Ocean Action Hub

9 Jan 2018 - UN Special Envoy for the Ocean urges global agreement on “comprehensive and effective disciplines” needed to ban harmful fisheries subsidies.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • SDG Target 14.6 states that by 2020 we must “prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and refrain from introducing new such subsidies”.
  • The 11th Ministerial Conference adopted a Ministerial Decision on Fisheries Subsidies wherein all WTO members “agree to continue to engage constructively in the fisheries subsidies negotiations, with a view to adopting by the Ministerial Conference in 2019, an agreement on comprehensive and effective disciplines”.
  • I therefore join with others in strongly urging that WTO hold a high-level special session in Geneva before the end of 2019, in order to agree on the “comprehensive and effective disciplines” necessary to prohibit harmful fisheries subsidies.

A truth that is fundamental to humanity’s existence is that the Ocean sustains life on planet Earth. Think only of the way the Ocean provides us with over 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe, and the motivation to secure the Ocean’s health is incontrovertible. With that health now under growing threat from human activities, be it by way of the effects of climate change, pollution or overfishing, there’s little doubt 2019 will be a critical year for protective action on behalf of the Ocean.

To lead that action we have a universal Ocean goal, namely SDG 14 (life below water) of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which came into being in September 2015 when all nations of this planet agreed to adopt these universal Goals. SDG 14 aims to deliver conservation and sustainable use of the Ocean’s resources through ten targets, four of which mature in 2020. To meet these four targets by next year and demonstrate real progress towards the other six, it is obvious that 2019 must be a year of deliberate action to protect the Ocean’s well-being.

For a quick understanding of the targets of SDG 14, I recommend reference to the Oceans Conference website in which they are clearly set out. There you will see that the four targets due to mature in 2020 relate to: sustainably managing and protecting marine and coastal ecosystems; effectively regulating fish harvesting and ending overfishing; conserving at least ten percent of coastal and marine areas; and prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.

It is the latter target, removal of harmful subsidies, that is the subject of this article. Target 14.6 states that by 2020 we must “prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and refrain from introducing new such subsidies.” In this regard, the target’s wording specifically defers to ongoing negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://sdg.iisd.org/commentary/guest-articles/2019-the-year-to-end-harmful-fisheries-subsidies/

SOURCE: IISD SDG Knowledge Platform

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Publication date: 
09/01/2019
Publication Author: 
Peter Thomson
Keyword/s: 
Subsidies, Trade
Thematic Area: 
Sustainable fisheries
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