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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
H.E. Ambassador HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR.
Permanent Representative of the

Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

on Agenda Item 77 (a) Oceans and the Law of the Sea
and (b) Sustainable Fisheries, Etc.
at the 64th Plenary Meeting, 62nd Session of the General Assembly
United Nations, New York, 10 December 2007

Mr. President,

Before anything else, my delegation commends you for convening this meeting to receive the reports of the Secretary General on (a) Oceans and the Law of the Sea (A/62/66, A/62/66 Add. 1 and A/62/66/Add. 2) and (b) Sustainable Fisheries, etc. (A/ 62/260); and to deliberate and act on the Resolutions re the first (A/ 62/L. 27) and re the second (A/62/L. 24).

My delegation is tremendously encouraged by the importance the General Assembly continues to give to the issue of oceans and the Law of the Sea. It notes with appreciation and welcomes the Report of the Secretary General on Oceans and the Law of the Sea as it records in as clear and concise a manner as possible all our efforts relating to and the relevant important developments concerning the oceans and the Law of the Sea.

As we mark the 25 th year of the opening for signature of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, it is even more auspicious that today the General Assembly takes action on two resolutions I earlier mentioned which are founded on the application of this Convention. These resolutions are testaments to the continued interest of Member States in the oceans and its resources.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea has been heralded - and accurately, indeed - as the constitution of the oceans for it establishes the legal framework that governs all aspects of ocean use and development. As a carefully balanced document of rights and obligations, it establishes a legal order that guarantees and safeguards the exercise of these rights and the observance and performance of these obligations through the creation of appropriate institutions.

As an archipelago with 7,107 islands and a maritime nation that relies heavily for its economic growth, development and progress on the oceans and its vast resources, as much as on its inland natural wealth and resources, the Philippines attaches utmost importance to a just, fair, equitable, rational and orderly legal regime for our seas and oceans.

The Philippines notes and keeps in constant touch with the continuing development of international law relating to ocean use and jurisdiction through the rulings or decisions of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. It also awaits with keen interest the decisions emanating from the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf affecting the area and the work of the International Seabed Authority. And it looks forward with much hope to the 18 th meeting of States Parties to the Convention next year for the promise it holds for a meaningful discussion on law of the sea issues involving States Parties as well as observers. Undoubtedly, progress of the meeting would be proof of the readiness of States Parties to assume a new, and definitely more challenging, role in the universal application and interpretation, if necessary, of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The report of the Secretary general highlights the increasing cooperative activities, cross-cutting on all regions and in all sectors, in marine scientific research, marine environmental protection, search-and-rescue at sea, and in combating piracy and other maritime crimes. These activities are solid proofs of the State Parties’ full awareness and realization of the impact of implementation of the governing principle expressed in the preambular paragraph of the Convention that the problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole.

Despite all efforts at cooperation, problems still exist. Marine pollution and destructive fishing methods continue to threaten the fragile ocean environment, piracy remains a threat to the safety of navigation, and other maritime crimes remain a serious threat to our security. The oceans and even the application and development of international norms and conventions, including the Convention on the Law of the Sea, endlessly and continuously challenge all nations to govern its uses and the management of its resources and environment. The Philippines thus welcomes the convening of next year the Ad hoc Informal Open-Ended Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction and expresses high hopes that the meeting will be a forum that can provide more meaningful guidance on the legal regime to govern such resources.

As a country that holds and keeps keen interest and deep concern on the oceans and its resources, the Philippines looks forward to the adoption of the two resolutions under consideration because of the promise they hold for the maintenance of the legal order for the oceans and its resources.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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