Secretary-General’s Report and Briefing Provide Update on Oceans Compact

12 November 2012: The UN Secretary-General's Oceans Compact was the subject of a briefing held on 12 November 2012, in New York, US. The briefing was hosted by Achim Steiner, Chair of the High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and Patricia O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.

Steiner offered a few opening remarks about the Oceans Compact, following which delegates asked a number of questions. Several countries raised concerns over a lack of government consultation when crafting the Compact's Action Plan. They stressed that the agency's focus should be on coordination. In response, Steiner agreed to host more Member State consultations, and to share the draft Terms of Reference for an Oceans Advisory Group, but stressed that this process is the responsibility of the Secretary-General, not of intergovernmental negotiations.

The UN system's activities on oceans are also addressed in the recently issued annual report of the Secretary-General on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. The report covers UN activities on oceans from September 2011 to August 2012. It provides updates on recent meetings of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its agreements, as well as established UN bodies pertaining to this Convention. The report highlights oceans' sustainability in regard to maritime laws, security issues, marine conservation, small island developing States (SIDS) and climate change. It also includes details of the Oceans Compact, and updates on the Action Plan and Oceans Advisory Group. [IISD RS Sources] [Publication: Oceans and the Law of the Sea: Report of the Secretary-General]