United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Report of the Co-Chair of Partnership Dialogue 7

Partnership dialogue 7
"Enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of
oceans and their resources by implementing international
law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the
Law of the Sea"
Repo.rt to plenary by H.E. Ms. Concetta FierravantiWells,
.
Minister for International Development and the Pac_ific,
Australia
It is my pleasure to report to you on the work of Partnership
Dialogue 7 entitled "Enhancing the conservation and
sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing·
international law as reflected in the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea" which was organized to
address target 14.c.
I co-chaired t~is Dialogue with H.E. Ms. Judy Wakhungu,
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources of
Kenya. The Dialogue was modera~ed by H.E. Mr. Heraldo
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Munoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile. It included the
following four panellists:
• Mr. Michael Lodge, Secretary-General of the
International Seabed Authority;
• Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General
for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel;
• Ms. Biliana Cicin-Sain, President of the Global Ocean ·
Forum and Professor of Marine Policy at the University
of Delaware; and
• Ms. Florence Galletti, Director of Research, Law of the
Sea and Environmental Law at the French National
Research Institute for Development. ·
The panellists, Member States and other stakeholders
addressed some of the key legal and implementation gaps in
relation to enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of
oceans and their resources, and how to increase partnerships
aimed at raising awareness for the implementation of the
international legal fr~ework for the oceans and
strengthening participation in existing international
instruments. They also touched upon some of the most urgent
needs of developing countries in terms of capacity-building,
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the transfer of marine technology and financing to support the
implementation of international law, as reflected in the United
Nations Convention onthe Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and
discussed how to achieve cross-sectoral coope~ation and
integrated management. In addressing these issues several
suggestions for new partnerships were advanced.
The following are some of the key points that emerged from
the discussions in Dialogue 7:
• The overarching message is that effective implementation
ofUNCLOS, which is complemented by a broad range of
instruments, is key to achieving all of the targets of SDG
14, as well as other ocean-related Goals of the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development.
• It is also clear that good progress has been achieved in the
development and implementation of the international legal
framework for the conservation and sustainable use of the
oceans and their resources.
• In that regard, efforts are on-going to develop an
international legally-binding instrument, under UNCLOS,
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on the conservation and sustainable use of marine
biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Yet, as was also noted, gaps remain:
• The goal of universal participation in UNCLOS and its
implementing agreements still has not been achieved. In
order to ensure legal certainty and stability in the
conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their
resources, establishing the limits of national jurisdiction
and settling maritime boundary disputes in accordance with
UNCLOS is critical.
• The applicable legal regime for oceans and seas has been
mainly developed on a sectoral basis.
• Implementation, in many cases, has been uneven and
ineffective.
This leads me to some of the challenges to implementation
_which were highlighted, namely:
• Resource constraints, including human and financial
constraints, that are preventing the implementation and
enforcement of international law;
• Illegal activities, including illegal and unreported fishing;
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• Limited awareness, in some cases, of the international legal
framework for oceans and the precise measures that States
need to take to meet their obligations; and
• Few partnerships specifically aimed at addressing these
challenges and strengthening the implementation of
international law as reflected in UNCLOS. ·
With regard to partnerships, it was suggested, for example,
that both top-down and bottom-up approaches could be
beneficial. Partnerships could also be organized at the globa_l
or regional levels.
A number of innovative programs to address these challenges
· were highlighted during the Dialogue. This included
Australia's commitment to continue assisting Pacific countries
to·. conclude outstanding maritime boundaries with their
neighbours.
I thank all the participants for their rich contributions~ I am
pleased to be able to report back to Plenary the outcc;>mes from
our Dialogue.
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Stakeholders