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UN expects “firm commitments and concrete actions” from the Conference of the Oceans in Lisbon

The Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs of the United Nations (UN) hopes that the Conference of the Oceans in Lisbon will produce a “solid declaration” on ocean issues, in which the States establish “firm commitments” and “concrete actions”.

In an interview with the Lusa agency, at the UN headquarters in New York, Miguel de Serpa Soares, who is also legal advisor and special advisor to the presidents of the Ocean Conference (Kenya and Portugal), said he hoped that civil society would also engage in commitments to ocean issues.

“A great result would be a robust statement that gives a lot of visibility to this issue of the Oceans, because we are at a time when the Oceans, due to their connection with the issue of climate change, for everything they represent in terms of sustainability of ecosystems and the economic and social, we need to focus our attention on this issue and, unfortunately, this has not been done until now”, he said.

Therefore, “a good result would be firm commitments, with concrete actions on the measures that States must take, but also beyond the States: civil society, youth organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia, scientists… of the sea and a call to actions to deal with these problems”, added the Portuguese jurist.

Appointed to the position of Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs in 2013 by Ban Ki-moon, Miguel de Serpa Soares performs duties that go beyond ocean affairs, providing legal advice not only to Secretary-General António Guterres, but to all different departments, in any area of ​​international law, including the Law of the Sea and Ocean Affairs.

Regarding the work he is doing for the Ocean Conference 2022, which will take place between June 27 and July 1 in Lisbon, and which is co-organized by Portugal and Kenya, Serpa Soares explained that he will advise on more technical and legal issues. that can be discussed in the Portuguese capital.

According to the legal adviser, the conference will focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular those that refer to the Oceans.

“In the 2030 Agenda, Member States decided to adopt a specific goal for the oceans, which we are very happy with, and we will focus on Lisbon. It is the second United Nations Conference on the Oceans (…) and we hope that it will be very productive”, he declared.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the United Nations Great Convention on the Law of the Sea. Asked if more legal instruments are needed for better management of the oceans and their resources, Serpa Soares believes that what is missing is “total respect ” to what already exists.

“I think the main problem is not the lack of rules or the lack of a legal framework, especially since the 1982 Convention is, in fact, a very important convention, and is even called the ‘Ocean Constitution’. It is a more or less complete regime and that has other international regulations that came later, such as the convention on fish stocks or a new treaty that we will continue discussing in August, here in New York, on biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, “he explained. .

“The regulatory framework exists. The problem is more one of ‘compliance’, a problem of comprehensive respect, and what needs to be seen is what makes States not always respect their international obligations. Is it a capacity problem? Is it a problem of lack of resources? And that is where we, in the United Nations and the international community, have to focus and see how we can help those states that are less or with difficulty to comply with existing obligations, to help them, ”he stressed.

Source: Observadora

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