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MORNING INFORMAL PLENARY SESSION

Two delegates began yesterday's session by speaking on Section X of the negotiating text, "Special requirements of developing countries". One of the delegates said that there was no reason to restrict subparagraph 54(e) to high seas fisheries, and stated that there should be no discrimination against developing States. This subparagraph would discriminate by effectively confining developing countries' activities to their own EEZs. A second delegate supported this statement, saying that developing countries' fishing activities should not be limited to one area. Another delegate stated that there was no intention, implicitly or explicitly, to restrict developing coastal States to their own EEZs.

The Chair then introduced Section XI of the negotiating text on the follow-up to the Conference, and invited comments from delegations. A delegate supported the Chair's text. Another delegate said that policy guidelines will have to be developed for the GEF to mobilize financial resources to create viable regional organizations.

Several delegates stated that five years was the right amount of time for holding a review session. Another delegate said that there should be a review conference since we are starting from the premise that the outcome of this Conference will be a convention. One delegate said that the UN should decide if there is a need to convene a follow-up conference while another delegate replied that the Conference should determine this. One delegate supported sending a copy of the report of the Conference to the CSD for its review of fisheries and ocean matters, while another disagreed saying that the CSD should be informed orally of the work of the present Conference. Another delegate felt that the CSD may not be the key forum for consideration of these matters.

The FAO should play a significant and constructive role in the review mechanism, and the review process should be centered in New York since it is difficult for small delegations to maintain a presence in Rome, where FAO has its headquarters. One delegate stated that the FAO is the body directly involved with the issues and is less politicized than the UN General Assembly. Other States said that the General Assembly had merit, since all States are represented there. One delegate stated that it would be a waste of expertise and human resources for FAO not to take the lead for regular review of implementation. FAO, however, should not control implementation. Other delegations stated that the issue is not only technical, it is one of high politics and of legal issues. Yet if the follow-up is only a narrow legal process, that is not enough. One delegate thought that biennial submission of reports to the Secretary-General would cover too long a time period, and that annual review by fishery organizations was important. One review conference will not do the job. Wording should be developed for holding a conference no later than 1997, and periodically thereafter.

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