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CARICOM urged to ensure protection of the oceans

Friday, July 19, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — A senior Barbados official has called on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to do everything within its power to ensure that the high seas remains healthy and protected.

Addressing the third CARICOM workshop on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, the island's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Juliette Babb-Riley, noted “we are negotiating a treaty with over 100 developed and developing countries from different regions, and we are trying to reach consensus on what would be the test of this new instrument”.

The workshop discussed a new international agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which focuses on the protection of the high seas.

“Biologically and ecologically, there are no boundaries. Marine species move between areas that are under the jurisdiction of states and those that are outside the national jurisdiction of states.

“So, if you want to properly conserve your marine resources which fall under your area, you need to pay attention to what is happening beyond areas of national jurisdiction. This agreement is seeking to do that, to make sure we do what is in our power to have a healthy ocean,” Babb-Riley said.

The three-day workshop, which ended here Thursday, allowed for discussions on topics relevant to the conservation of the ocean, such as area-based management tools, which include marine protected areas; environmental impact assessments; capacity building and technology transfer; and access and benefit sharing of marine genetic resources.

Babb-Riley stated while that collectively these things should facilitate better management of areas beyond national jurisdiction and the management of resources within national jurisdiction, she also noted that the contents of the treaty were of the utmost importance to Barbados, as well as Caribbean and Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Barbados has already signed a number of conventions which deal with the protection and preservation of the marine environment, however they specifically relate to areas of national jurisdiction.

Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Minister, Kirk Humphrey, said Bridgetown was committed to the preservation and protection of the marine environment, along with the sustainable use of its resources.

“Barbados, like its sister CARICOM SIDS, has intrinsic geographical, cultural, social and economic ties to the coastal and marine environment,” he said, noting that the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy was established to give greater and more coherent focus to the way the marine environment was treated.


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