United Nations Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.
  • العربية
  • 简体中文
  • English
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

First Session of the Preparatory Committee on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ)

Monday, 23 May 2016
Ms. Tilanie Silva

General Statement (Agenda Item 6)

Statement by the Delegation of Sri Lanka


Mr. Chairman, distinguished  Delegates, 

  • At the outset I wish to join all other delegations who have spoken before me to congratulate you Mr. Chairperson and the Bureau on your election. We are aware of the valuable work you have put into this process and we are confident that with your able leadership and guidance our deliberations will reach a fruitful conclusion.


  • I also wish to express our sincere appreciation to the invaluable documentation provided for this meeting by Division for Oceans and the Law of the Sea and the Office of Legal Affairs which will indeed provide a useful background for our deliberations.


  • I also take this opportunity to commend, the invaluable work accomplished by the Ad Hoc Working Group on BBNJ under the guidance provided by the co-chairs, Dr. Khona of Sri Lanka  and Dr. Liesbeth of Netherlands. The issues identified by the Ad Hoc Working Group provides useful pointers in approaching the issue pertaining to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdictions. As a developing coastal State Sri Lanka attaches a highest importance to issues related to international cooperation in the conservation and sustainable use of marine bio diversity as well as capacity building and transfer of marine technology. We will make specific interventions under the relevant agenda items as we proceed with our deliberations.


  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the historic outcome of UNCLOS III which Sri Lanka was privileged to chair under late Ambassador Shirly Amarasinghe, was built upon the principle of the common heritage of mankind. As we proceed with the task of formulating a legally binding instrument on Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction, we must have uppermost in our minds, the ‘common heritage’ principle. The legal instrument we are discussing must complement the Law of the Sea Convention and other related instruments regarding ocean resources without in anyway undermining them.


  • Mr. Chairperson, finally I wish to assure you the commitment of my delegation to extend our fullest support to the work of the preparatory committee and to collectively work towards the completion of the mandate of this committee.