GA: Oceans and the Law of the Sea and Sustainable Fisheries

12/11/2012 // Deputy Permanent Representative Ms. Tine Mørch Smith held Norway's statement on "Oceans and the Law of the Sea and Sustainable Fisheries" in the General Assembly on December 10th.

President,

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea sets forth the legal order for the world’s seas and oceans. It provides a solid foundation for peaceful, responsible and predictable management of the oceans. All processes related to oceans must be dealt with within the framework of the Law of the Sea.

Peaceful and sustainable use of the oceans in conformity with the Law of the Sea, including sound fisheries management, remains key priorities for the Norwegian Government.

President,

Global food security is an important priority for Norway. Oceans are critical for global food security, and sustainable and responsible marine management is of vital importance if the oceans are to continue to be a source of human food. Norway therefore supports measures to strengthen sustainable fisheries management and actions to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems from destructive fishing practices. The regional fisheries management organisations play a key role in this context. We welcome the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development this year, which stressed the crucial role of healthy marine ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and sustainable aquaculture for food security and nutrition, and in providing for the livelihoods of millions of people. We are pleased that the General Assembly is expected to emphasise these important issues in this year’s resolution on sustainable fisheries, and to encourage the Food and Agriculture Organization to give due priority to these issues in its future work, following up the report from the Committee on Fisheries.

President,

 

We have over the past few years become concerned about the connections between international organised crime and fisheries crime. We support the ongoing work of the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime and Interpol and welcome the fact that there is greater awareness of these links in General Assembly discussions.

President,

It is essential to protect biological diversity in order to maintain the living networks and systems that are the basis for our existence. There is an urgent need to implement effective measures to combat threats to marine biodiversity and the sustainable use of resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction. It is important to underline that this also applies to areas under national jurisdiction and that every coastal State is responsible for implementing effective measures in conformity with UNCLOS.

We welcome the work of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.  We support and remain committed to the decision taken in Rio this year to address on an urgent basis the issue of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. It is important that all current and potential negative impacts on biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction are examined. Furthermore possible gaps in the legal framework and in the implementation of existing instruments should be identified, and a decision should be taken on the possible development of an international instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We welcome the opportunity to address these issues further at the inter-sessional workshops in May next year and at the meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group in August next year.

President,

Norway firmly believes that regional organisations play a crucial part in protecting marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Impacts on marine biodiversity may differ from one region to another. Different challenges require different solutions. Regional cooperation in all areas must increase. Priority should be given to improving the effectiveness of regional management bodies. In our region cooperation between OSPAR and NEAFC on the establishment of marine protected areas has proved fruitful.

President,

Norway is concerned about the impact on the marine environment of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We know that elevated levels of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere are rapidly changing ocean chemistry, leading to ocean acidification. This may have dramatic consequences for the marine environment and ecosystems.

There is a need for a fuller understanding of the effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms, and the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development calls for support for initiatives that address this issue. Norway therefore supports the proposal for the Informal Consultative Process to focus on ocean acidification during discussions at its fourteenth meeting.

President,

One of the main challenges today relates to implementation of and compliance with the Convention. All States must ensure effective compliance with the Convention through national legislation and enforcement.


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