GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECLARES SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT CLEARLY LINKED TO PEACE, FREEDOM, STABILITY, SECURITY; RENEWAL OF POLITICAL WILL CALLED FOR

26 November 1997
GA/9364

GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECLARES SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT CLEARLY LINKED TO PEACE, FREEDOM, STABILITY, SECURITY; RENEWAL OF POLITICAL WILL CALLED FOR

26 November 1997

Press ReleaseGA/9364

GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECLARES SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT CLEARLY LINKED TO PEACE, FREEDOM, STABILITY, SECURITY; RENEWAL OF POLITICAL WILL CALLED FOR

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Debate Begins on Law of the Sea; Speakers Stress Range Of Issues Covered by Convention, Urge Maximum Participation

The General Assembly this morning stressed that social development was clearly linked to the development of peace, freedom, stability and security, as it adopted, without a vote, a resolution on the implementation of the outcome of the Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development in 1995. The Assembly also stressed the need for a massive renewal of political will to invest in people and their well-being.

By the resolution, introduced by Chile, the Assembly emphasized the need to create a framework for action to place people at the centre of development and to direct economies to meet human needs more effectively. An equitable and favourable economic, political, social and legal environment, in accordance with the Summit's Programme of Action, was essential for people- centred sustainable development.

The Assembly decided to establish a preparatory committee which would hold a four-day organizational session from 19 to 22 May 1998 to pave the way for the Assembly's special session in 2000 for an overall review and appraisal of the outcome of the 1995 Summit.

Also this morning, the Assembly began its consideration of Oceans and Law of the Sea. Opening the debate, Assembly President Hennadiy Udovenko (Ukraine) said the Assembly was the only global institution with the competence to conduct a comprehensive annual review of the issue. The time was ripe to focus on those elements of the Convention on the Law of the Sea that provided important means to promote economic and social development as well as global environmental protection.

The representative of Luxembourg, on behalf of the European Union and associated central and eastern European States, said they were concerned about claims that seemed to limit the freedoms of the high seas, particularly the freedom of navigation as well as the exclusive jurisdiction of the flag State.

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It was also concerned that States had claimed jurisdiction over straits, when such claims were incompatible with rules of customary law, or rules laid down in the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The representative of the Solomon Islands, speaking on behalf of the members of the South Pacific Forum, expressed great concern at reports of the persistent and unlawful use of drift-nets. Those nets must be confiscated, destroyed, and not sold or transferred to others who might use those nets in violation of the global moratorium. He called on developed countries to honour their commitments to provide financial assistance to facilitate the participation of Pacific Island Countries at future inter-sessional working group meetings and high-level conferences.

The representative of New Zealand introduced draft resolutions on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, and on the relationship between the United Nations and the International Seabed Authority.

The representative of the United States introduced the draft resolution on the agreement relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks and another text on drift-net and unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and on the high seas.

In other action this morning, the Assembly elected 29 members of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for four-year terms beginning on 1 January 1998.

Statements were made by Austria, Indonesia, Australia, Malta, Kenya, Ghana, Norway and South Africa.

The Assembly meets again at 3 p.m. today to continue its consideration of the Law of the Sea.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to elect 29 members of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It was also expected to consider its agenda item, Oceans and the Law of the Sea, and to take action on a draft resolution on the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development.

World Summit for Social Development: Draft Resolution

By the terms of a draft resolution on implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development (document A/52/L.25), the Assembly would stress the need for renewed and massive political will at the national, regional and international levels to invest in people and their well-being in order to achieve the objectives of social development. It would also stress that social development is clearly linked, nationally and internationally, to the development of peace, freedom, stability and security.

Further, the Assembly would emphasize the need to create a framework for action to place people at the centre of development, and to direct economies to meet human needs more effectively. It would also stress that an equitable and favourable national and international economic, political, social and legal environment, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 1 of the Summit's Programme of Action, was essential for "social and people-centred sustainable development".

The draft addresses the critical importance of national action and international cooperation for social development; the mobilization of financial resources; the involvement of civil society and other actors; and the role of the United Nations system.

Also by the draft, recalling its decision to establish a special session in 2000 for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the Summit, the Assembly would decide to establish a preparatory committee which would hold a four-day organizational session from 19 to 22 May 1998.

The Assembly would invite governments to contribute to the Trust Fund for the Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development in support of the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, including preparation for the special session.

The sponsors of the draft resolution are Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany,

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Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of the Congo, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zambia.

Oceans and Law of the Sea

On 18 December 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was opened for signature in Montego Bay, Jamaica, after 14 years of preparatory work involving more than 150 countries. According to the Secretary-General's report on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (document A/52/487), the total number of States parties is now 120. Since the Convention entered into force in November 1994, the international community has focused on establishing institutions created by the Convention.

The new treaty system of ocean institutions consists of the International Seabed Authority, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea reviews and monitors developments relating to the law of the sea and implementation of the Convention. The General Assembly has an oversight role. The report stresses the Assembly's important role in developing the new treaty system of ocean institutions, implementing the Convention and promoting international cooperation on new issues in the law of the sea.

As of 30 September, 83 States parties to the Convention were bound by the Agreement on Part XI, which concerns the seabed, ocean floor and subsoil beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. Also as of 30 September, 59 States had signed, and 15 had ratified the agreement on Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. That agreement will enter into force 30 days after the date of deposit of the thirtieth instrument of ratification or accession.

The sixth and seventh meetings of States Parties to the Convention took place in New York in March and May, respectively. The sixth meeting dealt primarily with the draft Agreement on privileges and immunities of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the election of the 21 members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The seventh meeting adopted the Agreement on privileges and immunities.

The eighth meeting will be held in New York in May 1998. The draft budget of the International Tribunal for 1999, and rules of procedure of the

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meeting of States parties will be among the items on the agenda. The meeting will also consider the two annexes to the Rules of Procedure adopted by the Commission.

The Secretary-General's report examines in detail claims to maritime space by region; navigation, including a wide range of safety issues; development of marine resources and environmental protection; marine technology; peace and security, including settlement of disputes, regional cooperation and crimes at sea; and cooperative mechanisms, capacity-building and information.

In the Secretary-General's report on the agreement for implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 on the conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks (document A/52/555), the importance of the early entry into force of the agreement and its effective implementation is emphasized. The report says that although many commercially important straddling and highly migratory fish stocks had been subjected to heavy and little-regulated fishing, the Assembly resolution 51/35 of 9 December 1996 welcomed the fact that a growing number of States and other entities had taken measures to implement the agreement.

A third report by the Secretary-General is on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing, unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and fisheries by-catch and discards (document A/52/557). It contains information from States and international organizations; a review by region; information from States, specialized United Nations agencies and regional and subregional fisheries organizations and arrangements on unauthorized fishing in zones in the national jurisdiction of other States. It also contains information from States, specialized United Nations agencies and regional and subregional fisheries organizations and arrangements, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations on fisheries by-catch and discards.

The report of the Secretary-General on the impact of the entry into force of the Convention on related existing and proposed instruments and programmes (document A/52/491) contains replies from the following United Nations organizations and bodies: the Convention on Biological Diversity; the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission; the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); the International Civil Aviation Organization; the International Court of Justice; the International Hydrographic Organization; the International Labour Organization (ILO); the International Maritime Organization (IMO); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the United Nations International Drug Control Programme; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

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The note by the Secretary-General (document A/52/260) contains an agreement concerning the relationship between the United Nations and the International Seabed Authority. The 18-article agreement was approved by the assembly of the Authority on 27 March and will enter into force on its approval by the General Assembly. The agreement covers cooperation and coordination; assistance to the Security Council; cooperation with the International Court of Justice; reciprocal representation; exchange of information; statistical services; technical assistance; personnel arrangements; conference services; budgetary and financial matters; financing of services; United Nations laissez-passer; implementation of the agreement; amendments; and entry into force of the agreement.

In a related draft resolution (document A/52/L.27), the Assembly would approve the agreement concerning the relationship between the United Nations and the International Seabed Authority.

The draft is sponsored by Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

By the terms of the 29-Power draft resolution on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (document A/52/L.26) the Assembly would call on States to harmonize their national legislation with the Convention, to ensure the consistent application of its provisions. The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure that the Organization adequately respond to the needs of States, the newly established institutions (including the Seabed Authority and the International Seabed Tribunal), and other competent international organizations, taking into account the special needs of developing countries. It would also request the Secretary-General to ensure that in carrying out his responsibilities under the Convention, those activities were not adversely affected by savings under the United Nations approved budget.

Among other provisions of the draft, the Assembly would call on States to strengthen the implementation of existing international and regional agreements on marine pollution, and to take individual and collective action to improve the quality and quantity of scientific data used to protect the marine environment.

The sponsors of the draft are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.

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By the terms of the draft resolution on the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks (document A/52/L.39), the Assembly would recognize the significance of the agreement relating to the issue in the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of December 1982. It would call on all States and entities that have not done so to ratify or accede to the agreement and consider applying it provisionally. It would call on States and other entities and regional and subregional fishery management organizations and arrangements that have not done so to consider taking measures to implement the agreement. It would urge States, specialized agencies, international organizations, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to provide information to the Secretary-General to ensure a comprehensive report.

It would ask the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its fifty-fourth session, and biennially thereafter, on developments relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks. He would also be requested to ensure that reporting on all major fishery-related activities and instruments is coordinated with minimum duplication of activities and reporting, and that studies are disseminated to the international community. It would invite specialized agencies and regional and subregional fishery organizations to cooperate with the Secretary-General.

The sponsors of the draft are Australia, Canada, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea and the United States.

By the terms of the six-Power draft resolution (document A/52/L.30) the Assembly would urge the international community to ensure full compliance with resolution 46/215 calling for a global moratorium on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing, and to impose appropriate sanctions against acts contrary to that resolution. It would call on States to ensure that no fishing vessels entitled to fly their national flags fish in areas under the national jurisdiction of other States unless authorized by the coastal State or States concerned. It would urge States, international organizations and regional and subregional fisheries organizations to adopt policies and measures, including assistance to developing countries, collect and exchange data and develop techniques to reduce by-catches, fish discards and post-harvest losses.

It would reiterate its call on development assistance organizations to support efforts of developing coastal States, particularly the least developed countries and the small island developing States, to improve the monitoring and control of fishing activities and the enforcement of fishing regulations.

The sponsors of the draft are Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the United States.

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Governing Council of UNEP

The Assembly proceeded to elect 29 members of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to replace those members whose term of office expires on 31 December 1997.

The 29 outgoing members were Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Nicaragua, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, United States, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Those States were eligible for immediate re-election.

Those members remaining on the Council after 1 January 1998 are Algeria, Australia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, India, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Samoa, Slovakia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Those States were not eligible for re-election.

In accordance with paragraph 16 of Assembly decision 34/401, the secret ballot for elections to subsidiary organs was dispensed with since the number of candidates corresponded to the number of seats to be filled.

The endorsed candidates for the eight seats from the group of African States were Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Malawi, Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

The endorsed candidates for the six seats from the group of Asian States were China, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea and Syria.

The endorsed candidates for the three seats from the group of Eastern European States were Belarus, Hungary and the Russian Federation.

The endorsed candidates for the five seats from the Latin American and Caribbean States were Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Cuba, Jamaica and Venezuela.

The endorsed candidates for the seven seats from the Western European and other States were Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Norway and the United States.

Since the number of candidates endorsed by those groups corresponded to the number of seats to be filled in each region, the Assembly President declared those States elected members of the Governing Council of UNEP for four-year terms beginning on 1 January 1998.

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World Social Summit

JUAN LARRAIN (Chile), introducing the draft resolution A/52/L.25 on implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development, announced the following co-sponsors: Azerbaijan, Benin, Cyprus, Guinea- Bissau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Honduras, India, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Madagascar, Thailand, Botswana, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Tunisia, Mauritius, Maldives and Ethiopia.

He said the draft reaffirmed commitments taken at the World Summit for Social development in Copenhagen in 1995 to advance social justice, to improve the human condition and to establish a framework for development, international cooperation in social development, the nature of cooperation and the implementation of the Summit's Plan of Action.

He said the draft highlighted full employment in policy formulation and government policies. The Declaration and Plan of Action of the Summit would make it necessary to mobilize finances for development cooperation and assistance. It would also ensure the participation of civil society and follow-up at national levels. The draft adopted decisions and provisions necessary for the special Assembly session in the year 2000, and would consider subsequent actions and initiatives.

The Under Secretary-General for General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services said that in respect of the draft, the Assembly would decide to establish a preparatory committee open to all of the Organization's members. That committee would hold a special session in May consisting of a total of eight meetings.

The Assembly then adopted the resolution without a vote.

Oceans and the Law of the Sea

The President of the Assembly, HENNADIY UDOVENKO (Ukraine), said the item on the law of the sea had been significantly expanded at the present Assembly session to include all ocean issues. The wider mandate was evidence of the importance Member States attached to presenting a global overview of those issues to the Assembly which was the only global institution with the competence to conduct such a comprehensive annual review.

He suggested that Member States not limit their discussion to the normative aspect of the instruments pertaining to the law of the sea and their positive contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security. In view of the ongoing United Nations reform process, and considering the growing support for the Organization's new role in addressing development issues, the time was ripe to focus on those elements of the Convention that

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provided important means to promote economic and social development as well as global environmental protection.

FELICITY WONG (New Zealand) introduced draft resolutions A/52/L.26 on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, and A/52/L.27 on the Relationship between the United Nations and the International Seabed Authority. Additional co-sponsors for the draft A/52/L.26 were: Austria, China, Croatia, Guinea-Bissau, India, Italy, Malaysia, Malta, Mozambique, Myanmar, Netherlands, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago and Ukraine. Additional co-sponsors for draft A/52/L.27 were: Argentina, China, Austria, Guinea-Bissau, India, Italy, Malaysia, Malta, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.

She said the resolution on Oceans and Law of the Sea resulted from a series of open-ended consultations among delegations and its focus was to recall certain important aspects of the Law of the Sea Convention (1982). It also expressed the international community's welcome at the increasing number of States parties to the Convention, while encouraging further States to become party. The next meeting of the States parties would be held from 18 to 22 May 1998, with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf set to continue the work initiated after the election of its members.

She said the draft on the relationship between the United Nations and the International Seabed Authority was a housekeeping resolution approving the agreement between the two bodies. The relationship agreement established a framework for cooperation on administrative and technical support matters. The agenda item would remain open at the end of Assembly action today, so that in the New Year the relationship agreement presently being concluded between the Organization and the Tribunal could be considered and approved.

She said it was unfortunate that it had become the usual practice for one delegation to request a recorded vote on this draft resolution, but if there was a collective process to avoid that outcome next year, her delegation would wholeheartedly support it.

JACK SPITZER (United States) introduced the draft resolutions on the "Agreement of the Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks" (document A/52/L.29) and on "Large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing: unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and on the high seas; fisheries by-catch and discards; and other developments" (document A/52/L.30). He said that Iceland, Malaysia, Samoa, Ukraine, Argentina, Brazil and the Solomon Islands had joined as co-sponsors of draft L.29, and that Samoa, Argentina, Philippines, Brazil and Solomon Islands had become co-sponsors of draft L.30.

He said the United States Administration was working with the United States Senate on the Law of the Sea Convention to achieve "the necessary advice and consent". As confidence in the Law of the Sea regime grew, he

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said, States would begin reviewing the declarations and statements made upon signature and ratification of, or accession to the Law of the Sea Convention. Hopefully, many of the statements and declarations which were not in conformity with the Convention would be withdrawn.

He said piracy and armed robbery on the high seas had become a major problem demanding proactive responses. The United States urged all States to become party to the Maritime Terrorism Convention and its related protocol by 2000. States must make a more concerted effort within United Nations bodies to give full force to the 1995 Global Programme of Action on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities. That programme was a major contribution to international efforts to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The United States supported establishment of a mechanism that would allow developed and developing countries to share information on items such as sewage and wastewater, heavy metals, nutrients and sediments. The agreement to promote compliance with international conservation and management measures by fishing vessels on the high seas, as well as the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement and the Code of Conduct were the cornerstones for sustainable fisheries.

He said the United States also called on the entire international community to abide by the United Nations moratorium on large-scale drift-net fishing and to take action against violators, including the confiscation and destruction of large-scale drift-nets and deterrent penalties. His country welcomed efforts by the FAO to reduce the incidental capture of seabirds in longline fisheries, promoting the conservation and management of sharks and managing fishing capacity. In summary, the goals of the United States were implementation of the Law of the Sea Convention and the 1994 agreement in a cost-effective way with budgets held to the minimum; the entry into force of the United Nations fish stocks agreement and the compliance agreement; and provision for an annual overview of oceans issues in the Assembly under a single agenda item.

SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg), for the European Union and associated central and eastern European States, said a number of States which had ratified the Convention on the Law of the Sea had not yet taken the step of adhering to the Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention and should make an effort to do so. She called on them to make an effort to ratify the Agreement. It was important that all States worked towards a uniform and coherent body of law for the oceans, and were thus parties to both the Convention and the Agreement. However, universal acceptance of the Convention should not be at the expense of its integrity. It was a concern that a number of States had made declarations that appeared to exclude or modify the legal effect of certain provisions of the Convention. The prohibition of reservations was not merely a restrictive rule; it was an essential safeguard for maintaining the balance struck between the many interests covered by the Convention and the Agreement.

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She said there was concern that several States had legislation that appeared to be contrary to the agreed rules of the Law of the Sea, and were contrary to customary law. The European Union was concerned about claims that seemed to limit the freedoms of the high seas, particularly the freedom of navigation as well as the exclusive jurisdiction of the flag State. It was also concerned that States had claimed jurisdiction over straits, when such claims were incompatible with rules of customary law, or rules laid down in the Convention.

She stressed the need for a consistent interpretation of the Convention's rules. States parties to the Convention should reconsider any declarations or reservations not in conformity with the Convention, with a view to withdrawing them. She called on the Secretary-General to include that issue in his next report.

HELMUT TUERK (Austria), speaking in his capacity as President of the seventh meeting of States parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, reported on certain developments relating to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. He said the seventh meeting had approved the Tribunal's 1998 budget amounting to $7,779,000. In adopting the agreement on the privileges and immunities of the Tribunal, the meeting had included in its report a statement to the effect that on a question of insurance coverage for vehicles owned and operated by the Tribunal and its members and officials, States parties would not normally expect reliance to be placed on immunity in respect of claims for damages arising from accidents involving such vehicles.

On the issue of laissez-passer by the United Nations to Tribunal members, the meeting decided that although the issuance of those documents by the United Nations would facilitate Tribunal development and promote cost- effectiveness, the Tribunal would, nonetheless, retain its juridical personality and capacities, as contained in the provisions of the Convention and Agreement. The Tribunal would therefore retain the right to issue its own laissez-passer in the future.

He said the seventh meeting had discussed its role in reviewing ocean and law of the sea issues. The review should be a regular item on the agenda of the meeting, despite the fact that it was an important discussion item in the General Assembly. He said emphasis was placed on the need to improve coordination among Secretariat units involved in maritime issues, and a need to strengthen the overall coordination in relation to institutional responsibilities in marine affairs within the United Nations system. He referred to developments relating to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

He said the Commission had adopted its rules of procedure and modus operandi, which described what should be included in the submission of a coastal State and how it should be presented to and considered by the Commission.

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MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said his country ratified the Convention in 1985, had adopted many of its provisions in its national legislation and would continue to do so. The Convention was the cornerstone for international, regional and bilateral cooperation in the framework of which Indonesia supported cooperation with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other organizations.

In accordance with article 41 of the Convention, giving coastal States the right to designate sea lanes and stipulate traffic separation schemes for straits used for international navigation, he said, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore proposed new traffic separation schemes in the Straits of Malacca.

He said Indonesia was concerned about the degradation of the marine environment, and had adopted legislation in line with article 56(1) of the Convention concerning the right of coastal States to protect and preserve the marine environment. Also, Indonesia supported the agreement for the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. The agreement paved the way to ensuring sustainable living resources of the oceans based on cooperation, mutual benefits and shared responsibility.

REX HOROI (Solomon Islands), speaking for members of the South Pacific Forum, said this year marked the successful outcome of the second Multilateral High-level Conference on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the western and central Pacific, held in the Marshall Islands in June. The conference focused on measures to implement the 1995 Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks Agreement. Attended by Forum members and governments whose vessels fished in the area, the conference reviewed key target stocks, issues relating to the conservation and management of highly migratory fish stocks, options for the development and operation of a regional fisheries management arrangement, and agreed to a future programme of work.

He said the twenty-eighth South Pacific Forum, held in September in the Cook Islands, called on developed countries to honour their obligations and commitments to provide financial assistance to facilitate the participation of Pacific Island countries at future inter-sessional working group meetings and high-level conferences.

He said the Solomon Islands fully supported draft resolution A/52/L.29, which called on all States and other entities to become party to the migratory fish stocks agreement. It was a matter of great concern that, in some areas, reports of the unlawful use of drift-nets persisted. It was important that nets be confiscated, destroyed and not sold or transferred to others who might use those nets in violation of the global moratorium. He fully supported draft resolution A/52/L.30 concerning the global moratorium on the use of drift-nets and the problems of by-catch and unlawful fishing. He also

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supported draft resolution A/52/L.26 concerning Oceans and the Law of the Sea, which this year noted the important progress made by the new institutions of the International Seabed Authority and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and endorsed draft resolution A/52/L.27, approving the relationship agreement between the United Nations and the International Seabed Authority.

MARK GRAY (Australia) said his Government associated itself with the statement by the representative of the Solomon Islands, on behalf of the members of the South Pacific Forum. Australia would like to see improved information exchange among those bodies dealing with the seas and ocean policy, by electronic networks, such as websites and E-mail conferencing and regular interagency coordination meetings. The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea should be strengthened and there should be a Secretariat focal point responsible for compiling information on the Law of the Sea and its implementation by States. It was essential that all parties comply fully with the letter and spirit of the agreement relating to the conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. Australia was currently reviewing domestic arrangements with a view to ratification.

He said Australia was greatly concerned about the recent increase in illegal fishing in the southern ocean. It had taken, and would continue to take, concrete steps to combat illegal fishing and properly manage the resources within its exclusive economic zone. He urged all States to take appropriate steps both unilaterally and through regional management organizations.

Australia had co-sponsored the draft resolution on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing. The limits of tolerance had been reached regarding violations of the global moratorium on drift-net fishing. He called for States to ensure that drift-nets were confiscated and destroyed, not sold or transferred to others who could then continue the "abominable and illegal practice".

He said progress under the Wellington Convention on the prohibition if long drift-nets in the South Pacific was a good example of regional action, in which Asia-Pacific and distant water fishing States were invited to participate without delay.

GEORGE SALIBA (Malta) said the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provided a comprehensive framework for dealing with the oceans, addressing issues of peace, security, conservation and management and dispute settlement. It had established a unique principle in international law -- the common heritage of mankind. The International Seabed Authority had been established and had itself instituted internal mechanisms. The Authority was now focusing on more substantive issues related to deep sea-bed mining. The ongoing negotiations on the Draft Mining Code would, hopefully, yield good and comprehensive results.

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He said the Convention continued to be strengthened through the negotiations and adoptions of agreements to further define and regulate areas which it did not fully address. The regional approach remained an important one. In its region, Malta had promoted further measures in pollution control and hosted the regional centre to combat oil pollution. Malta had recently proposed the adoption of a recommendation concerning drift-net fishing to the General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean, and its Government was currently undertaking to draft legislation regarding conservation and management so as to be in a better position to apply principles of sustainable development. He hoped that the Assembly's proclamation of 1998 as the International Year of Oceans would further enhance and encourage the universality of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) noted that the Commission on the continental shelf had begun addressing a number of important issues related to its work during its last session in September. Another significant event was the successful completion by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea of its judicial organizational phase, despite operating with a modest budget and a tiny staff. During its fourth session, the Tribunal had adopted three significant instruments: the rules of the Tribunal; a set of guidelines to assist parties in presenting cases; and a resolution on the internal judicial practice. Those instruments would not only facilitate the smooth functioning of the Tribunal but would also make it more amenable to potential litigants.

He said the ultimate test of the success of the Convention on the Law of the Sea would depend on the political will and commitment of States to abide by its provisions. Final realization of its benefits would require positive, sustained and collective efforts by States. As the activities derived from the implementation of the Convention increased, so did the practical requirements of promoting and assisting State practice in accordance with the Convention. In that regard, the special needs of developing countries, particularly training in ocean and coastal area management and development, and the conduct of marine scientific research were more acute than before.

ERIC ODOI-ANIM (Ghana) said the international community should address aspects of the oceans and related issues affecting Member States, particularly developing countries. There were differences in levels of socio-economic development between States, and such differences were directly linked to the ability of developing countries to fully utilize all aspects of the oceans and to adjust to consequences of changes in the overall marine environment.

He said the United Nations should initiate policy objectives which would enhance the capacity of developing countries to address effects of imbalances, and to enable those countries to utilize benefits conferred on them under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The development of marine resources and protection of the environment was an issue of utmost concern to his delegation. It was regrettable that the UNEP report on the global environmental outlook indicated a continuous trend of environmental

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deterioration. Although protection of the marine environment had been addressed by legal instruments at global and regional levels, States practices were inconsistent and reflected a lack of uniformity.

He said Ghana agreed with the conclusions arrived at by the first meeting of experts on marine and coastal biological diversity, held in Djakarta in March, and particularly those decisions which underscored that integrated marine and coastal management constituted the most effective tool for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity. Actions taken in that direction should be based on the Convention of the Law of the Sea.

It was regrettable, he went on, that ships flying the flags of some Member States continued to throw perceived stowaways into shark-infested waters, or even murdered some stowaways outright on board and set others on rafts on the highs seas. It was equally regrettable that ships in the proximity of such unfortunate individuals had refused to render assistance. Ghana had taken steps to curb the incidence of stowaways in its ports, and hoped that Member States would fully discharge their obligations under the relevant articles of the Convention.

HANS JACOB BIORN LIAN (Norway) said that for a country like his, highly dependent on the peaceful uses of the seas, the Convention on the Law of the Sea contributed substantially to both legal certainty and international stability. In 1996, Norway had ratified the Convention and acceded to the Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention. The Agreement was an integral part of the package. There seemed to be a discrepancy between the relatively low number of States parties to the Agreement -- less than 90 -- and the more than 120 States parties to the Convention. Hopefully, that gap would be bridged in the near future. He expressed concern at information in the Secretary-General's report on attempts by States parties, through declarations, to attach conditions which might modify the legal effects of the Convention's provisions.

In certain cases, he said, the status of fisheries on the high seas was so alarming that it was not possible to wait for the entry into force of the 1995 Agreement relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks. Bringing unregulated fisheries under control was an important precondition for the sustainable management of important fisheries. Concerted action and increased cooperation should be accompanied by national implementation measures to ensure credibility. Regional and subregional cooperation arrangements for fisheries on the high seas needed to be developed further in conformity with the principles of the 1995 Agreement.

He said Norway had raised the importance of consistency between new international agreements and the Convention on the Law of the Sea in ongoing negotiations with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It was important that both the geographic and functional limits on

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coastal State authority beyond the territorial sea be taken into account when negotiating such new agreements. These should not interfere with Convention rules pertaining to the conservation and management of natural resources.

KHIPHUSIZI J. JELE (South Africa) said that although South Africa was not presently among the 122 States parties to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, it had participated in the seven States parties meetings, and was also a provisional member of the International Seabed Authority. Neverthelesss, South Africa was expected to join the States parties soon. He noted with concern that 15 States, including some who were State parties to the Convention, continued to claim a territorial sea in excess of the limit of 12 nautical miles as mandated in the Convention. He also emphasized the importance of coordination between the United Nations and the specialized agencies, particularly the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), who had specific roles to play under the Convention.

He said South Africa was positively disposed towards the fish stocks agreement and was considering accession in the near future. Illegal foreign fishing in South African territorial waters and exclusive economic zone continued to concern his country. In that regard, a Marine Living Resources Bill, which aimed to provide for the conservation of the marine ecosystem, the long-term sustainable utilization of marine living resources and the protection and orderly access to exploitation of certain marine living resources, was introduced to the South African Parliament. In addition, his country had outlawed the use of drift-net fishing in areas under its national jurisdiction. Unfortunately, it appeared that the worldwide moratorium on the use of drift-nets was not being universally enforced.

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For information media. Not an official record.