Statement by Ambassador Sahebzada A. Khan, Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, in the General Assembly Joint debate on Agenda Item 74 (a) (Oceans and the Law of the Sea) and Agenda Item 74 (b) (Sustainable Fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the implementation of Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments) (09 December 2014)

Mr. President,

Let me first thank you for convening this important debate on the agenda items before us concerning the Oceans and the Law of the Sea and Sustainable Fisheries.

Water holds the key to life. Oceans contain 97% of the Earth’s water and cover more than two thirds of the planet’s surface. Oceans and Seas contribute to human livelihood, security and development in innumerable ways. They play an important role in sectors such as employment generation, biodiversity, food security, shipping industry, ports, tourism, oil, gas and mining. With increasing human knowledge of the Oceans and Seas, our potential to exploit its resources has improved manifold. At the same time, we have become acutely aware of managing these resources in a mutually agreed and sustainable manner.

Mr. President,

In this context, the importance of the UN Convention on Law of the Sea as a multilateral framework subscribed to by a vast majority of States cannot be overemphasized. Issues such as global warming, pollution of the Oceans and the Seas, rising water levels, ocean acidification and fish stock depletion threaten not just the lives of millions but also the existence of many low-lying states.

Pakistan, therefore, attaches high importance to the UN Convention on Law of the Seas and its effective implementation.

Mr. President,

Oceans play a vital role in global food security. Seafood provides a significant portion of our dietary animal protein and lipids requirements. The Secretary General’s report on “Seafood in global food security” contained in document A/69/71 of 21 March 2014 is, therefore, timely and informative. It also provides useful insight into the opportunities and challenges regarding sustainable exploitation of Seafood resources.

As stated in the report, we fully agree that the human, institutional and systemic capacity for sustainable management of marine environment and resources hold the key to unlocking the benefits of seafood for global food security. In this regard, we recall General Assembly Resolutions 68/70 and 68/71, as well as the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, entitled “the future we want” (resolution 66/288, annex), in which States have reiterated the importance of human resource development, exchange of experience and expertise, knowledge transfer, technical assistance, and the need to strengthen technical and scientific cooperation.

We also thank the co-Chairs of the Open Ended Informal Consultative Process on the Oceans and the Law of the Sea for providing a summary of its 15th meeting to the General Assembly, contained in document A/69/90 of 6 June 2014.

Mr. President,

Pakistan takes note of the report submitted by the Secretary General pursuant to Resolution 68/70, as contained in document A/69/71/Add.1 of 1 September 2014.

We note with concern that the backlog of cases in the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf has continued to increase. In this regard, we support measures aimed at providing requisite professional and technical support to the Commission and its members in fulfilling their responsibilities.

Ensuring maritime security is vital to international shipping industry. Since almost 90 percent of global trade takes place through international shipping, secure and tranquil shipping routes are essential to our progress and development.

With this in view, Pakistan plays an active role in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and greatly appreciates its role in containing piracy through international cooperation and coordination.

As the Secretary General reports, a reduction of 12 percent in armed robbery and piracy at Sea in 2013, primarily owing to reduction in piracy off the Coast of Somalia provides cause for optimism. We hope that with effective international cooperation and coordination, similar results will be achieved in controlling piracy off the coast of Guinea.

Mr. President,

Pakistan welcomes the report of the co-Chairs of the meeting of the Ad Hod Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socio-economic aspects (A/69/77 of 22 April 2014).

We also welcome the report by the co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group to study issues related to marine biological diversity beyond national jurisdiction (A/69/177 of 25 July 2014) and appreciate the efforts of the Working Group to address this issue, including through the possibility of developing a legal framework.

Mr. President,

Pakistan believes in the need for addressing effectively the gaps in implementation of the provisions of the Convention relating to transfer of technology and capacity building. This is crucial in enabling the developing countries from accessing and benefitting from sustainable use of marine diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, including genetic resources. Pakistan firmly believes that the genetic resources of sea-bed and ocean floor beyond the limits of national jurisdiction are a common heritage of mankind, to be explored and exploited for the benefit of all humanity.

Pakistan looks forward to the January meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group to make further progress on the issue.

Mr. President,

Before I conclude, let me reaffirm Pakistan’s continued support and cooperation to the International Seabed Authority, Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; the three institutions established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas.

We also thank the coordinators for their tireless efforts in undertaking extensive consultations on the draft resolutions on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (A/69/L.29) and Sustainable Fisheries (A/69/L.30)

I thank you, Mr. President.