had the common but differentiated responsibility to act in concert to mitigate the challenge of global warming, among other ways, by mapping out concrete action to tackle climate change after the 2012 sunset date for the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.   Indonesia hoped that by the time the Bali conference wrapped up next week, a major step would have been achieved that would avert the dire predictions.  The negotiators at Bali should, therefore, agree on the establishment of a future framework for a post-2012 agreement that included mitigation, adaptation, technology, investment and finance mechanisms.


He went on to say that the international community faced a similar challenge in finding ways to promote the responsible harvesting of living marine resources.  Technological advances had led to serious depletion of the world’s fisheries and contributed to the degradation of marine ecosystems.  The international community had the obligation to avert “the tragedy of the common” because of overfishing and unsustainable exploitation of other “common” high seas resources.  With that in mind, he said that States could promote long-term sustainable protection of shared fish stocks through domestic legislation, and by cooperating with other countries as Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.   Indonesia, for its part, had, in May this year, with Australia co-hosted a regional ministerial meeting on promoting responsible fishing practices.


GANESON SIVAGURUNATHAN ( Malaysia) said the Convention marked the first time a set of rules for the ocean was established, bringing to order a system fraught with political conflict.  The Convention, often called the “Constitution of the Sea”, was based upon the idea that the problems of the ocean must be addressed as a whole.  Thus, it was not possible for a State to pick what it liked and disregard what it did not.  As a maritime nation and a coastal State of one of the busiest straits in the world, Malaysia had been actively involved in discussions, taking particular interest in the legal regime governing oceans and the seas.


Regarding the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, which acts as secretariat to the Commission, should be strengthened, not only in human resources but also with the adequate equipment and computer software.  With the proper resources, the Division would be in a position to do the groundwork before the subcommissions considered submissions.  He welcomed flexibility and understanding among delegations concerning the necessity of extrabudgetary resources during negotiations on the draft omnibus resolution, and hoped that those delegations would approve the request in the Fifth Committee.


JOHN McNEE ( Canada) said his country, with the world’s largest coastline bordering three oceans, had a strong interest in ensuring sustainable use of ocean resources, improved fisheries, oceans governance and other related issues.  Despite progress achieved this year in the areas of fisheries management, especially Regional Fisheries Management Organization reform efforts, illegal fishing and international actions underlying better ecosystem protection, the real issue was whether commitments were acted upon in order to have a measurable impact on fisheries resources.  Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing was a high-profile economic activity whose benefits exceeded the risks.  Solutions to removing underlying incentives were complex, requiring international cooperation to eradicate the practice through improved vessel surveillance, control and penalties for non-compliance, and to address issues such as port States that allowed fisheries products to be landed and market States that allowed the products’ entry.  “Closing the net” on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing required intense international cooperation to act on commitments, including those on institutionalized overfishing.


Regional Fisheries Management Organizations were the key organizations for international cooperation on fisheries management and critical to ending both overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, he said.  Canada was pleased with current Regional Fisheries Management Organization reform, and highlighted this year’s tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organization meeting in Japan for receiving intense international scrutiny and concern.  He said the tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organization must prove able to effectively manage stocks or risk jeopardizing the reputation of all regional organizations as credible foundations of resource management.  Canada was disappointed, in that more definitive action had not been taken to protect tuna.


Regarding the plan of action on sharks, he said States and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations needed to take stronger action aimed at conservation and management.  Canada also strongly supported the convening of the seventh information consultations of States parties to the Fish Stocks Agreement, and expected discussions to focus on means to strengthen the Agreement’s implementation.  The international community should also engage in its commitment to cooperation to face other biodiversity issues and challenges.  One topic was marine genetic resources, which was the focus of the seventh meeting of the Informal Consultative Process.  The Process was valuable because it allowed States to learn first-hand from experts, and it provided a strong foundation of shared understanding facilitating broader international debate.  He said the Trust Fund critically needed replenishment to continue to facilitate developing countries’ participation, and he hoped developed States would join Canada in contributing.


Climate change and oceans was another high-profile and far-reaching issue, and States could help to address those issues by focusing more on the importance of oceans, at home and internationally.  Regarding the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, Canada agreed that the Commission must be sufficiently resourced to continue its important work.  He said the world must be resolute in the desire to cooperate nationally, regionally and globally to ensure words turned into actions and that tangible results were achieved in the health of fisheries and oceans.


RUDIGER WOLFRUM, President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, said for the sake of brevity he would highlight the Tribunal’s judicial work, including two cases regarding the prompt release of vessels.  The Tribunal had dealt simultaneously with two cases filed by Japan against the Russian Federation, and judgements, adopted unanimously, were handed over within one month, keeping with time limits fixed by the rules.


The Hoshinmaru case, regarding the release of a fishing boat and 17 crew members, presented legal questions concerning the decisive date for determining issues of admissibility, the notion of acquiescence, and the status of a protocol or minutes of meetings.  Keeping with its jurisprudence, the Tribunal applied various factors to the case that were relevant to an assessment of the reasonableness of bonds, and observed that the amount of the bond should be “proportionate” to the gravity of the alleged offences.  Parties complied with the Tribunals’ decision and, upon payment of the bond, the vessel was released the same day. 


The Tomimaru case, he continued, also concerning a fishing vessel, raised questions of the confiscation of a vessel and the relation between national and international rules.  The Tribunal observed, in its judgement, that the confiscation of a vessel did not result in an automatic change of the flag or in its loss, but in changes in the ownership of a vessel.  The Tribunal expressed the view that the confiscation of a fishing vessel must not be used to upset the balance between the interests of the flag State and those of the coastal State, and emphasized that a decision to confiscate did not prevent the Tribunal from considering an application for prompt release while proceedings were still before domestic courts in the detaining State.  On that basis, the Tribunal concluded that Japan’s application regarding the Tomimaru no longer had any object, and that the Tribunal was not required to give a decision thereon.


A new development unfolded in the case between Chile and the European Community concerning conservation and sustainable exploitation of swordfish stocks in the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean.  The Tribunal convened a Special Chamber, which extended the time limit for making preliminary objections until 1 January, 2009.  The case was still on the docket.


Citing those cases, he said this had been a significant judicial year for the Tribunal, which had continued to apply its transparent and expeditious procedures, allowing it to render its decisions within remarkably short periods of time.  The Tribunal’s primary task was to settle disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the Convention.  Since only a limited number of States had made declarations under article 287 of the Convention, he hoped an increasing number would make declarations, which would enhance the role of the Tribunal in the settlement of disputes concerning the Convention.  Harmonization of international jurisprudence could be achieved only through permanent courts and tribunals, he said.


The Tribunal’s jurisdiction went beyond the Convention, and States parties could bring disputes on the basis of any international agreement related to the purposes of the Convention, he said.  For instance, in May, the new Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks was adopted at a conference organized by the International Maritime Organization.  Disputes under that Convention, as well as under bilateral agreements, could also be brought before the Tribunal.  The Tribunal was also the natural choice for States parties when they concluded a treaty relating to law of the sea matters, such as the laying of pipelines, the conservation and management of fisheries resources, or marine scientific research.  In the case of the European Community, the Tribunal was, in fact, the only permanent court available to the parties to the dispute.  He concluded by saying that the Tribunal was thus prepared to discharge the functions entrusted to it by the Convention.


SATYA N. NANDAN, Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, recalling that it had been 25 years to the day since the Convention had been opened for signature at Montego Bay, Jamaica, said that event was a “remarkable achievement”, in that it reflected broad support among 119 countries for the Convention.  Today, there were 155 parties to the Convention, and the goal of universal acceptance had been achieved, which was cause for celebration.


He said the initial predictions in the 1970s, on which part XI of the Convention was based, had proved unduly optimistic in light of changing political circumstances.  Today, however, the reality of commercial mining of seabed resources was “closer than at any time in the last 25 years”.  Indeed, in recent years there had been a surge in demand for most metals, and 2006 had seen historic prices on world metals markets, driven mostly by growth in developing economies such as China, India and Brazil.


Delay in commercial seabed mining since 1982 had benefited the international community in three ways, he explained, notably by enabling States to establish the International Seabed Authority on a solid footing, based on economy, efficiency and sound free market principles.  It also had allowed scientists to gain greater understanding of the deep ocean through research, and had provided enough time to elaborate the legal regime for deep seabed mining.


Most examples of environmental regulation occurred in response to degradation, often from overuse of resources, he continued.  Over the last 10 years, the Authority had encouraged the study of the deep sea environment and analyzed and disseminated the results of such research, particularly through the Kaplan project.  That four-year project, which brought together scientists from the United Kingdom, Japan, France and the United States, was the most successful attempt to analyze the species composition and rates of gene flow of living organisms across the abyssal plains of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Central Pacific Ocean.  A key outcome was a set of recommendations on criteria for establishing marine protected areas, or “preservation reference zones”, which would safeguard biodiversity.


On seabed mining, he said, under the Convention, the Council of the Authority could disapprove areas for exploitation where there was a risk of serious harm to the marine environment.  Similarly, under rules for polymetallic nodules, contractors had to designate preservation reference zones where no mining would occur.  The Authority planned to work with the Legal and Technical Commission and others to develop a comprehensive proposal for establishing such areas in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.  While the Authority’s progress on creating regulations for exploration for polymetallic sulphides and cobalt-rich crusts had been slow, the time taken demonstrated the seriousness with which States had approached the task.


Turning to the endowment fund, he said its purpose to encourage the conducting of research would be achieved in two ways:  supporting participation of scientists and technical personnel from developing countries in research programmes; and giving them opportunities to participate in international technical and scientific cooperation.  In closing, he reminded all members of the Authority of their duty to participate in its work.  In response to concerns about the timing of meetings, he said this year the annual meeting had been brought forward to achieve better attendance.


ANNEX I


Vote on Palestinian Rights Committee


The draft resolution on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document A/62/L.18) was adopted by a recorded vote of 109 in favour to 8 against, with 55 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States.


Abstain:  Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu.


Absent:  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu.


ANNEX II


Vote on Division for Palestinian Rights


The draft resolution on the Division for Palestinian Rights (document A/62/L.19) was adopted by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 8 against, with 54 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States.


Abstain:  Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vanuatu.


Absent:  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu.


ANNEX III


Vote on Special Information Programme


The draft resolution on the special information programme on the question of Palestine (document A/62/L.20/REV.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 8 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States.


Abstain:  Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Tonga, Vanuatu.


Absent:  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Kiribati, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu.


ANNEX IV


Vote on Peaceful Settlement of Palestine Question


The draft resolution on the peaceful settlement of the Palestine question (document A/62/L.21/REV.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 7 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:   Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States.


Abstain:  Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Tonga, Vanuatu.


Absent:  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Kiribati, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu.


ANNEX V


Vote on Jerusalem


The draft resolution on Jerusalem (document A/62/L.22) was adopted by a recorded vote of 160 in favour to 6 against, with 7 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States.


Abstain:  Angola, Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu.


Absent:  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Kiribati, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu.


ANNEX VI


Vote on Syrian Golan


The draft resolution on the Syrian Golan (document A/62/L.23) was adopted by a recorded vote of 111 in favour to 6 against, with 56 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States.


Abstain:  Albania, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vanuatu.


Absent:  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Kiribati, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu.


ANNEX VII


Vote on Global Climate Protection


Operative paragraph 11 of the draft resolution on the protection of the global climate for present and future generations (document A/62/419/ADD.4) was adopted by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 2 against, with no abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Japan, United States.


Abstain:  None.


Absent:  Albania, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Somalia, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan.


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For information media • not an official record