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UNGA Adopts Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries

6 December 2011: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution on sustainable fisheries, which expresses concern over the current and projected negative impacts of climate change on the world's food security. The resolution ( A/66/L.22), adopted under the agenda item on Oceans and the law of the sea, underlines the urgent need for action in efforts to sustainably manage oceans and marine ecosystems.

The resolution further states that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing constitutes a serious threat to fish stocks and marine habitats and ecosystems, putting the economies of many States at risk. It also notes the particular vulnerability of developing States to risks related to climate change and economic crises. The UNGA calls on States to play an active role in global efforts to conserve and sustainably use marine living resources, thereby contributing to marine biological diversity, and on regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) to take measures regarding bottom fishing.

Numerous speakers in the plenary meeting to take action on the draft underlined that the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) should prioritize the challenges facing the “blue” and “green” economies. They stressed that Rio+20 would provide an opportunity to highlight the priorities of ocean conservation and management, in particular in the implementation of measures to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems and agreements to combat IUU fishing.

Fiji, speaking on behalf of the Pacific small island developing States (SIDS), called for the UNCSD negotiations to direct greater political will towards the well-being of oceans and fisheries, and strengthen the nexus between oceans and sustainable development. [UNGA Press Release] [Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries]