Tara's engagement for the High Seas continues at the UN
Following the strong mobilization in April around the conference "High Seas, the Future of Humanity", Tara continues our engagement at the United Nations, working towards an international governance of the High Seas. During consulting sessions conducted last May at the UN, Eric Karsenti, scientific director of Tara Oceans, and André Abreu, project manager for advocacy, presented the Tara Oceans program of research and international cooperation. In addition to NGOs and highly respected international research institutes, other French organizations participated in these sessions, including the IDDRI and IFREMER, both vital in their respective fields of action.
Reminder of current issues
After the decisions taken at the Rio+20 conference concerning the establishment of a protocol for management of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions, member countries have now entered a decisive period for negotiations, aimed at creating an international governance of the High Seas. At the 67th General Assembly in December 2012, the UN Secretary General decided to convene a group of experts to inform negotiators about the sustainable management of marine biodiversity in the High Seas. Two specific topics were chosen for these sessions: marine genetic resources, and tools for managing and monitoring those regions of the High Seas with great ecological and biological importance.
Key discussion points for negotiations
These official consulting sessions at the UN marked the resuming of talks between the states, in view of negotiations scheduled to begin in August. Beyond some concrete examples of scientific research projects such as Obis, Tara Oceans and Marine Board, certain areas of discussion seem to monopolize attention. The many questions about sharing profits from genetic resources; the deep concerns of certain countries about regulation of fishing in the High Seas – these issues point up the differences and blockages that need to be overcome in order to reach an agreement.
Regarding the position of France and Europe, negotiators at the sessions reaffirmed the desire to develop an agreement by December 2014, and committed themselves to preparing a convergence as soon as possible. Strategies must be developed to create a calm and constructive dialogue, and to ensure that controversial issues will not ultimately cause blockage. It is especially important that citizens mobilize to pressure governments into taking action. Following the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee for the Paris Appeal, Tara Expeditions continues efforts to inform the public, involve policymakers, and convince influential individuals to support the UN negotiations.
As stated in the Appeal:
"We affirm that the High Seas are not just a matter for specialists and professionals. They are at the heart of humanity's survival, and concern every one of us."
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