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Although this issue was not included as a separate item in the Chair's original list, it soon became apparent that the special interests of developing countries should be addressed. Discussion centered on the type of assistance that should be given to developing countries. An important point raised was that forms of assistance should not be limited to the development of fishing within national jurisdiction. Developing States expressed their intention to develop distant water fishing fleets and argued that the high seas fisheries should not be earmarked for developed States that are already harvesting.

Another point that gave rise to debate was how financial flows should be channeled. The creation of special development funds was mentioned as well as coordinating efforts through the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) or the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The CSD will be dealing with Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 on the oceans in 1996 but, in the meantime, the GEF can be used to fund projects through its focal point on international waters. Some, however, expressed their fear that the issue of high seas fisheries would be diluted within the global context of sustainable development and called for a regional organizations approach. It was mentioned that the levy of participation fees in regional organizations should be proportional to the level of catch, but adjusted in relation to GNP or per capita income levels.

In addition to the transfer of financial resources, developing countries requested the transfer of technology and training of personnel. Those countries in transition to market economies explained that they were unable to provide developing States with financial assistance, but were more than willing to train personnel in the relevant fields. Developing countries used this discussion to elaborate on their difficulties in complying with conservation and management measures, both in terms of data collection and enforcement and monitoring. [Return to start of article]