First, let me congratulate you both on your appointment as co-chairs of this Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole and assure you and the Bureau of New Zealand’s support in carrying out your work.
New Zealand also thanks the Group of Experts and the Secretariat for their work in setting up this “Regular Process” under the United Nations for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects.
Next door, negotiations are underway on the outcome document for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to take place in Rio de Janeiro this June. The Regular Process originated in a recommendation from the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg. New Zealand welcomes the continuing support for the Regular Process here and in the preparations for Rio+20. An integrated global marine assessment process will make an important contribution to sustainable development.
The Regular Process will benefit developed and developing countries alike. For New Zealand, it offers a valuable opportunity to improve our knowledge of the state of our marine environment within a global context. For many developing countries, especially small island developing states (SIDS), these needs are even more profound. The ability to draw on strengthened international networks and the identification of capacity-building needs and opportunities will also have significant benefits.
For this reason, we are pleased to announce that New Zealand has just contributed a further NZ$ 30,000 to the trust fund to support participation in the Regular Process.
New Zealand welcomes the regional expert workshops that have taken place in Chile and China. A New Zealand scientist participated in the South East Pacific workshop in Chile last year. We also look forward to participating in the workshop for the South West Pacific later this year, and thank Australia for its generosity in hosting this workshop. We are pleased to hear that other regions are also planning to hold workshops in the near future.
We thank the Group of Experts for the Revised Possible Outline for the First Global Integrated Marine assessment of the Regular Process. It is time to move forward with the first assessment phase. We would also hope that the outline can be treated as a living document, to be updated with insights from regional workshops that are yet to take place.
There is no doubt that the Regular Process will be a long-term endeavour. However, developing the first integrated assessment of the world’s oceans will be a significant achievement. Accurate scientific information is crucial for effective policy-making. To derive full benefit from the Regular Process, it will be important to maintain our commitment to the on-going reporting and assessment process after the completion of the first assessment in 2014.
We encourage all those involved in this ad hoc meeting to work cooperatively and creatively to find common ground which can be referred to the General Assembly for its consideration.