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

Thomas Goreau goreau at bestweb.net
Tue Jan 23 14:34:18 EST 2007

Dear Jim,

Thanks for posting this. The effort to get the Caribbean Sea  
recognized as a special area is the result of a long diplomatic  
process, whose subtext is not made clear in this document you posted.  
It just repeats the usual formula of UN declarations that are so  
vaguely worded that one is sure that they must mean something good,  
but without being able to pin down just what specific actions and  
benefits would result.  There is little mention of the global  
warming, new diseases, and untreated sewage and agricultural wastes  
that have killed almost all our coral throughout the Caribbean in the  
last three decades, nor the measures needed to reverse climate change  
and increasing populations and pollution that are driving this  
catastrophic decline.

One reason it is so vague is that the major motivation behind this  
effort is the intense traffic of toxic and nuclear wastes through the  
Caribbean as well as oil. Naturally none of our countries want the  
stuff washing up on our shores, but the countries sending and  
receiving it don't want the traffic controlled, so there has been  
enormous resistance to this declaration from countries outside the  
Caribbean, and its passage required a feel good declaration that  
lacks specifics. The only measure of its efficacy should not be how  
much money gets spent, but how many more corals and fish we have as a  
result of it.

Best wishes,

Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
Global Coral Reef Alliance
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
goreau at bestweb.net

> Message: 1
> Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 09:47:39 -0500
> From: "Jim Hendee" <Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov>
> Subject: [Coral-List] New UN Resolution on the Caribbean Sea]
> To: Coral-List Subscribers <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Message-ID: <45B6200B.6030402 at noaa.gov>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> [This is being forwarded from the Carib-Coral-Reefs listserv]:
> *News from the Caribbean as of Monday January 22, 2007 *
> *
>         http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-script/csArticles/ 
> articles/000052/005290.htm
>         COMMENTARY
> *
>       *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
> biodiversity.
> 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>/./
> ------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> End of Coral-List Digest, Vol 43, Issue 18
> ******************************************

More information about the Coral-List mailing list