2005.11.28: Item 75 (a) and (b): Oceans and the Law of the Sea

H.E. Ambassador Shin Kak-soo, Deputy Permanent Representative, at Plenary of the General Assembly

Mr. President,

1. My delegation thanks the Secretary-General for his comprehensive and informative report on oceans and the law of the sea. We also commend Mr. Vladimir Golitsyn, Director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS), and his staff for their dedicated work and invaluable assistance to Member States. Finally, we would like to thank Mr. Marcos Louren? de Almeida of Brazil and Ms. Holly Koehler of the United States for their excellent work in coordinating the two resolutions before us.

Mr. President,

2. Currently the number of parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) stands at 149, while the number of parties to the Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of UNCLOS has increased to 122. Given the centrality of UNCLOS as the global legal framework for the governance of oceans and seas, it is important that all activities in the oceans and seas are carried out within that framework and that the integrity of the Convention is maintained. We join other States in urging those that have not yet done so to accede to the Convention and the Agreement as soon as possible.

3. As the implementing mechanisms of the Convention, the International Seabed Authority, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf have all played important roles. The Republic of Korea has been actively participating in their work and will continue to do so. As the omnibus resolution encourages all States Parties to the Convention to attend the sessions of the International Seabed Authority, wider participation should be ensured.

4. The oceans and seas are invaluable to the welfare of humanity, providing living and non-living marine resources and vital means of transportation. Unfortunately, however, maritime security is a serious concern for many seafaring States. In particular, piracy and armed robbery at sea require vigilance at the sub-regional, regional and international levels. To eradicate the scourge of piracy and armed robbery against ships that currently plagues the waters of Southeast Asia, 16 countries have adopted a Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia. As one of those 16 countries, the Republic of Korea is in the process of completing the domestic process for signing the Agreement and advancing its early entry into force.

Mr. President,

5. The development of marine science and technology is crucial in providing the data and evidence to allow the international community to optimize its resources for carrying out necessary measures. In this regard, my delegation underlines the importance of scientific and technical cooperation in ocean affairs, including the exchange of information, as well as joint research activities.

6. To achieve the conservation, management, and sustainable use of living marine resources, States must cooperate to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities. In enhancing this cooperation, the international community should set priorities for the measures that must be taken.

7. The Republic of Korea has put in place a framework to prevent the operation of sub-standard vessels and to exercise effective control over vessels flying its flag in order to prevent and deter them from engaging in IUU fishing. We are faithfully adhering to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Plan of Action against IUU fishing. We will continue to work together with other States, international organizations such as the FAO, and all regional fisheries management organizations to realize responsible fisheries. The Republic of Korea is also continuing to implement measures to protect the marine environment by preventing and reducing pollution from vessels and land-based sources.

Mr. President,

8. The UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea held its sixth meeting this year, and among the topics discussed was the very pertinent issue of fisheries and their contribution to sustainable development. With its third three-year cycle next year, the Informal Consultative Process should maintain its relevance and usefulness, as well as its inclusiveness and open-ended nature.

9. Coordination and cooperation among various UN agencies, programmes and funds and other bodies of international conventions are essential for the effective management of marine issues. In this regard, we expect that the Oceans and Coastal Areas Network (UN-Oceans) will continue to strengthen its work.

10. The Indian Ocean tsunami demonstrated clearly that there is a strong need to establish an early warning and rapid response system for such disasters. To this end, the international community should engage in capacity-building cooperation to help developing countries to strengthen their ocean-related infrastructures.

11. The Republic of Korea is doing its part to enhance international cooperation by transferring marine technology to developing countries through the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s funding and internship programmes.

12. In closing, Mr. President, the international community has long been collaborating to find common ground from which to ensure safe transport as well as sustainable use and management of marine resources. The United Nations has been a vital forum for States to engage in constructive dialogue on these important issues. As a responsible maritime state, the Republic of Korea will continue to participate actively in the ongoing process of ensuring sound governance of the oceans and seas.

Thank you.