[Coral-List] New UN Resolution on the Caribbean Sea]

Jim Hendee Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov
Tue Jan 23 09:47:39 EST 2007

[This is being forwarded from the Carib-Coral-Reefs listserv]:

*News from the Caribbean as of Monday January 22, 2007 *





      *The Greater Caribbean this Week: New UN Resolution on the
      Caribbean Sea*

Monday, January 22, 2007

*by Watson R. Denis, Ph.D*

On December 20, 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a
resolution entitled: "Towards the Sustainable Development of the
Caribbean Sea for present and future generations" (A/C.2/61/L.30). This
resolution differs from previous resolutions (54/225, 55/203, 57/261 and
59/230) adopted by the UN in that its declared objectives are
unequivocal. Upon careful examination, the resolution is an achievement
in light of efforts made almost a decade ago by organisations in the
region including CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS)
to secure the recognition of the Caribbean Sea as a special area in the
context of sustainable development by the international community. It is
timely to highlight the main points presented in this new resolution.

First of all, in its preamble and introduction, the resolution refers to
the international instruments (reports, conferences and declarations)
regarding environmental issues as well as conventions on the protection
and enhancement of the marine environment of the Caribbean region and
the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Indeed, it makes
reference to the major issues regarding sustainable development
discussed by the international community in recent years.

Moreover, among the natural phenomena that compelled the members of the
UN to adopt this resolution, they cite the fragility of the ecosystem of
the Caribbean space and the economic vulnerability of the region. The
resolution thus underscores the importance of climate changes and
variations, the intensity of natural disasters, primarily drought,
hurricanes and volcanic eruptions.

And among the human phenomena, they make mention of the intensive use of
the Sea for transportation, as well as marine pollution, both land-based
and from vessels, which, out at sea, sometimes release waste and
wastewater, not forgetting the accidental discharge of dangerous and
toxic substances. 

The adoption of the resolution is also based on efforts undertaken by
the States and countries of the region to preserve the coastal and
marine resources of which they are guardians and their expressed will to
improve the management of the Sea in the context of sustainable
development. In this regard, the resolution salutes the work and
initiatives undertaken by the ACS, including the establishment of the
Caribbean Sea Commission and the adoption of a definition of the concept
of the Caribbean Sea as a special zone, which were hitherto lacking.

In view of the foregoing, the resolution highlights a number of reasons
why the Caribbean Sea deserves to be protected and preserved for present
and future generations. In this regard, environmental motives are added
to the social and economic realities. Mention is made of its exceptional
biodiversity and very fragile ecosystem. This is coupled with the fact
that it is a source of economic and material well-being for a number of
countries in the region. In this regard, the resolution invites Member
States to become Contracting Parties to the relevant international
agreements aimed at strengthening maritime security and promoting the
protection of the marine environment of the sea against pollution, as
well as implementing sustainable management programmes for fish stock
and implementing programmes to counter the impoverishment of marine

The resolution also encourages the initiatives embarked on by the States
and countries of the region to create conditions favourable to
sustainable development and to fight against poverty and inequality. It
also salutes the work undertaken thus far by the ACS in the areas of
sustainable tourism, trade, transport and natural disasters.

In view of the immensity of the task ahead, the Parties to the
resolution request the support of the United Nations organs, including
the Global Environmental Fund and the international community, for the
work of the countries of the region as well as environmental protection
organisations. In fact, a general appeal is launched for everyone to
provide assistance and support for the management, protection and
sustainable use of the resources of the Caribbean Sea.

There is no doubt that through the adoption of this resolution the
community of Greater Caribbean nations has resolutely advanced toward
the fundamental objective of having the Caribbean Sea declared a special
zone. On three occasions the resolution makes reference to this concept,
which is dear to the adherents of the International Conference on the
Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (1994) and the
Mauritius Declaration and Strategy (2005), which advocate for the
principles and intents declared at the summits to lead to concrete
actions. Resolution A/C.2/61/L.30, like any other resolution, expresses
wishes. It is important to enforce it and to adopt new projects and
activities with a view to strengthening the Caribbean Sea Initiative and
achieving its final objective.

/Dr Watson Denis is the Political Advisor at the Secretariat of the
Association of Caribbean States. The opinions expressed do not
necessarily reflect the official views of the ACS. You may send your
comments to //mail at acs-aec.org/ <mailto:mail at acs-aec.org>/./

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