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UNGA Adopts Two Resolutions on Oceans and Seas

Wednesday, 30 January 2019
On 11 December 2018, the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted two resolutions on oceans and seas linked to the implementation of the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS), thus highlighting that a strong global ocean governance is fundamental to the achievement of sustainable development goals.

The draft resolution on “Oceans and the law of the sea” (A/73/L.35), adopted with 121 votes in favour, 1 against (Turkey) and 3 abstentions (Colombia, El Salvador, Venezuela), calls upon States that have not done so to become parties to the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of UNCLOS. It also calls upon the States to harmonize their national legislation with the provisions of UNCLOS. Introducing the omnibus text, the Singapore’s representative said that “the resolution recognizes the needs of developing States in the context of making submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf,” adding that it underscores the importance of work undertaken to elaborate an international legally binding instrument under the Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity.

Accordingly, the draft resolution on “Sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments” (A/73/L.41), adopted without vote, reaffirms the importance of long-term conservation, management and sustainable use of the living marine resources and the obligations of States to cooperate to this end. The Assembly also urges States to increase their reliance on scientific advice in developing, adopting and implementing conservation and management measures.

This year’s draft resolution is a step forward in the conservation and management of fish stocks,” said Norway’s representative while introducing the draft.  She noted that sustainable food from aquatic ecosystems plays an increasingly critical role in global food and nutrition security, adding that the draft addresses the sustainability of small-scale fisheries, the combating of illegal fishing and the issue of fishing over capacity.

It is to be noted that throughout the debate, speakers asserted the central role of healthy, productive and resilient oceans and seas in the pursuit of the successful fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Sources: United Nations News
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