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
Organized by the United Nations Legal Affairs Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea
The 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 will meet from Monday, 1 February to Friday, 5 February 2010, in Conference Room 2 (TNLB).
The provisional agenda of the meeting is contained in document A/AC.276/L.3. The draft format and draft annotated provisional agenda and organiation of work are contained in document A/AC.276/L.4. The report of the Secretary-General on oceans and the law of the sea is outlined in document A/64/66/Add.2. The above docuemnts, as well as other relevant information on the Working Group, are available on the Web site of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs: www.un.org/Depts/los/biodiversityworkinggroup/biodiversityworkinggroup.htm
The representatives of FAO to the meeting are: Ms. Cassandra de Young, Fishery Planning Analyst, Ms. Merete Tandstad, Fishery Resource Officer and Mr. Alvaro Toledo, Programme Officer, Natural Resource Management.
Statement of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to the Third Meeting of the 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
1 to 5 February 2010
It is a pleasure for me, on behalf of the FAO, to speak to this intergovernmental Working Group addressing issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. During this meeting, the FAO hopes to provide information regarding its recent activities relating to this theme.
The FAO considers that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including marine biodiversity, for food security is of major importance to the future of humanity. Without biodiversity, it will be impossible to eradicate world hunger; today affecting over one billion people around the world. The conservation and sustainable use of these resources is a pre-requisite for attaining global food security and for guaranteeing a sustainable provision of suitable and nutritionally diverse foods on a world-wide scale.
The FAO has developed a number of international instruments, such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, which promote the conservation and sustainable use of aquatic living resources and genetic biodiversity. The FAO has also been instrumental in the development of the Ecosystem Approaches to Fisheries and Aquaculture, which provide frameworks for a comprehensive application of the Code of Conduct. The FAO continues to provide support to members for the implementation of these approaches.
A crucial element in the protection of fishery resources is combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. In 2009, a legally binding instrument on the port state measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing was finalized and adopted and is open for signature. To date it has been signed by 12 countries.
The FAO has been active in providing technical expertise, as well as exercising its role as a neutral forum, on range of issues relevant to marine biodiversity in the areas beyond national jurisdiction.
In August 2008, FAO member countries adopted the International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas. These guidelines represent one of the few practical instruments of this nature, and are a breakthrough in that they address both environmental and fisheries management concerns in an integrated manner. The guidelines provide measures to identify and protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) and provide guidance to apply Resolution 61/105 of the United Nations General Assembly.
To ensure the implementation of the FAO International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas, the FAO has initiated a large-scale program with the following four components:
- to develop practical support tools for the implementation of the guidelines;
- to develop a vulnerable marine ecosystem database;
- to provide support for management in areas without a regional fisheries management organization; and
- to provide global coordination and awareness building, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the fisheries and implementation.
Area-based management measures represent one important tool within the fisheries management "tool box" and FAO is currently developing Guidance for the use of such measures which will also be applicable in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Climate change implications for fisheries and aquaculture is another area in which FAO has been particularly active within the last year, including publishing a seminal work on potential impacts of climate change on fisheries and developing and implementing adaptation and mitigation frameworks.
The FAO considers partnerships and collaboration to be of prime importance in addressing the challenges of protecting marine biodiversity. Recent initiatives include, the development of a Global Partnership on Climate, Fisheries and Aquaculture, comprising 20 organisations, for which FAO was one of the leaders. The FAO has also been working with the Convention on Biological Diversity and others on issues such as the impacts of destructive fishing on marine biodiversity.
In addition, progress has been made relevant to marine genetic resources. The FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which has more than 170 Member Countries, adopted in October 2009 a plan to implement its intergovernmental programme of work on aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture. In doing so, the Commission recognized the central role of the UN General Assembly in addressing issues related to marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction and the need to strengthen cooperation with this Working Group. Through your deliberations this week, recommendations could be provided to promote future cooperation with FAO, including strengthening the information base, capacity-building for developing countries and policy-making on marine genetic resources. More information will be provided under item 5(g).
We hope the debates of this week prove fruitful and that the proposed recommendations further intergovernmental cooperation for the benefit of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, so important for the international community.