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Envoy calls for global ocean effort

By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles | | Updated: 2020-12-09 12:07
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Li Min/China Daily

Countries should work collaboratively to conserve the ocean ecosystem and advance global ocean governance, a Chinese envoy to the United Nations told the General Assembly on Tuesday. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that we are living in an interconnected global village with a common stake," said Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, at a plenary meeting on oceans and the law of the sea.

The virus also serves as a reminder that humankind should launch a "green revolution" and move faster to preserve the environment and make mother earth a better place for all, Geng said.   

"We must uphold the global governance vision of extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit, constantly improve the rules of global ocean governance and strive to eliminate the gaps in global ocean governance," he said. 

Interpreting and applying the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in good faith and in an accurate and comprehensive manner is the basis for maritime cooperation and governance. Matters not regulated by the convention shall continue to be covered by the rules and principles of general international law, the ambassador said. 

Geng also stressed the importance of maintaining a high-quality marine ecological environment. He asked countries to work together to strengthen the prevention and control of marine environmental pollution, to protect marine biodiversity and to promote the conservation and restoration of marine ecosystem.

The ambassador went on to urge nations to join hands in developing a high-quality marine economy, which "bears on global economic growth and the well-being of the people of all countries".

A coordinated effort should be made to promote marine economic development and ecological protection, enhance the quality and efficiency of marine economic development, achieve the orderly development and utilization of marine resources and helps build a new momentum for the post-COVID recovery of the world's economy, he said. 

He reiterated China's proposal of the forging of a "blue partnership", which he said will produce mutual benefits and win-win results. 

"Cooperation is the golden key to the sustainable development of the ocean," Geng said, adding that countries should pursue common interests and the convergence of interests of all parties, as well as settle maritime disputes through dialogues. 

Geng noted that due to the pandemic, the pace of formulating an international instrument on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction and the regulation for the exploitation of marine mineral resources in the area have both slowed down this year. 

China believes that the negotiation of the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) agreement should pay more attention to the content of the instrument than to the timing of its output, the ambassador said.

Regulation with exploitation of mineral resources in the area should reflect the relevant provisions of the convention and its 1994 implementation agreement in a comprehensive and vigorous manner, he added. 

China believes that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea should strictly abide by the principles of state consent, fully respect the rights of the states concerned to independently choose their dispute settlement methods and facilitate the final and long-term settlement of disputes. 

The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf should comply with its status as an independent, expert entity. The International Seabed Authority should continue to steadily advance the development of regulations for the exploitation of mineral resources in the area and put the "principle of common heritage for mankind" into practices, he said. 

Geng said China is committed to promoting green fisheries development as well as to scientific conservation and rational use of fisheries resources, with a view to promoting the sustainable development of global fisheries. 

"COVID-19 warns the world in a usual way that humankind is a community with a shared future, and the human and nature are inseparable," Geng said.

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