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EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella. (Photo: #medfish4ever)

Legal instruments to protect biodiversity in high seas advanced

EUROPEAN UNION
Friday, December 08, 2017, 01:40 (GMT + 9)

The progress achieved on legally-binding instruments for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in the high seas was welcomed by European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.

The European Commissioner highlighted the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the resolution setting modalities to negotiate these legal instruments.

"I am heartened by the widespread support for the development of an agreement for areas beyond national jurisdiction, which the EU has championed for many years and which augurs well for the forthcoming negotiations,” the Commissioner pointed out.

In his view, improving international ocean governance is crucial to ensure that the world's oceans are healthy, clean and productive in the long term, so that they can continue to contribute to sustainable development.

Apart from this resolution, the UN General Assembly adopted two other important resolutions concerning the oceans, one on Oceans and the Law of the Sea and one on sustainable fisheries.

At the debate at Our Ocean conference held in October, the EU has called on the international community to take its responsibility and implement its obligations and commitments in order to protect the marine environment and ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are met.

While underlining the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as the overarching legal framework for ocean governance, the EU stressed that it needs to be able to meet future challenges.

The EU also emphasised the importance of addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries which hamper the achievement of sustainable fisheries.

It encouraged States to ratify the FAO Port State Measures Agreement as well as to eliminate harmful subsidies which exacerbate the problem.

The EU strongly supports that agreement will be reached on this issue at the forthcoming WTO ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires later in December.

 
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