SDG 14: Call to Action

 

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In this informal briefing on the ongoing preparations for the United Nations Ocean Conference, the President of the General Assembly, the Under Secretary-General, a special advisor to the conference co-presidents, and the Permanent Representatives of Sweden and Fiji discussed the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. They expressed that without clean and healthy oceans our, and all life’s, place on the planet would be in grave jeopardy. Since 1970, there has been a 49% decline in marine species. By 2050, the ocean is expected to contain more plastic than fish. Representatives discussed specific and necessary targets within SDG 14. They reviewed relevant dates for the upcoming global conference and other plenary meetings and stressed the need to strengthen and replicate current efforts. Moreover, representatives expressed the need to form new partnerships that involve all relevant stakeholders (including governments, the UN system, NGOs, the private sector, etc.) in the spirit of widespread, global, and inclusive participation.

The United Nations Ocean Conference will be held from June 5-9, 2017. It will follow a two-day preparatory meeting, February 15-16, 2017, chaired by the Permanent Representative of Portugal and the Permanent Representative of Singapore. The meeting will discuss partnership dialogues themes and elements for the “Call for Action.” The June conference will assess challenges, identify opportunities for action, strengthen current partnerships and forge new ones. It will be comprised of 8 plenary meetings, 7 partnership dialogues, and an additional special event commemorating World Oceans Day. The conference will also adopt an intergovernmental consensus declaration and a report with co-chairs’ summaries of partnership dialogues. Finally, a list of voluntary commitments for the implementation of SDG14 will be announced at the conference in June.

Meeting: “Briefing on the UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14”

Date/Location: Tuesday, 13 December 2016; 15:00 to 18:00; UN Headquarters, Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: President of the General Assembly; H.E. Ambassador Olof Skoog of the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN; H.E. Ambassador Luke Daunivalu of the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the UN; Mr. Wu Hongbo (USG DESA); Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares (USG OLA): Ms. Catherine Pollard (USG DGACM)

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

 

UN Working Group Meets to Discuss the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity

With a view to provide recommendations to the UN General Assembly, the eighth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group was convened today to discuss issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (ABNJ). This meeting was the second of the three meetings to discuss the scope, parameters and feasibility of a possible new international instrument.

During the opening session this morning, Co-Chair Ms. Lijnzaad delivered an opening remark to encourage the Working Group to move forward together in achieving an effective legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ, and reassured the necessity of a new international instrument. She mentioned the need to address legal, regulatory and implementation gaps such as addressing fragmentation in governance, and to develop a benefit-sharing regime for marine genetic resources.

ImageMember states and parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) were invited to consider the organization of the work of the meeting. Norway remained open to negotiate a new implementing agreement that can add value to the existing international legal framework, and recommended a needs-based approach to identify legal gaps in the present regime. Norway also emphasized clarity, predictability and confidence among the Working Group, and pointed out practical needs were of great concern in which feasibility is a product of scope and parameters.

The European Union supported a new agreement and called for other parties to have strong political will to achieve the goals of marine conservation. The new agreement should also specify duties of parties in terms of identifying a practical solution and implementation in order to strengthen interaction and coordination across regions and sectors. Mexico and Austria pointed out it is not necessary to establish a new structure, rather the new agreement should be fully integrated into the established Law of the Sea architecture and in full compliance with the existing regimes, while avoiding redundancy. Mexico also pointed out that the legal framework should be functionally well defined to ensure greater coordination and capacity building. Lastly, Trinidad and Tobago stressed the need to take into account a precautionary principle, and Austria stressed the need for ecosystem-based management in the new agreement.

 

Meeting Title: Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction
Speakers: Ms. Liesbeth Lijnzaad, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands; Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 1, New York
Date: 16 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau
Edited by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan