JAMAICA, Kingston (5 September 2018) – – In his statement at the BBNJ Conference currently being held at the UN headquarters in New York, and on behalf of the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, the Deputy to the Secretary-General and Legal Counsel, Mr Alfonso Ascencio-Herrera indicated that the International Seabed Authority – as one of the institutions created by the Convention – which remains the governing text throughout the process, stands ready to support the Conference as a whole, including by raising awareness of the scope of the Authority’s mandate and work. He invited participants to attend the three separate side events organized by the Authority in collaboration with member States, on different aspects of the Authority’s work, including sharing of marine scientific data, capacity-building and environmental planning and management.
He added that the Convention takes a holistic approach to the protection of the marine environment.
“This essential reality is recognized by the Convention itself, which in its third preambular paragraph reminds us that ‘the problems of ocean space are interrelated and need to be considered as a whole.”
“To address these problems, the fundamental frame of reference within the Convention is the marine environment as a whole. It is worth noting that the Convention places no boundaries on the protection it gives to the marine environment. Thus, it brings within its purview the adverse effects on the marine environment from activities on land and in the atmosphere.”
Mr Ascencio-Herrera pointed out that while the ocean space is subject to the environmental protection obligations in Part XII, the Convention deals with the implementation and enforcement of those obligations based on the strict jurisdictional boundaries established in other parts of the Convention. These boundaries may be geographic, as in the different maritime zones, or established by reference to the functional competence to regulate certain activities.
In this regard, he highlighted that it is essential therefore, that the Conference does not overlook or undermine the existing provisions of the Convention, and that it fully respect the rights and jurisdictions carefully elaborated in the Convention.
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