Statement by H.E. Rabab Fatima at the Ambassadorial Briefing on “Equitable sharing of benefits from sustainable development of seabed resources: Opportunities for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS”, 25 June 2020 at 10:00-11:30am, New York  

I thank you Madame USG.

Excellencies, USG, Secretary General ISA, Dear Colleagues – good morning.

I wish to thank the Office of the High Representative, and my good friends, Amb. Ligoya, Amb. Umarov and Amb. Young and their Missions for organizing today’s important briefing and for their excellent statements. I thank the briefers for their very useful presentations.

The oceans and its vast resources are our lifeline; and are critical for our well-being and prosperity. More than 3 billion people rely on the oceans for their livelihood; 97% of those engaged in the fishing sector are in the developing countries.  Around 4.3 billion people draw 15% of protein from seas. Over 30% of global oil and gas is extracted offshore.

Apart from the marine resources within the national jurisdictions and the high seas, the UN Convention on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) opened up another world of opportunities for us. The deep seabed, the ‘Area’, is a storehouse of resources that the UNCLOS has defined as the ‘common heritage of mankind.’ Therefore, the importance of and ensuring sustainable, fair and just share of the deep sea-bed resources for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, who are constrained by resources, capacity and technology, cannot be over emphasized.

Bangladesh deeply values the work of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), especially in developing the regulatory frameworks for distribution of contracts in the deep seabed, deciding on the mining code and also working on a mechanism for the equitable share of benefits derived from deep seabed mining. We are happy to know that out of 30 contracts awarded so far, twelve have been awarded to the developing countries.

Given the highly technical nature of deep sea bed mining, it is of great importance to ensure that the developing countries receive support for capacity building and knowledge transfer. Training, secondment of technical staff, research and studies, are areas of support that we can benefit from at the immediate term.  In the mid and longer term we need investment to explore the ocean resources for our development.  In this regard, we welcome the initiatives of ISA to address the needs of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDs; and the commitment of ISA in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Bangladesh is a country with a huge population where land based resources is scarce. Even the resources of the seas are yet to be fully exploited. After the settlement of our maritime boundaries with neighboring Myanmar and India, we are prioritizing on unleashing the full potentials of our ocean resources and have made the Blue Economy the new frontier.

To fully realize the potentials of the Blue Economy for our socio-economic development, we would require access to equitable sharing of marine resources, especially in areas beyond national jurisdiction and in ISA controlled areas. And that makes the work of ISA very important for Bangladesh.

As a member of the Council, we have remained fully engaged in the work of the ISA and would also continue our engagement both at the technical and political level.

To conclude, I would like to reiterate our commitment to working closely with ISA for the greater interest of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, and in ensuring equitable sharing of deep seabed resources.  This can bring about truly transformative changes in our countries.

I thank you all.