General Assembly Decides to Convene High-Level Conference on Sustainable Ocean Use, Postpone Next Session of South-South Cooperation Committee until 2020

GA/12143
9 May 2019
Seventy-third Session, 80th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly Decides to Convene High-Level Conference on Sustainable Ocean Use, Postpone Next Session of South-South Cooperation Committee until 2020

Delegates Also Appoint Member to Committee on Contributions

The General Assembly decided today to convene a high-level conference in Lisbon from 2 to 6 June 2020 that will focus on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution titled “2020 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14:  Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (document A/73/L.82).

Through the text, it decided that the overarching theme of the Conference – which follows up on the Ocean Conference held at Headquarters on 5 to 9 June 2017 - shall be “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14:  stocktaking, partnerships and solutions” and encouraged participation at the highest level.

It also decided that the Conference shall adopt, by consensus, a “brief, concise, action-oriented and intergovernmentally agreed declaration” that will focus on, and highlight, science-based and innovative areas of action to support the implementation of Goal 14.  It is also to adopt a list of voluntary commitments for the implementation of Goal 14 registered after 9 June 2017 and announced at the Conference.

Through the resolution, the Assembly welcomed the offer by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal to co-host and assume the costs of the Conference and requested its President to organize a two-day preparatory meeting in February 2020.

Lazarus O. Amayo (Kenya), who introduced the draft text, said it reaffirms the commitment made by Portugal and Kenya to follow up on the 2017 Conference and marks the renewed mobilization of efforts to support the implementation of Goal 14.  “We cannot afford to rest on our laurels,” he emphasized.  More efforts are necessary to reverse the current cycle of decline of ocean and marine resources.  The text also reiterates that the importance of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development cannot be overstated.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a clear road map of what needs to be done.  “Failure is not an option,” he added, urging the international community to keep the sustainable oceans and seas high on the 2030 Agenda.  The 2020 Conference may not solve all the challenges, but it will serve as an opportunity to bring about a new generation of concrete, ambitious commitments and help us to forge new, inclusive and effective partnerships.  He pledges to work with all Member States in preparing for the June 2020 Conference.

The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said his country joined consensus on the resolution, supports the spirit of the 2030 Agenda and will remain a global leader in sustainable development.  The United States also recognizes the 2030 Agenda’s call for shared responsibility, including national responsibilities and that each country will work towards it in line with national priorities.  Turning to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, he noted that much of the trade-related language in the Addis outcome document has been overtaken by events since July 2015.  It is, therefore, immaterial, and the Assembly’s reaffirmation of the outcome has no standing for ongoing work and negotiations that involve trade.  The United States is committed to the conservation and sustainable management of the ocean.

In other business, the Assembly decided to further postpone the twentieth session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, which was to be held in 2019, to May 2020.

Adopting a draft decision titled “Twentieth session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation” (document A/73/L.83), the Assembly also decided that the twentieth session of the High-level Committee shall consist of a one-day organizational meeting and a four-day substantive session.

Philip Ochen Andrew Odida (Uganda), introducing the text on behalf of Members of the Bureau of the High-level Committee, said it contains actions to postpone the twentieth session of the Committee previously scheduled for June 2019 to allow enough time to prepare for the session, taking into consideration the Buenos Aires outcome document.  That document calls upon the Committee to continue to engage with Member States in inclusive and transparent consultations during regular sessions, for further enhancing South-South and triangular cooperation.  “It is our belief that postponing the session would enable the High-level Committee to fully implement the above decision,” he added.

Finally today, the Assembly – taking up a report of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on the appointment of members to the Committee on Contributions (document A/73/483/Add.3) - appointed Na Sang-deok (Republic of Korea) to the 18-member body, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Yoon Seongmee (Republic of Korea), which took effect on 4 April 2019.  His term of office will begin immediately and end on 31 December 2020.

For information media. Not an official record.