The Chair reconvened Plenary on Wednesday at noon, following two and one-half days of informal-informal consultations. Nandan outlined the work of these consultations but refrained from giving an assessment of the negotiations at this stage.
Noting his original Conference agenda, he reminded delegates of his wish to produce a revised negotiating text for issuance in the third week. This, he said, had largely been achieved during informal-informal consultations over the last two and one-half days. This working time-frame included one late evening meeting in which delegates had considered a number of conference room papers. The benefit of working in a smaller group had provided for the consideration of selective issues. Where there were wide differences, those papers had been considered first, but he regretted that even working in a smaller group, it had not been possible to complete fully the required task. A/CONF.164/CRP.1 deals with the mechanisms of cooperation and describes the duties of flag States, compliance and enforcement of high seas fisheries, port State responsibilities and regional arrangements. A/CONF.164/CRP.2 deals specifically with international cooperation and is split into two sub-sections: (a) Mechanisms for International Cooperation and (B) Regional Fisheries Management Organizations or Arrangements. The Chair said there had been useful discussion on this paper with a considerable amount of new discussion, mainly on the problems of provision, but he thought there is common ground which he said could provide for early agreement. A/CONF.164/CRP.3 outlines Section I, which has a new section on Application added. Section I of the original revised text (A/CONF.164/13*) is now contained under Section II describing General Principles. Section II is split into three headings: (A) the Nature of Conservation and Management Measures; (B) Precautionary Approaches to Fisheries Management; and (C) Compatibility. Nandan said it is important to agree on this paper that deals with the biological unity of stocks, because this could break deadlocks on other areas. A number of alternative texts were considered in a constructive atmosphere. He felt that by-and-large, on the question of stocks and jurisdiction, there was considerable common ground; however, certain mechanisms were difficult to resolve and discussion of these will continue. Nandan said there was insufficient time to consider the paper on dispute settlement, A/CONF.164/CRP.4, informally, but he hoped that there will not be too much difficulty with its content. The special requirements of developing countries is contained in A/CONF.164/CRP.5.
Nandan said he felt that the informal-informal consultations had made good progress. There were difficult topics to debate, but he had come out with a good feeling of progress. He said some restructuring will be better reflected in the revised text for circulation today at 11:00 am. He apologized for the delay in processing the text, but recognized that delegates wanted to depart with a composite copy of the revised text. He stated that he would try to complete the session by midday.
No delegates asked for the floor and the meeting, which lasted 10 minutes, was adjourned.
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