Deputy SecretaryGeneral urges greater efforts to protect worlds oceans

10 December 2007Marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening for signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Deputy Secretary-General today called on States to work together to protect the marine environment which is under increasing pressure from human activities. Addressing a meeting of the General Assembly, Asha-Rose Migiro acknowledged the considerable progress made over the last 25 years towards the goals of the Convention, commonly referred to as the “Constitution of the Oceans.” “Potential conflicts over maritime space and resources have been avoided. Pollution is being addressed through various instruments, and many sources of pollution are the subject of strict regulation. Our knowledge of the oceans and their ecosystems, albeit still expanding, has considerably improved through marine scientific research,” she stated.At the same time, Ms. Migiro noted that the implementation of some of the treaty’s provisions had lagged behind, pointing out that the world’s fisheries continue to be depleted and the marine environment continues to be degraded by pollution from various sources, including pressure from growing coastal populations and climate change. In addition, transnational organized crime, such as human trafficking, drug smuggling, acts of piracy and terrorist acts also present major threats.She noted that many of these challenges transcend national boundaries, and addressing them requires further concerted efforts by actors working together at the national, regional and global levels. It all also requires cooperation to ensure that all parties have the legal, institutional, economic, technical and scientific capacity to abide by the Convention’s provisions, she added. “Nothing less is required if present and future generations are to benefit from the oceans’ bounty, while protecting the marine environment and achieving sustainable development.”

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