Norway has had the honour of coordinating the informal consultations on draft resolution A/78/L.13 on sustainable fisheries. I am pleased to introduce the text on behalf of its co-sponsors.
This year’s resolution represents significant progress, and we are particularly pleased to deliver a resolution that reflects the most recent advances relevant for fisheries. This includes inviting States and regional economic integration organizations to consider the implications of the BBNJ Agreement for sustainable fisheries, welcoming the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and its outcomes, and welcoming in particular the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The resolution encourages the full and effective implementation of the GBF recognizes the important role sustainably managed fisheries will play in achieving the goals and targets of the Framework.
We were also pleased to see several important updates in paragraphs concerning nutrition, small scale fisheries, and the impacts of climate change.
Fisheries provide a vital source of food, employment, trade and economic well-being for people throughout the world. Achieving sustainable fisheries, combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, addressing fishing overcapacity, ensuring safety at sea and decent working conditions in the fisheries sector, and improving sub-regional and regional cooperation are all necessary means to meet the sustainable development goals.
Norway would like to thank all delegations for engaging so constructively during this process and for ensuring that the present resolution is a consensual product based on amicable and substantive discussions between all delegates.
Norway is also pleased to join others in co-sponsoring the draft resolution on “Oceans and the law of the sea”. We again thank Ms. Natalie Morris-Sharma of Singapore for her effective leadership during the consultations, and we also wish to extend our gratitude to Morris-Sharma and the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea for all their efforts to streamline and shorten this ever-growing resolution.
Norway welcomes these changes, as well as all the substantive proposals included in this year’s resolution. We are also pleased that “The ocean as a source of sustainable food” as proposed by Iceland and Norway will be the topic of the 2024 Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and Law of Sea and are looking forward to these discussions.
I would in particular like to highlight the reference to the fact that the Intergovernmental Conference in 2023 achieved its goal of delivering an Agreement under UNCLOS on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).
In our view, this Agreement constitutes the greatest development in ocean management since the adoption of UNCLOS. It shows that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea can adapt to meet evolving challenges and demonstrates the continuing strength and promise of multilateralism. Norway was pleased to sign the Agreement during the UNGA High Level Week, and we urge all States to rapidly sign and ratify this new essential component of the law of the sea framework.
The adoption of the BBNJ Agreement also represents a crucial step towards the political goal of conserving at least 30 percent of marine and coastal areas by 2030, as set out in Target 3 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The adoption of the GBF represents a landslide victory for nature in general, but also for Ocean management in particular.
We are especially pleased to see a strong call for action in this resolution whereby States are requested to increase efforts at all levels to achieve the goals and targets set out in the framework. This is both appropriate and necessary.
Furthermore, Norway welcomes the references to the important negotiations taking place at the International Seabed Authority, the progress made, and the decisions taken by the Council of the Seabed Authority. Norway welcomes the progress achieved and encourages the Authority to continue its work on the draft regulations as a matter of priority and is committed to doings its part in this endeavor.
In conclusion, we view all these different processes as important steps taken to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment, and the sustainable use of the resources of the ocean in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Norway considers these developments promising, but also necessary to achieve our common obligations.
I thank you.