Pakistan committed to support efforts to conserve, protect world’s oceans: Amb. Jadoon

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 06 (Alliance News): Warning against the rapidly declining health of world’s oceans, Pakistan has called for “urgent action” to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and other contributing factors such as environmental degradation, harmful chemicals and marine pollution. “Our oceans are under immense pressure, grappling with a multitude of serious threats,” Ambassador Muhammad Usman Iqbal Jadoon, acting permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Speaking in a debate on “Oceans and Law of the Sea”, he said that ocean health continues to experience a significant downturn, posing a grave threat to the planet’s most expansive ecosystem. “The declining state of marine health is not just an environmental concern but a socioeconomic one, impacting the livelihoods of billions of individuals worldwide,’ the Pakistani envoy said. In other actions during the day-long debate, member states called for collective will to address cumulative pressures on oceans and their resources, which pose direct threats to people who depend on them, as the 193-member Assembly adopted two resolutions. Adopting resolution “Oceans and the law of the sea” by a vote of 140 in favour to 1 against (Türkiye), with 3 abstentions (Colombia, El Salvador, Syria), the Assembly reaffirmed the unified character of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the vital importance of preserving its integrity. The Assembly recognized the crucial role of international cooperation in combating, in accordance with international law, threats to maritime security, including piracy and terrorist acts against shipping, offshore installations, submarine cables and pipelines and other critical infrastructure. By other terms of the text, the Assembly noted with concern the impacts of climate change on the ocean and cryosphere, including extreme sea level events and sea level rise, to which low-lying islands, in particular small island developing States, coasts and coastal communities, are especially exposed. Adopting the second resolution by consensus, the Assembly reaffirmed the importance it attaches to the conservation, management, and sustainable use of marine resources of the world’s oceans. Expressing concern regarding the impacts of global climate change and ocean acidification on coral reefs and other ecosystems, the Assembly urged States to intensify efforts to address the impacts of global climate change and ocean acidification on the sustainability of fish stocks. In his remarks, Ambassador Jadoon said that enhanced data collection, made possible by new maritime technology, can significantly improve marine science and contribute to the objectives of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) However, he said the existing North-South digital divide challenges many developing States in strengthening the means of implementation and in developing partnerships for ocean sustainability. The same is true for inadequate availability and access to financing and investments for the development of sustainable ocean-based economies. Capacity-building initiatives, including the transfer of marine technology, therefore, are imperative to address such challenges, the Pakistan envoy said. “All of this requires urgent action by the international community. Improving the governance of the oceans and strengthening legal frameworks is therefore essential for international peace and security, interconnectivity, the blue economy, and timely achievement of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)”, Ambassador Jadoon said. Pakistan is, he added, was fully committed to 2030 Agenda, including SDG-14 pertaining to conservation and sustainable use of oceans. (There are 17 SDGs that are aimed at ending poverty, with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, while tackling climate change and working to preserve the world’s oceans and forests.) On the International Seabed Authority (ISA), Ambassador Jadoon said Pakistan believes that a robust and comprehensive regime for exploitation, including rules on equitable benefit-sharing, should be developed before mining commences anywhere in the area. (ISA, which is based in Kingston, Jamaica, was set up under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, to authorize and control the development of mineral related operations in the international seabed considered the “common heritage of all mankind” and also protect the ecosystem of the seabed, ocean floor and subsoil.)

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