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ICP 13 Discusses Marine Renewable Energies

1 June 2012: The 13th meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process, or ICP 13) brought together representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and academic institutions to examine this year's topic, marine renewable energies (MREs).

The meeting took place from 29 May-1 June 2012, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, and was opened by Co-Chair Ambassador Milan Jaya Meetarbhan (Mauritius), who said the theme for this year is part of a wider debate on sustainable development. He highlighted increased energy demand and the need for more sustainable sources of energy, recalling that this year has been proclaimed the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

Among the challenges highlighted at ICP 13 were energy-security concerns, such as dependence on fossil-fuel imports, and the need to identify, assess and address the economic, environmental and social effects of new energy-generating technologies. Given the salience of energy supply and demand issues, especially in remote and isolated regions, such as small island developing States (SIDS), many participants agreed that MREs merit attention and a sound governance regime.

In particular, delegates convened in plenary sessions throughout the week to discuss: views on MREs, including in the context of climate change mitigation; inter-agency cooperation and coordination; the process for the selection of topics and panelists so as to facilitate the work of the UN General Assembly (UNGA); issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the UNGA on oceans and the law of the sea; and the outcome of the meeting. In addition, three discussion panels were held to consider: MREs - types, uses and role in sustainable development; ongoing or planned MREs projects and work at the global and regional levels; and opportunities and challenges in the development of MREs, including for cooperation and coordination.

Finally, delegates received an update on the voluntary trust fund and activities occurring to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Ambassador Meetarbhan and his Co-Chairs, Ambassador Don MacKay (New Zealand), distributed a Co-Chairs' summary of discussions. [IISD RS Coverage]