CLOSING STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA, BY MR. QASIM AZIZ, MISSION OF PAKISTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE FIFTH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL CONFERENCE ON AN INTERNATIONAL LEGALLY BINDING INSTRUMENT UNDER THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA ON THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF MARINE BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY OF AREAS BEYOND NATIONAL JURISDICTION (New York, 26 August 2022)
Thank you Madam President,
I have the honor to make this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
At the outset, allow me to express our appreciation to you and to the facilitators, for your role in steering and guiding our work. This is a far from easy task - and your tireless efforts are applauded forthrightly. Let me also thank all of the Secretariat staff that have made this 5th session a reality.
Given the clear necessity of having our experts from capital present in the negotiations, we would like to acknowledge the support provided in allowing this to take place through funding provided to the Voluntary Trust Fund. We would wish to express appreciation to those who have made contributions to the Fund.
The delegations that comprise the Group of 77 and China approached the fifth session with all due care, passion and wholehearted engagement. Our collective preparations commenced the day that you drew IGC-4 to a close. Many, maybe most, and perhaps all delegations find covering these negotiations a true challenge. But for the G77 and China, the largest group of developing States across the United Nations, our delegations require transparency, clarity of planning, logistical arrangements suited to the demands of small or developing States - and tailoring of such negotiations to the reality of these common obstacles.
In this respect, the organization of IGC5 can be said to have been one factor that slowed our progress, and improvements through lessons learned can and must be implemented for the resumed session. As form follows function, and as in law procedure is substance, the creation of this vital international legal instrument has been challenged by inadequacies that we trust can be improved.
If these issues are not properly understood, digested and resolved, the procedural failings will endanger this instrument - and in turn, endanger the possibility of seeing the transformational objectives set down - and implemented.
The Group of 77 and China stress that the future instrument must encompass topics identified in the package agreed in 2011 - and this way will lead to overwhelming support from our delegations. To this end, we firmly believe that the principle of the common heritage of mankind should guide and underpin the new legal regime for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, including the access and sharing of benefits of marine genetic resources (MGRs).
This principle provides a legal foundation for a fair and equitable regime that would allow all countries to benefit from the potential that marine biodiversity represents in terms of global food security and economic prosperity, and to address the challenges of conservation and sustainable use of MGRs of areas beyond national jurisdictions.
It is Friday night, past 9pm. The delegations of the Group and I - like all delegations I am sure - feel as if we live in this building, and I have forgotten that natural light is not limited to the hours of 6-7AM.
In my exhaustion, forgive me if I have been a tad negative so far.
The progress that has been made in 2 weeks is quite incredible. We have finally seen the flexibility and movement that you have requested, Madam President, from our partners. Had this flexibility and openness to appreciating the vital needs of our delegates across all parts of this package come earlier - perhaps we could have seen an Agreement wrapped up today.
But our advancing is real. The sense of shared humanity and the need for benefits to flow fairly and equitably to those who most need them in order to ensure their rights and secure their obligations is as clear as ever - and finally impacting our partners.
Finally, as this will be the last intervention by the G77 Chair during the Fifth Session, I would like to thank all delegations for their active and serious engagement during our negotiations.
I conclude by wishing you Madam President the best of luck.