United Nations – Nippon Foundation Fellows (2016) – week 4 activities

Following the activities in the previous week, which involved Fellows observation on the development of an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (Prepcom), this week the Fellows engaged in a practical group exercise of reporting on the activities observed at the Prepcom.

This week, 11 – 15 of April, the Fellows took practical steps in report writing. The positive spirit and team work came to the fore during the week’s activities. There was absolute cooperation, commitment and dedication on the part of the Fellows during the week’s work and for that I applaud all of us.

During the previous week i.e. 1 – 7 of April, the Fellows had observed the Prepcom during their negotiations and deliberations on the formulation of an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The Prepcom consisted of four informal working groups which deliberated on different topics. Each of the informal working groups focused on one of the following areas:

Marine Genetic Resources (MGR)

Area Based Management Tools (ABMTs)

Environmental Impact Assessment and (EIA)IMG-20160420-WA0021

Capacity Building and Transfer of Marine Technology. (CP&TMT)

Consequently, Fellows divided themselves into four groups, each group to follow the proceedings of one of the informal working groups of the Prepcom.

The Fellows were privileged to observe the whole process of the working groups and subsequently each group prepared their report according to their observations.  A copy of the report was officially presented to our programme Advisor, MS. Valentina Germani, and after an in-depth group discussion, the report was adopted (borrowing a word from the Prepcom!!) and it was saved on the Q drive for reference purposes.

The fellows also received a very warm welcome from the Director of DOALOS Ms. Goettsche-Wanli, on Tuesday 12 of April. She gave us a general overview of DOALOS role and activities. Lectures were also delivered during the week by Mr. Francois Bailet, who delivered a thought provoking lecture on ocean governance and the Matrix; while Ms. Valentina resourcefully took us through the process of report writing.

The fellows also had some fun moments to lighten up the pressure of work. We discovered a very nice place for happy hour lunches and drinks, we explored and truly enjoyed it.

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United Nations – Nippon Foundation Fellows (2016) – week 3 activities

During the third week of their fellowship, the fellows attended and followed the proceedings of the second week of the First Session of the Preparatory Committee established by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 69/292 for the development of an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (‘First BBNJ Preparatory Committee’).

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On 4 April 2016, in the morning, the fellows followed the continuation of proceedings of the informal working group (WG) on measures such as area-based management tools (ABMTs), including marine protected areas (MPAs). Discussions on the issue of ABMTs including MPAs had initially commenced on the afternoon of 1 April 2016 under the facilitation of Mr. John Adank (New Zealand). In the afternoon, the fellows followed the proceedings of the informal WG on environmental impact assessments (EIAs). Mr. Rene Lefeber (The Netherlands) facilitated the discussions of State delegations (‘the delegation’) on the issue of EIAs.

On 5 April 2016, in the morning, the fellows followed the continuation of proceedings of the informal WG on EIAs. In the afternoon, the fellows followed the proceedings of the informal WG on capacity-building (CB) and the transfer of marine technology (TMT). Discussions on the issue of CB and TMT were facilitated by Ms. Rena Lee (Singapore).

On 6 April 2016, in the morning, the fellows followed the continuation of proceedings of the informal working group on CB and TMT. In the afternoon, the fellows followed the reconvened plenary session where all facilitators of the informal WGs on the four main issues set out in the 2011 package deal provided oral reports to the plenary of the informal WG discussions.

On 7 April 2016, the fellows followed the morning and afternoon plenary sessions where, following the oral presentation of reports by the respective facilitators of the informal WGs on thIMG_3541e four main issues set out in the 2011 package deal, State delegations made observations and further discussed these issues in plenary.  During lunchbreak, the fellows met on their own to share their views on the discussions that took place at the four informal WGs and plenary of this First BBNJ Preparatory Committee. The fellows held this meeting with a view to preparing their own report of the discussions at this First BBNJ Preparatory Committee, to be discussed the following week with Valentina.

On 8 April 2016, the fellows followed the proceedings of the plenary session which were chaired by the Chairperson of the BBNJ Preparatory Committee, H. E. Charles Eden (Trinidad and Tobago), for discussions on the way forward subsequent to the First BBNJ Preparatory Committee. The delegations expressed their views on the form and substance of the upcoming formal negotiations during the Second BBNJ Preparatory Committee, scheduled for the period 26 August to 9 September 2016.

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Some fun was also on the agenda!!

It Is Time to Defend Our Global Ocean

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]n interesting moment occurred on the last day of Preparatory Committee Meeting of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) at the UN Headquarters, when the delegate from Jamaica delivered her closing remarks. It was a solemn and moving moment when she quoted the statement by the Ambassador of Malta on the occasion of General Assembly (First Committee) meeting on 1 November 1967. She commenced to sob when saying “the dark oceans were the womb of life: from the protecting oceans life emerged. We still bear in our bodies-in our blood in the salty bitterness of our tears-the marks of this remote past”. The Ambassador’s words had a sobering effect on all assembled as they captured the spirit of the meeting and the meeting room turned into very silent afterwards as though the ambassador was overseeing us.

ABNJ is important to human life as more than 50% of the world’s oceans are in this scope. It is clear that ABNJ are considered vital to sustainable development, food security and poverty alleviation. Industrial activity in the ABNJ is expanding to include seabed mining, ocean energy generation, distant industrial fishing and bioprospecting for marine genetic resources. However, technological advances should be treated with caution since they aid and facilitate more intense exploitation through industrialization, overcoming the high costs associated with monitoring and enforcement outside national jurisdiction. It is therefore crucial to reform the governance of the ocean activities beyond our borders which have the potential to jeopardize the health and productivity of our marine ecosystems.

Negotiations to create an International Legally Binding Instrument (ILBI) on governing marine resources beyond national borders took place from 28 March – 8 April 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This first negotiation focused on the scope of an ILBI under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of ABNJ in which the principles of common heritage to mankind and freedom of navigation apply. The ambit of ABNJ is beyond domestic jurisdiction covering territorial sea, Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ), contiguous zone and continental shelf. The current negotiations are undoubtedly historic and significant, and are the direct result of United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/292, which tackled the challenge of coordinated governance of the biodiversity beyond national borders through the adoption of a legally binding instrument under UNCLOS.

The accelerating industrialization and unregulated prospective uses for biodiversity beyond national borders prompted Heads of States to commit to the urgent need for the study of the issues that threaten the conservation and sustainable use of Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. In 2015, the UN Working Group that undertook the study stressed the need for a comprehensive regime, and recommended the UNGA establish a preparatory committee which is open to all United Nations members States before holding an intergovernmental conference to develop an ILBI for the governance of BBNJ.

The negotiation process in the preparatory committee unpacked the four issues included in the 2011 package: (1) Marine Genetic Resources (MGRs), (2) Measures for conservation and sustainable use, including area-based management tools (ABMTs), including Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), (3) Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and (4) Capacity-building and the Transfer of Marine Technology (TMT).

Negotiators face a host of complex issues and challenges, especially in the creation of an access and benefit sharing mechanism for MGRs, and the creation of a mechanism for the creation of MPAs in ABNJ. Additional challenges arose in the negotiation of an agreement and the creation of an appropriate institutional structure that does not undermine the mandates of existing organizations. There are also challenges in establishing an appropriate dispute settlement mechanism, unresolved continental shelf and mechanism for coordination and oversight for the regulation of activities.

For biodiversity beyond national borders, fishing poses a great threat. For Indonesia, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing beyond our borders threatens environment and livelihoods. Indonesia has taken a strong stance on IUU fishing in both domestic and international forums. International negotiation in New York offers a key opportunity to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing in ABNJ. As a responsible member of the international community, Indonesia can use this opportunity to include combating illicit activities on the high seas on the global agenda. Combatting IUU fishing in the high seas stands to limit the entry of IUU fishing vessels operating in Indonesia’s jurisdiction.

For Indonesia and its friends in the Group 77 and China (G77), careful attention is needed in the following issues in ABNJ: First of all, the legal framework on ABNJ should not undermine existing legal arrangements, including the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the FAO Compliance Agreement, and other relevant legal mechanisms. Second, Indonesia should help developing states to benefit from MGRs in ABNJ including Intellectual Property Rights. It is imperative to establish the connection between the matters with WIPO and the WTO system in order to have an integrated global system. Third, the institutional framework for the ILBI should also be considered in relation to the policies and practices of the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations. Fourth, Indonesia should ensure that capacity building and transfer of technology will help developed and developing states on equal footing for ABNJ issues. Sixth, of particular importance to these negotiations is the link between IUU fishing and/as transnational organized crime which occurs beyond national waters. Criminal activities such as over-exploitation of fisheries and human trafficking are key examples of illicit activities occurring within and beyond national borders of Indonesia’s oceans.

Eradicating the problem of IUU fishing requires global cooperation, and it is important for Indonesia to continue to address the global community and help them recognize and cooperate in this unprecedented opportunity to eliminate illegal and criminal activities at sea by the creation of a legally binding instrument of ABNJ. Jamaica delegate was correct in bringing up the statement of the Ambassador of Malta across the room. Our mandate is clear: it is time to defend our global ocean !!!.

http://en.sindonews.com/read/1101427/196/time-to-defend-our-global-ocean-now-1460724391

United Nations -Nippon Foundation Fellows (2016) – week 2 activities

Second Week Report (28 March-1 April 2016)

On 28 March 2016, the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) on ABNJ commenced. The UNNF Fellows, who continued to participate in the Regional Leaders training, were invited to observe the negotiations. This PrepCom has the mandate under General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/292, of 19 June 2015, to develop an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) as Implementing Agreement to the UNCLOS on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction;

The negotiation process in the Preparatory Committee focused on a “Package Deal” of issues: Marine Genetic Resources (MGRs), including issues on the sharing of benefits; measures for conservation and sustainable use, such as area-based management tools (ABMTs), including Marine Protected Areas (MPAs); Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs); Capacity-building and the Transfer of Marine Technology;

E. Eden Charles, Chair of the PrepCom and Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the UN opened the session, noting that the full-capacity attendance reflected the importance of the PrepCom which, following more than a decade of work in the format of an Informal Working Group, was no longer a consultative process. On behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel, noted that full rooms indicate commitment, stressing that a turning point has been reached in relation to the future of the oceans. He emphasized that time is of the essence and that negotiations should be conducted in a spirit of cooperation. The plenary of the first session of the PrepCom on the elements of a draft text of ILBI on the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ convened throughout the day to address administrative matters and hear general statements;

On 29 March 2016, the PrepCom plenary convened throughout the day. Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, DOALOS Director, reported on the lack of contributions to date to the Special Voluntary Trust Fund established by General Assembly Resolution 69/292 to assist developing, least developed and landlocked countries’ and SIDS’ participation in the PrepCom. In that regard, the Netherlands announced a US $200,000 contribution to the Fund for PrepCom 2. In addition, the delegates started their discussions on the guiding approaches and principles of an international legally binding instrument and MGRs, including questions on the sharing of benefits;

On 30 March 2016, the PrepCom plenary had discussions on MGRs, including benefit-sharing questions; area-based management tools (ABMTs), including MPAs; and EIAs. Concerning MGRs, some highlights were the definition of MGRs and its synergies with the Nagoya Protocol and other relevant instruments including in situ and ex situ overview in the context. With regard to ABMTs, delegates highlighted, among others, the necessity to establish a global institutional mechanism to coordinate ABMTs, on the basis of a science-based approach, precaution, transparency and accountability, without undermining the mandate of existing regional and/or sectoral bodies. On EIAs, the African group called for the ILBI to address governance mechanisms for EIA, including a process for assessing previously unexamined activities and their impacts in ABNJ;

On 31 March 2016, the PrepCom plenary convened in the morning to continue to consider EIAs, and capacity building and technology transfer. Following a short afternoon plenary, an informal working group on MGRs, including questions on benefit-sharing, was facilitated by Amb. Carlos Sobral Duarte (Brazil); E Eden Charles recalled that in informal meetings prior to the PrepCom it was agreed that the informal working groups would be open to civil society and industry, as these groups are not “informal informal” drafting sessions;

On 1 April 2016, the informal working group on MGRs continued in the morning. In the afternoon, the PrepCom plenary reconvened briefly, followed by an informal working group on ABMTs, including MPAs, facilitated by Mr. John Adank (New Zealand). In informal working group on MGRs, the issues discussed were related to definitions and scope, access, benefit-sharing and intellectual property rights. Meanwhile, in informal working group on Area-based Management Tools, the delegates focused the discussions on definitions, objectives, principles, criteria and the governance.

United Nations – Nippon Foundation Fellows (2016) – week 1 activities

First Week Report (21-27 March 2016)

On 21 March 2016, UN Nippon Fellows 2016 (fellows) started the whole process of fellowship program by having a meeting with Ms. Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli (DOALOS Director), Mr. Vladimir Jares (Deputy Director), Mr. Francois Bailet (Senior Legal Officer in Charge of Capacity Building and Trust Funds), Ms. Valentina Germani (Legal Adviser and Program Advisor) and Ms. Simone Dempsey (Program Assistant) in the meeting room;

68ca17008ec164425aea2a26f07bebdcUN Nippon fellows had a warm welcome from Ms. Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli and the other staff members of UNDOALOS. She highlighted the need for fellows to obtain as much knowledge as possible while undergoing the program. Francois conveyed that being part of the program is a very competitive process. Valentina briefed the fellows regarding the fellowship in general and technical matters such as rooms, IDs, working hours, internal rules and other relevant issues. Each fellow introduced him/herself and the topics they want to focus and develop further;

On 22 March 2016, the fellows aligned themselves with regional leaders under the Regional Leaders Program on Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction 2016 to follow and participate in the program, hosted by DOALOS. As part of the GEF/FAO Program on Global Sustainable Fisheries Management and Biodiversity Conservation beyond National Jurisdiction (Common Oceans Program), the GEF/FAO/Global Ocean Forums Project on Strengthening Global Facility to Effectively Areas beyond National Jurisdiction has designed the ABNJ Leaders Program to strengthen the capacity of leaders from developing states and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the regional and national levels to better address ABNJ resources and issues and to more effectively participate in the global and regional discussions;

Group Photo in Patton BoggsThe ABNJ Regional Leaders Program included: 1) an introductory course on ABNJ taught by 20 experts in the field; 2) participation in the First Session of the Preparatory Committee on the development of a legally-binding international instrument on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (First BBNJ PrepCom); 3) presentation of national and regional perspectives on ABNJ to the global negotiators at a UN side event;

At the beginning of the course, Mr. Vladimir Jares, DOALOS Deputy Director, welcomed the leaders, followed by introductions delivered by Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain (President of the Global Ocean Forum). In the first week of the programme, some training modules were delivered: Module 1 (Overview of ABNJ Resources and Issues), Module 2 (the Legal and Policy Framework for Managing ABNJ-Global Level), Module 3 (Existing uses of the ABNJ and Authorities and Processes related to ABNJ at the Global Level), Module 4 (Area-Based Approaches to management of ABNJ), Module 5 (Global Negotiations regarding ABNJ: Evolution of Negotiations, Issues, Conduct of the Prep Com on ABNJ), Module 6 (Capacity Development regarding ABNJ), Module 7 (Protection of Marine Biodiversity: Science Tools and Approaches) and Module 8 (Authorities and Processes related to ABNJ at the Regional Level: Experiences and Lessons Learned).

On 22 March 2016, the Regional Leaders were invited by Ambassador Karel van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Netherlands to the UN, at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN to have a welcoming reception;Ambassador Karel van Oosterom Invited ABNJ Leaders to have welcome reception

On 25 March 2016, the leaders had an opportunity to follow the training programme at Squire Patton Boggs in Rockefeller Plaza, NY hosted by Douglas Burnett. During the programme, they were briefed about submarine cables and related provisions in UNCLOS, authorities and processes related to ABNJ at the regional and sectoral level, presentation from UNEP concerning ABNJ at the regional level, climate change issues and overview on how to participate in international ocean and BBNJ negotiations.