This section deals with the provision of assistance to developing countries from States fishing on the high seas and highlights areas of global, bilateral, regional or subregional cooperation with developing countries.
The Chair highlighted that this section of his draft text was the result of last year's discussions on the topic. He said that developing coastal States need assistance if they are to participate in the conservation and management of marine living resources. In this respect, data and information on high seas stocks are not sufficient and must also be made available on the stocks within the EEZ of coastal developing States. Developing States also need assistance in settling disputes.
Several States commented on this section. It was highlighted that a fund should be created to assist developing States in matters other than the peaceful settlement of disputes. A developing State added that assistance should be applied to all aspects of conservation and management. This Conference needs to be seen within the context of UNCED and a link must be made between this Conference and the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. Although developing States have a strong interest in the conservation and management of these resources, it must be recognized that they will have difficulties implementing the general measures adopted. The measures should not transfer an undue burden to developing States. Several amendments were proposed to detail in what areas assistance is needed. A delegate said that access to markets would be more efficient than any other form of assistance.
It was argued that developing States should receive preferential access to areas adjacent to their high seas, but it was also understood that this access should not lead to overfishing. A delegate said that greater opportunities to fish would also carry a greater responsibility, both in the EEZ and on the high seas. References were made to the work of the CSD, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the FAO. As in Agenda 21, quantitative objectives should be defined to take into account the cost of application of various provisions.
The representative of an African State said that it was important that efficient enforcement and surveillance measures be set up to ensure that distant water States fully implement their obligations to developing countries. Local people, and women in particular, should be taken into consideration. Part of the objective should be to help developing States formulate national strategies for fisheries and to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable development. A delegate said that assistance could be channeled through successful regional arrangements and those communities that have joined their efforts.
A developed country representative said that many useful amendments had been made but that they needed to be examined carefully to ensure compatibility with other requirements of the text. All the delegates agreed that this was a crucial part of the Chair's document and that the special needs of developing countries must be taken into account. An NGO representative delivered a statement from the Women's Caucus in which she said that the text failed to take into account the crucial role women play in fisheries worldwide. The Chair agreed that his document did not reflect the fact that fisheries are gender-neutral. A delegate said that there was no reason to restrict subparagraph 54(e), on greater participation of developing countries in fisheries for straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks, 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. Another 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.
[Return to start of article]