GA: Oceans and the Law of the Sea and Sustainable Fisheries

Statement by Counsellor Mr. Andreas Motzfeldt Kravik on Oceans and the Law of the Sea and Sustainable Fisheries, 5 December 2017.

| General Assembly

Mr. President,

Norway had the honor to coordinate the informal consultations on draft resolution A/72/L.12, on sustainable fisheries, and is pleased to introduce that text on behalf of all its sponsors.

This year’s draft resolution is a further step forward in the conservation and management of fisheries, which is an essential resource for sustainable development in much of the world.

Fisheries provide a vital source of food, employment, trade and economic well-being for people throughout the world, both for present and future generations, and must thus be conducted in a responsible manner.

The fisheries draft resolution addresses critical issues, such as achieving sustainable fisheries, combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and addressing fishing overcapacity and improving subregional and regional cooperation to achieve sustainable fisheries management. 

It also addresses relevant issues undertaken in other UN fora, not least on environmental issues, like marine pollution and the emerging challenges from plastics and microplastics, in addition to considering key outcomes from other processes outside of the UN.

The resolution highlights the importance of responsible practices for conservation of fisheries resources and the sustainable management and development of fisheries. The text articulates urgent actions that States and regional fisheries management organizations have to take in this regard.

Furthermore, this year’s draft resolution recalls the entry into force of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and acknowledges the convening of the first meeting of the Parties to the Agreement in Oslo earlier this year.

It underlines the importance of minimizing by-catch of non-targeted species and juveniles through the effective management of fishing methods, in order to mitigate adverse effects on fish stocks and ecosystems. 

As coordinator, I would like to personally thank Director Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli and the staff of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea for their expertise, professionalism and invaluable support during the consultations.

Mr. President,

My delegation is pleased to join many others in co-sponsoring draft resolution A/72/L.7, entitled “Oceans and the law of the sea”, to be introduced by Thembile Joyini from South Africa.

The draft resolution addresses important issues related to the implementation of the law of the sea, and we fully support the resolution and the parameters it sets for activities on the oceans.

We would like to relay our sincerest thanks to Mr. Joyini for his careful stewardship and effective leadership during the consultations.

Mr. President,

I should also want to offer Norway’s sincerest appreciation to Ms. Kate Neilson from New Zealand and Mr. Pablo Arrocha Olabuenaga from Mexico for their skillful and diligent facilitation of resolution A/72/L.17 on the development of a “International legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction“.

Norway is a steadfast supporter of the process to develop a new instrument related to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

We are delighted to co-sponsor the resolution and we look forward to participating in the forthcoming intergovernmental conference, which will commence in 2018.

We are fully cognizant of the challenges that lie ahead as the Conference will need to resolve highly complex and sensitive issues. Through effective and adaptable leadership and constructive and accommodative engagement between states, we remain hopeful that we can agree on an outcome that is amenable to all. 

Mr. President,

Norway is of the firm view that The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides the universal and unified framework for the peaceful, responsible and predictable management of the oceans and seas. All activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out within this framework. In ever-changing conditions, the Convention provides clarity with regard to both the obligations and rights of states.

Finally, let me conclude by conveying Norway’s appreciation for the hard work and cooperation of delegations in crafting all three draft resolutions. It is our hope that this constructive and collaborative engagement will be maintained as we continue to address the numerous and complex issues that face our oceans and fisheries.

Thank you.