16 January, Geneva: Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan moderated at a preparatory briefing of the UN High Level Oceans Conference which will be co-hosted by Fiji in New York later this year.
This week’s briefing will raise awareness in Geneva, and in particular amongst the diplomatic community, on the high level United Nations Conference and its preparatory processes.
The meeting was co-convened by the Permanent Missions of Fiji and Sweden to the UN in Geneva. Fiji and Sweden are co-hosting the Oceans Conference in New York. The meeting was also supported by the offices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Department of Environment and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
Ambassador Khan moderated the session on ‘Fish Trade and the Emerging Issues’ in light of the Trade and Environment Review of 2016. In her opening remarks, she underscored the importance of the special and differential treatment as the centerpiece of any outcomes in the WTO fisheries negotiations. She highlighted the vital need for policy space for developing countries, in particular small developing countries in developing its artisanal and commercial fisheries sector. To this end she called upon members to consider the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.7 (Sustainable use of marine resources) in tandem with SDG 14.6 (Sustainable fishing). SDG 14.7 silhouettes the importance of the economic benefits of the fisheries sector to small island developing states.
In relation to subsidies, Ambassador Khan noted that not all forms of subsidies have negative impact on Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Subsidies in relation to combatting IUU issues should be allowed. “Issues of management measures are integral in fisheries, however, these need to be discussed in the relevant forum of the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations”, she added. At the national level, the fisheries authorities are responsible for the management of fisheries under their respective jurisdictions.
On the issue of transparency, the importance of having a transparency mechanism has been noted to be a vital component, however, a balance has to be struck between transparency and the commercial confidentiality of information for these economies.
The contributors at the session were Ms. Victoria Chomo from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mr. Paulo Kautoke, Director Trade Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mr. Awni Behman, Honorary President of the International Oceans Institute and Mr Guillermo Valles, Director for the Division of Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities from the UNCTAD.