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Intergovernmental conference on an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ

statement by

Ali Nasimfar , Representative of Islamic Republic of Iran

Intergovernmental conference on an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ

New York, 5 September 2018


بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم


Madam President,


Let me begin by congratulating you for your well-deserved appointment as the President of the IGC. I am confident that under your able leadership, the IGC will successfully  fulfill the mandate has received from General Assembly in developing an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. My congratulations go to the members of Bureau as well.


The marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction has a notable environmental, economic and social importance and could contribute to poverty eradication, sustained economic growth, development of science, public health and food security. The accumulation of a number of threats to marine ecosystems beyond areas of national jurisdiction, including the unsustainable exploitation of resources, destruction of habitats, pollution, ocean acidification and climate change are the matters of concern. There is an urgent need to establish a legally binding instrument to address the issue of conservation as well as current fragmented procedures in access and utilization, including benefit sharing from marine genetic resources in areas beyond the national jurisdiction of states.

My delegation is of the view that the new instrument should take into account the two essential elements of sustainable development, namely inter and intra generational equity and consequently address both the conservationist and distributive concerns related to BBNJ in an integrated fashion. Applying the existing mechanisms and management tools, such as area-based management including marine protected areas and environmental impact assessments, are important in achieving the objectives of the new instrument in conservation and sustainable use.


Madam President,


The guiding principle that best serves both elements of sustainable development in terms of conservation and distribution is the Common Heritage of Mankind. This principle is part of customary international law and should be taken into account without any prejudice to the rights and obligations of non-parties to the UNCLOS.

Furthermore, my delegation believes that a new implementing instrument under the UNCLOS, while helping move from fragmentation to coherent, should avoid overlap and redundancy with existing legal instruments and the activities of the relevant frameworks. As a party to the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, we are of the view that the new regime should not apply to fishing activities and the new protocol would not affect the freedom to fish in the High Seas for the food consumption purposes.


On the issue of access and benefit sharing, and the possible role of intellectual property in this regard, we believe that the IGC should utilize the guiding principles that have been  put forward by the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, namely prior informed consent (PIC)as well as fair and equitable benefit sharing. In our view, the best way to guarantee the effective implementation of these principles is Mandatory Disclosure of the source of Biological resources. In the other words, the patent applications related to BBNJ inventions shall disclose the origin of the source of biological resources to ensure effective tractability of prior informed consent requirement and companies while applying for the patents, particularly in pharmaceutical products, should reveal the source of MGRs utilized in the process of inventing the new product. In this context, intellectual property rights could be utilized as a means to properly monitor the exploitation of MGRs in a transparent manner and to prevent their piracy, misappropriation and unauthorized use.


Madam President,


With respect to institutional framework and drawing from the International Seabed Authority model and building upon lessons learned from different international instruments within a similar technical nature, it would be essential to establish an implementing authority under supervision of the conference of the state parties to guarantee the effective function of the implementing agreement and to ensure transparency in the access and use of marine genetic resources of areas beyond national jurisdiction while protecting the environment.


Regarding the transfer of technology, the new instrument should define concrete obligations to transfer of marine technology while recognizing the special needs of developing countries.


Finally, Madam President, the issue of BBNJ has been on the program of work of the General Assembly for more than a decade, and the IGC is an important milestone in these efforts. We have already entered in the final phase of this process. It is time to enter into a text based negotiation with the understanding that all of us have a shared responsibility toward protecting seas, conservation, sustainable use and sharing equitable benefit deriving from the BBNJ. My delegation will engage constructively in this negotiation and will spare no effort to reach a concrete and successful outcome.


Thank you very much.


00:31 - 06/09/2018    /    Number : 533584    /    Show Count : 142


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