GA: Workshops on the work of the Working Group

Last updated: 5/10/2012 // On May 9th Christine Finbak, Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held the following statement on the use of inter-sessional workshops to better understand issues discussed in the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.

As emphasized by my delegation earlier in this meeting, we believe that the intersessional workshops will be very useful in advancing the issues we are discussing within this working group. Workshops can be an important arena to moderate understanding of the full range of views and options regarding these issues, as well as assist in identifying the key areas of agreement and disagreement.

My delegation is therefore very supportive of the intersessional workshops.

We are flexible as to the number of and format of these intersessional workshops. We have heard suggestions of 2-3 workshops and we can go along with either of this.

We are also flexible as regards the duration, they could for instance be held from 2-5 days and we are open to back-to-back meetings. Like others we believe it should bring together scientific as well as institutional and legal expertise. Discussion panels consisting of various forms of expertise could be useful to explore these issues. Like Australia and Canada we believe it should be an open and informative dialogue. The workshops should be based on the best available scientific information.

We are flexible as to whether the workshops should be UN workshops or hosted by a State.

Like others have pointed out, Australia, Iceland and Canada, we would need to set out some questions and a mandate for the workshops. In my delegation’s opinion the workshops would need to consider some crucial questions:

1) Where are we today?
o What are the challenges to the marine environment?
o How are these activities regulated?
o Both globally and regionally

2) What is currently lacking?

3) Possible next steps to achieve better conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
o That being through increased implementation of existing instruments
o And/or through a possible new instrument and if so what kind?

In my delegation’s view the workshops should report back to the next Ad-hoc working Group meeting for further discussion. We believe that we will then be in a better position to make a well informed recommendation about the best way forward, should that be through enhanced implementation and cooperation within existing rules and organizations, or in the creation of new rules in the form of an implementing agreement or in a different format.

We are flexible as to the timing of these workshops. It is however important that decisions are taken by this ad-hoc open ended working group.

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