EU underlines importance of UNCLOS

11 Dec 2014

The international community must continue to work together towards the sustainable use of oceans, to promote sustainable development, and to face up to the major threats confronting our marine environment.

This is the message delivered by the EU at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York this week, during a debate on two resolutions relating to the Law of the Sea and sustainable fisheries.

The EU underlined the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as key for stability, peace and progress in today's delicate international context, as well as for ensuring the sustainable development of the oceans and for creating jobs and growth in the blue economy.

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, reiterated the importance of an international approach to ocean governance and sustainable fisheries: "The EU is a global leader when it comes to better ocean governance but acting alone cannot put in place the structures to keep the world's oceans healthy, clean and safe whilst creating an investment climate conducive to more jobs and growth. We believe that through the political commitment and cooperation with our international partners at the UN we can strengthen the Law of the Sea as a robust legal framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of marine resources"

The EU, as a responsible maritime power and as the world’s biggest market for seafood, actively promotes better governance across the world’s seas and oceans to keep them clean, safe, sustainable and prosperous. It does this by working closely with its international partners in a number global fora and by entering into regional and international partnerships and agreements.

The EU and its Member States continue to believe that the UNCLOS represents the constitution of the oceans and establishes the overarching legal framework within which all activities in oceans and seas must be carried out. The EU also strongly supports the UN Fish Stocks Agreement which develops the principle of cooperation to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory and straddling fish stocks alongside the work of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

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