I warmly congratulate you and other members of the bureau on your election to lead this important session. We have every confidence that you will steer the meeting to a productive outcome. You can count on my delegation’s full support.
I wish to also extend my warm felicitations to all newly elected members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
We take note of the reports of the Secretary-General contained in documents A/76/311 and A/77/68. We appreciate the efforts of the United Nations and the relevant agencies to implement the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) under challenging circumstances.
With a coastline of more than 710 kilometers along the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh attaches high importance to UNCLOS and remains deeply committed to its full implementation. Our national efforts to implement the provisions of the Convention include the revision of our 1974 straight baseline, updating of our national law concerning our maritime zones in the Bay of Bengal, and submission of technical and scientific data to the UN on our continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles legislation, among others. We have also resolved our maritime boundary with our coastal neighbours in accordance with Part XV of the Convention.
We are also conscious of the need to address threats to ocean health and ocean governance. As a climate vulnerable country, we have integrated preservation and protection of ocean environment in our climate-related national laws and policies.
Our 82-yearlong ‘Delta Plan 2100’ is aimed at unlocking the potentials of the blue economy for our overall socio-economic development. We are also at the final stage of formulating a National Decade Committee, in line with UN Decade of Ocean Science, to support the achievement of a clean, healthy, resilient and engaging ocean.
Allow me to highlight three specific points:
First, an integrated global ocean observation system will play a critical role in addressing the adverse impact of climate change and ocean warming through the delivery of harmonized ocean information to decision makers at the local, regional and global level.
We welcome the adoption of the Global Ocean Observing System Strategy to build a fully integrated global ocean observing system by 2030. We hope this will serve as a full ocean observing value chain and offer free flow of required information for the end users.
We believe that the upcoming Ocean Conference to be held in Lisbon will be a good opportunity to advance global efforts in maintaining the health of the ocean. We are also support the strong call made at the 5th UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi to conclude a legally binding global agreement to end plastic pollution.
Second, to ensure efficient utilization, conservation, protection, and preservation of the marine resources and environment, it is imperative to ensure early conclusion of the BBNJ Agreement. We hope that the 5th BBNJ Conference to be held in August 2022 in New York, will reach consensus to conclude the long-awaited Agreement.
Finally, we wish to express our concern with the current working method of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which has a long queue of pending submissions.
Bangladesh submitted the required technical and scientific data in support of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles to the CLCS in 2011. The preparation of the submission entailed substantial financial and technical investments, which as an LDC was not an easy undertaking for us. Yet we prioritized the submission, and invested resources for its conclusion.
We also took measures to resolve our maritime boundary with our neighbours through the dispute settlement procedure prescribed by the UNCLOS. To give effect to this new development we made an amended submission, which was presented before the Commission on 02 March 2022 during its 54th plenary session.
However, we are deeply disappointed by the Commission’s decision not to form a sub-commission for Bangladesh to settle the matter, given that the maritime boundary disputes of Bangladesh with its neighbours have already been resolved through the dispute settlement mechanisms established by the UNCLOS itself. Thus, we believe that the Commission has a responsibility now to process the submissions by the State parties on their merit, and through strict adherence to the provisions of the Convention.
We earnestly hope that CLCS would soon form a sub-commission to review the amended submission of Bangladesh. My delegation is ready to provide any information or clarification that the Commission may require in this regard.
I thank you.