Adoption of Marine Biodiversity Treaty

Statement by Norway at the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, 20 June 2023.

The Statement was delivered by the Head of the Norwegian Delegation Christine Finbak.

Madame President, Excellencies and distinguished delegates,

Norway would like to welcome and celebrate the adoption of the BBNJ-Agreement.

Let me first thank you Madam President for leading us through these negotiations constructively and resolutely and always in good spirits. I would also like to thank all the facilitators. We thank the Secretary General of the Conference Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares and DOALOS for their continued support and hard work. Let me express our gratitude to all the distinguished delegates, for showing understanding, patience, and flexibility throughout these negotiations. We would also like to appreciate the important role of civil society in the negotiations.  

Madame President,

Yesterday we took a decision to further build upon the legacy of the United Nation’s Convention on the Law of the Sea. By adopting this implementing agreement under UNCLOS by consensus, we have taken an important step forward in ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of approximately two-thirds of our life-sustaining ocean space.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, being a “Constitution of the Oceans”, sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. We are pleased to see that it will now be supplemented with the tools needed to conserve and sustainably use marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Madame President,

The agreement we just adopted allows for continued and enhanced cooperation between states in areas beyond national jurisdiction and provides for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits deriving from marine genetic resources. It encourages scientific research. And it provides for capacity building to enable developing countries to implement the agreement.

The agreement provides an important framework for enhancing ocean management and paves the way for closer cooperation across sectors and frameworks to improve ocean health. We welcome how the agreement deals with the relationship to other instruments, frameworks and bodies within the ocean regime, such as the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the International Maritime Organization, the regional fisheries management organizations and the regional environmental organizations, ensuring complementarity and closer cooperation.  

Madame President,

We believe area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, are important in the effort towards conservation and sustainable use of marine eco-systems. Therefore, we see this Agreement as a crucial step towards the political goal of conserving at least 30 per cent of land and sea areas by 2030.

In closing, this Agreement 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.

Our collective task now is to ensure swift entry into force and implementation of the Agreement. I can assure you of Norway’s support in this.

Thank you.