Remarks by Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly at BBNJ negotiations
21 July 2017
I thank you for the opportunity to address you.
I wanted to be here to acknowledge the great efforts of the Chair of the Preparatory Committee, H.E. Ambassador Mr. Carlos Duarte. In a complex process, you have showed once again that building the bridges to consensus requires outstanding diplomatic skills and deep personal commitment. You and your hard-working team have earned our deepest thanks. I also thank the Government of Brazil for allowing Ambassador Duarte to continue to serve as Chair even though he has had to travel and officiate from his current post as Brazil’s Ambassador to Chile.
I also thank Gabby Goettsche-Wanli and her team from DOALOS. They have worked tirelessly throughout this process to get us to this point.
I particularly wish to recognize the work of all of you delegates who have come from all over the world, for working cooperatively and constructively throughout consultations and negotiations, and showing flexibility to take us to the common good.
This is indeed a momentous moment for the Ocean and for the high seas and the rich biodiversity therein. This is one more solid step by the international community, and by the United Nations, towards ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of the Ocean and its resources. As I have repeatedly said this year, the Ocean is in deep trouble, and we have to face our joint responsibility to reverse the cycle of decline into which accumulated human activity has pushed it.
I would also like to reiterate that we are all in this together. The Ocean unites us. Thus I choose this moment to thank the members of the academia, the scientific community, non-governmental organizations, inter-governmental organizations, and all civil society for their support throughout this process. We need your presence in such negotiations more than ever.
From here we move on to the consideration of the General Assembly, where I am confident progress on this work will continue in a very positive vein.
I thank you all and wish you safe travels homewards.