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Sixth Session of the Open-ended
Informal Consultative Process
on Oceans and the Law of the Sea

United Nations Headquarters, New York | 6-10 June 2005

Earth Negotiations Bulletin - ENB
Daily Web
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06 June
07 June
08 June
09 June
10 June &
13 June - - - - - - - - -
14 June - - - - - - - - -
15 June &


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Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs
Margareta Wahlström Addresses UNICPOLOS-6

On Thursday, delegates to the sixth meeting of the UN Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (UNICPOLOS-6 or Consultative Process) reconvened the Discussion Panel on marine debris in the morning, addressing national approaches. In the afternoon, delegates met in Plenary to exchange views on areas of concern and actions needed.

The afternoon began with an address by Margareta Wahlström, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and United Nations Special Coordinator for Tsunami Response, noting the succeess of relief efforts since the December 2004 tsunami, and identifying immediate mobilization of financial resources as one of the reasons. She stated that the UN and national governments are important partners in setting priorities and handling expectations.

Thursday, 9 June
Discussion Panel on Marine Debris

Thomas Cowan of the Northwest Straits Commission highlighted the aims of the Marine Conservation Initiative's derelict fishing gear removal project, including improving public safety and assisting in species recovery.

Ilse Kiessling of Australia said marine debris and derelict fishing gear constitute hazards to vessels, human life, and marine species; and stressed their impact on the economic viability and sustainability of commercial fisheries.

Laleta Davis-Mattis of Jamaica identified high levels of poverty and tourism as factors contributing to marine debris. She underscored the importance of public awareness raising and beach cleanups, and recommended joint management initiatives between government and the private sector.

Speaking for the EU, Liesbeth Lijnzaad of the Netherlands called for increased private sector participation to deal with marine debris, and underlined the role of volunteers in tackling the issue.

Speaking on behalf of the OSPAR Commission, John Roberts of the United Kingdom maintained that involvement and cooperation of local authorities and communities in awareness-raising is key.

Jane Coombs of New Zealand outlined an initiative by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on regional management of waste-reception facilities at ports.

Ndome Faye of Senegal asked Cowan for information on the methods used to detect derelict fishing equipment for removal.

Ignacio Llanos of Chile proposed a review of implementation of Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), covering pollution by garbage from ships.

Cees van de Guchte of UNEP supported reviewing the implementations and effectiveness of existing regulations on marine pollution and debris, including MARPOL Annex V.
Side event: Tapping the Oceans' Treasures: Bioprospecting of Deep Seabed Genetic Resources

Participants considered a report on deep seabed bioprospecting prepared by Charlotte Salpin and Salvatore Arico on behalf of the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, and heard presentations by deep sea scientist Cindy van Dover and by Eric Mathur of Diversa Corporation, a private company that has commercialized products based on deep seabed genetic resources. In the ensuing discussion, views converged towards the need to further the debate on how to regulate access to, use of, and benefit-sharing of these resources, using the "markers" already embedded in UNCLOS.
Afternoon Plenary on Areas of Concern and Actions Needed

Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu underscored the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to tsunamis, and on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), encouraged the Consultative Process to take note of the Mauritius Strategy.

Ema Indira Canales of Honduras outlined actions taken to comply with its flag State responsibilities under international law, including fishing licenses, inspection of fishing gear, and the use of satellite monitoring systems.

Sainivalati Navoti of Fiji emphasized that marine debris is a cultural problem, and called for changing attitudes, behavior and business practices.

Stuart Beck of Palau passionately recommended a temporary moratorium on high seas bottom trawling until appropriate regulations have been adopted and implemented.

Tapani Kohonen of Finland reported on the work of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission on reducing ship-generated waste.

Constance Arvis of the United States said additional management measures need to be applied to protect seamounts.

Juana Elena Ramos of Cuba said the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea creates a universally recognized framework in which activities on high seas should be carried out.

Carlos Fernando Díaz of Costa Rica urged the application of the precautionary principle, and supported proposals for a temporary moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.

Julio Lamarthee of Uruguay supported calls for the International Seabed Authority to suggest specific measures for UNICPOLOS consideration.

Related Links

Earth Negotiations Bulletin's report on UNICPOLOS-5 (HTML, PDF, TXT).
Earth Negotiations Bulletin's report on UNICPOLOS-4 (HTML, PDF, TXT).
Sustainable Developments’ report of the Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands (HTML, PDF, TXT).
UN Division for Oceans Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS).
GMA International Workshop site.
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) - Chapter 17.
Deep Sea Conservation Coalition rationales for a short-term moratorium on deep sea bottom trawling.
European Coalition for Silent Oceans information on underwater noise pollution.
Ocean Noise Coalition information on underwater noise pollution.
Ocean Mammal Institute information on underwater noise pollution.
Centro de Conservación Cetacea, Chile information on underwater noise pollution.