Marshall Islands associates itself with the statements made by Samoa on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group and by South Africa on behalf of the G77 and China.
We commend the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on Oceans and Law of the Sea on issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. We support his view that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in general and marine biodiversity in particular, play an integral part in socio-economic development. How this can be achieved rests on the way the international community will work together on available options and approaches.
Marshall Islands looks forward to positive and fruitful exchanges of views on scientific, technical, economic, legal, environmental, socio-economic and other aspects of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity. As a nation whose livelihood depends on the resources of the sea, we are increasingly concerned about the state of the world’s oceans, fish stocks, and the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean’s resources.
While developments are ongoing in the Pacific Islands Regional Oceans Policy (PIROP), we are very concerned about the prevalence of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and the adverse effects of destructive fishing in areas that have high concentration of underwater seamounts and vulnerable ecosystems. These activities are viewed as having significant impacts on marine biodiversity, thus, we reiterate the need to enhance international cooperation and coordination in the conservation and management of fish stocks through relevant organizations.
Marshall Islands is hopeful that a clarification will be presented on the status of deep seabed resources beyond national jurisdiction and the nature of activities related to them in the light of the general principles contained in the United Nations Convention on Oceans and Law of the Sea.
Finally Co-Chairs, Marshall Islands wishes to assure you of its support and cooperation as you steer us through this important meeting. We are hopeful that this working group will usher in a new negotiation process that will establish new governance arrangements for marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction for the benefit of all.