Bangladesh focuses on conservation of marine biodiversity

6 September, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh has said conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) is increasingly attracting international attention, as scientific information reveals the richness and vulnerability of such biodiversity, reports UNB.

Bangladesh also noted that concerns grow about the increasing anthropogenic pressures posed by existing and emerging activities, such as fishing, mining, marine pollution, and bioprospecting in the deep sea.

Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) at the Foreign Ministry here Rear Admiral (Retd) M Khurshed Alam shared Bangladesh’s observation as head of Bangladesh delegation at the inaugural session of the intergovernmental conference (IGC) on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction in UN headquarters, New York.

The first session of the IGC on an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) began on Tuesday and will continue until September 17, said the Foreign Ministry here on Wednesday.

Delegates will consider a concise document, begin substantive discussions based on the elements of a package agreed in 2011 on marine genetic resources (MGRs), including questions on benefit-sharing; environmental impact assessments (EIAs); area-based management tools, including marine protected areas (MPAs); and capacity building and marine technology transfer.

The IGC is expected to draw on the recommendations from the BBNJ Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) that completed its work in 2017.

The PrepCom’s final outcome was adopted by consensus, but contains elements that “do not reflect consensus”―namely elements that generated “convergence among most delegations” and “main issues on which there is divergence of views.”

While the lack of consensus is largely seen as a reflection of the views of number of countries, delegations preferred avoiding the possible adoption of elements by voting, thereby signaling a commitment to negotiating a future international legally binding instrument (ILBI) with the goal of universal participation.

Although UNCLOS does not refer expressly to marine biodiversity, it is commonly regarded as establishing the legal framework for all activities in the oceans.

The IGC will meet initially for four sessions, with the second and third taking place in 2019, and the fourth in the first half of 2020.