Member States Consider Need for International Treaty to Protect Marine Biodiversity of Global Commons, at 1-4 April Headquarters Meeting

2 April 2014
ENV/DEV/1420

Member States Consider Need for International Treaty to Protect Marine Biodiversity of Global Commons, at 1-4 April Headquarters Meeting

2 April 2014
Press Release
ENV/DEV/1420
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Member States Consider Need for International Treaty to Protect Marine

 

Biodiversity of Global Commons, at 1-4 April Headquarters Meeting

 

Member States have begun a series of meetings at United Nations Headquarters to discuss the need for an international instrument that would regulate the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions.

From 1-4 April, a working group comprising representatives of Member States, intergovernmental organizations, the science community and civil society will discuss ways to protect marine resources from a number of pressures that cumulatively put oceans at risk.

“If we are to fully benefit from the oceans, we must reverse the degradation of the marine environment due to pollution, overexploitation and acidification,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has repeatedly urged all nations to work towards that end, including by joining and implementing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Convention governs all aspects of ocean space, including the delimitation of maritime boundaries, exploitation of living and non-living resources, protection and preservation of the marine environment, marine scientific research, and the settlement of international maritime disputes.  If an instrument were to be developed, it would fall under this Convention.

At the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Member States committed to address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction on an urgent basis.  Healthy, productive and resilient oceans, rich in marine biodiversity, have a significant role to play in sustainable development as they contribute to the health, food security and livelihoods of millions of people around the world, they noted.

United Nations Legal Counsel Miguel de Serpa Soares said in opening remarks at the Headquarters meeting:  “The Working Group is now at a critical juncture of its work.  The next three meetings present a clear opportunity to try and overcome remaining differences and to crystallize the areas of convergence into concrete action.”

The Working Group will present its recommendations on the scope, parameters and feasibility of an international instrument to the General Assembly, so that it can make a decision before the end of its sixty-ninth session, in September 2015.

Co-chairing the meeting were Palitha T. B. Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, and Liesbeth Lijnzaad, Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Media contacts:  Florencia Soto Nino, at e-mail:  sotonino@un.org, tel.: +1 917 367 4833, United Nations Department of Public Information.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.