STATEMENT BY NORMA TAYLOR ROBERTS
DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE
PERMANENT MISSION OF JAMAICA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ITEM 16: REPORT OF THE SECRETRAY-GENERAL UNDER ARTICLE 319
FIFTEENTH MEETING OF STATES PARTIES TO THE
UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA
20TH JUNE 2005, NEW YORK
My delegation welcomes the opportunity for representatives to the Meeting of States Parties to the UN Law of the Sea Convention to have an exchange of views on issues relating to Oceans and Law of the Sea in accordance with Article 319 of the Convention which mandates the Secretary-General to report to States Parties on issues of a general nature that have arisen with respect to the Convention. We thank the Secretary-General and the staff of the Secretariat for providing this comprehensive report.
I wish to state at the outset how pleased we are that since the last meeting of States Parties, three additional States have become Parties to the Convention – Denmark, Latvia and Burkina Faso – and all three States have expressed their consent to be bound by the Agreement relating to the implementation of part 11 of the Convention.
It is the responsibility of States Parties to the Convention to promote the understanding and implementation of the Convention, hence, developments on issues relating to oceans and law of the sea and in particular, the work of the institutions created by the Convention are of direct interest and relevance to this meeting; that is why there is a procedure in place for reports to be made to this Body. But, Mr. President, beyond these reports, how do we, as Member States, follow through on the information presented here. Apart from the decisions adopted in respect of the Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, it would be useful, where applicable, to have an outcome or conclusion on issues raised, especially regarding the other institutions.
The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, for example, has presented to Member States, information on possible consequences of the projected work-load of the Commission and a request was made by a representative for this to be communicated in writing to Member States but procedurally, how will this be followed up, shouldn’t there be a conclusion to the effect that Member States have agreed to review this matter with a view to taking a decision at its next meeting or to convey their comments, for example.
Opportunity should be taken at our meetings to review certain best practices or initiatives being taken by Member States. We do not expect a litany of activities and events, but especially where they have a regional or international impact, the information could be useful in promoting collaboration and assistance to other States.
The Caribbean Maritime Delimitation Conference, which commenced as a political initiative by the Government of Mexico, has provided a forum for countries in the region to discuss any issue relating to Maritime Delimitation, to identify opportunities for technical assistance which may assist in and to promote cooperation and agreement with neighbouring States. This is a purely voluntary forum which does not create any obligations on Member States.
The Informal Consultative Process which was established six years ago by the General Assembly has performed a useful role in bringing together all the relevant agencies whose work relate to oceans and law of the sea to discuss recent developments and many important issues have been brought to the fore. However, as the name states, this is in INFORMAL process.
With this process having been set in train, perhaps it is time for this Meeting to look more closely at some of the issues deliberated in the United Nations Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and Law of the Sea and to give consideration to continuing such discussion at the Meeting of States Parties. One such area that the Meeting of States Parties could give consideration to discussing in a future meeting is that of bio-prospecting on which questions relating to a legal regime for exploration activities in the deep seabed are being raised. It is important for Member States to be involved in such discussions.
The information provided at this meeting and in the Secretary-General’s report, will not be of any effect if it is not addressed and we encourage Member States to give the necessary attention to the information made available to the Meeting of States Parties