On the first day of the UN BBNJ meeting High Seas Alliance members addressed State delegates through interventions and stressed the urgent need for a high seas biodiversity implementing agreement. You can read the full intervention statements from the High Seas Alliance members NRDC, Greenpeace and MarViva as well as the Sylvia Earle Alliance.
NRDC intervention, presented by Lisa Speer, Director, International Oceans Program.
Honorable Co-Chairs, delegates,
We are heartened by the overwhelming support for a new international instrument for the conservation and management of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction by virtually every delegation in the room. We are confident based on the discussion today that remaining issues can be resolved, and we look forward to working with you during the week to reach agreement on a recommendation to the UNGA to begin negotiations without delay. As many delegations have noted today, we have no time to lose.
Greenpeace intervention, presented by Sofia Tsenikli, Senior Oceans Policy Advisor.
Thank you Madame/ co-chair,
I speak on behalf of Greenpeace, WWF, NRDC, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Marviva, Tara expeditions, the High Seas Alliance as well as the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and the millions of our members worldwide.
We are truly uplifted by the statements of the overwhelming majority of governments that took the floor today – we note in particular the statements of G77/China, CARICOM, the African Group, AOSIS, Pacific Small Island States, the European Union and the many individual States, including Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, Peru, Ghana, South Africa, Guatemala, the Philippines and many more . It is clear that there is strong political momentum to develop an agreement under UNCLOS for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. To these governments we say “please move forward together for responsible, sustainable and fair governance of the ocean we all depend on”.
Out at sea the ocean crisis is deepening. Only last Friday a new scientific study published on Science magazine and featured on the front page of the New York Times warned that the industrialization of the oceans may lead to mass extinctions, but also that there is still time to avert catastrophe if measures are taken. A new agreement under UNCLOS for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, if built on a solid foundation, could stop the downward spiral of ocean degradation and enable a more productive and more secure future for people, for the industry and for the planet. The ocean crisis comes at a great price most often paid by the vulnerable millions who depend on the oceans for their lives.
After many years of deliberations, this is the week that could change the status quo. We hope that you are inspired by the overwhelming global demand for high seas conservation. Online and through social media, hundreds of thousands of your citizens are asking you to act.
At this crucial meeting of the Working Group, with the deadline set by Rio+20 Conference approaching, we urge you to stand on the right side of history and deliver a recommendation to the UN General Assembly that opens negotiations for a strong, equitable and meaningful implementing agreement under UNCLOS in a time-bound manner.
Our organizations look forward to a positive, open and constructive meeting.
MarViva intervention, presented by Mariamalia Rodriguez, High Seas Programme Coordinator.
Gracias señor co-presidente,
Distinguidos delegados, buenas tardes a todos.
Hablo de parte de WWF, Fundación MarViva, NRDC, Pew Charitable Trusts, y High Seas Alliance.
Los océanos proporcionan trabajo, seguridad alimentaria e ingresos para miles de millones de personas, la mayoría de ellas provenientes de países en desarrollo.
La conectividad entre los ecosistemas de las áreas fuera de la jurisdicción nacional, los ecosistemas costeros y las economías de nuestros países constituye una piedra angular para el desarrollo y bienestar de la población.
Sin embargo, los océanos son un claro ejemplo de la “tragedia de los comunes”, donde el agotamiento de los bienes comunes en manos de unos pocos, da como resultado un daño a los intereses de la comunidad global en el largo plazo.
En este contexto, la inexistencia de un marco global e integral dirigido a la gobernanza de las áreas fuera de la jurisdicción nacional representa un vacío fundamental que socava la protección y el uso sostenible de los recursos marinos.
Ante este escenario, la resolución “El futuro que queremos”, adoptada en la Conferencia Río +20, contiene el compromiso de los Jefes de Estado de “abordar, con carácter de urgencia, basándose en el trabajo del Grupo especial oficioso de composición abierta, y antes de finalizar la sesión número 69 de la Asamblea General, el tema de la conservación y uso sostenible de la biodiversidad marina en áreas fuera de la jurisdicción nacional, incluyendo la adopción de una decisión sobre la elaboración de un instrumento internacional en el marco de la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho del Mar.”
Cada vez más estudios científicos señalan que nos encontramos en un momento crítico para hacer cambios, pasar de las palabras a los hechos. En este sentido, celebramos el apoyo de una mayoría abrumadora de los Estados en honrar el compromiso adquirido en Río + 20 e impulsar el inicio de las negociaciones sobre un Acuerdo de Implementación en el marco de la CONVEMAR.
Señores representantes de las diferentes delegaciones, tal y como ha sido reiterado por muchos de ustedes, el status quo ya no es una opción viable ante los desafíos que nuestros océanos enfrentan en la actualidad.
Aplaudimos su entusiasmo para llevar a buen puerto este proceso, y estamos seguros que aprovecharán esta oportunidad histórica que tienen en sus manos para asegurar el bienestar de nuestros océanos, lo que se traduce a su vez en el bienestar de todos nosotros.
Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue intervention presented by Dr.Sylvia Earle, Founder and Chair and National Geographic Explorer in Residence.
Thank you, Co-Chairs, for the privilege of speaking officially on behalf of Mission Blue, and unofficially, for those who cannot speak for themselves – the children of today and for all of those in the future – our descendants who will from their place in the future either applaud or condemn our actions – or lack of actions –concerning establishing governance — a strong and meaningful implementing agreement under UNCLOS for biodiversity of half the world, the high seas – the ocean beyond national jurisdiction. Of course existing agreements must be respected. But is clear that the present framework has not and cannot address circumstances that are now a new reality
The United Nations came into existence in 1945. I personally came into existence ten years earlier, and as a child was barely aware of the historic actions then being addressed by my species. The ten year olds of today are more likely to be tuned in to the significance of the actions being deliberated here. They – and we – are armed with access to unprecedented knowledge, information that did not exist when I was a child.
In less than half a century. we have some to understand what our predecessors could not — the living ocean – the living ocean — drives climate and weather, generates most of the oxygen in the atmosphere, takes up much of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, holds 97 % of Earth’s water and embraces 97% of the biosphere. Now we know. Humankind is altering the nature of the ocean and therefore, the nature of nature, through what we are putting in and through what we are taking out of the sea. The ocean is large and resilient, but it is not too big to fail. What we are taking out of the sea, what we are putting into the sea are actions that are undermining the most important thing the ocean delivers to humankind. – our very existence.
The new reports this week in Science, NY Times, and the Economist are among many reports of the evidence concerning the drastic reduction in the quantity and diversity of marine systems in recent decades, and raise real concerns about the consequences to humankind of these impacts There is a direct link between life in the ocean and resilience to the impacts of a warming planet, acidification of the sea, dismemberment of the global ocean systems of life, to a planet that works in our favor. All of humankind relies on the ocean for everything we care about – prosperity, health, security – our very existence. No ocean, no life. No blue, no green. No ocean, no us. An ocean in trouble means civilization in trouble. The highest priority for humankind is to keep the world safe for our children. To do so means taking care of the natural ocean systems that make life possible.
The status quo is not adequate and is not acceptable. It is high time for the High Seas, the blue half of the world, to be recognized as the blue heart of the planet, the cornerstone of Earth’s life support system, the vast but vulnerable part of the planet that until recent decades has not only been beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, but also beyond the reach of the ability of humans to effectively exploit it for short term gain.
We have an opportunity – right now – to fill the gaps in governance of half of the world, the blue half that has a disproportionate role in maintaining Earth as a planet hospitable for life as we know it. Armed with new knowledge, we have a chance, right now, this week, to encourage governance to safeguard the high seas — as never before in history. And maybe, as never again.
(The ten year olds are watching)