KINGSTON, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Scientists, legal experts and government officials from Caribbean countries have called for the global protection of biodiversity in high seas and a fair environment for ocean governance.
They made the call during a two-day workshop organized by the Jamaican government aimed at encouraging Caribbean countries to prepare for negotiations on a new implementing agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
During the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, world leaders set September 2015 as the deadline to decide whether to start negotiations on the new implementing agreement under UNCLOS to protect life in the high seas.
Addressing the workshop, Arnaldo Brown, minister of state in the ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade of Jamaica, highlighted Jamaica's support of the creation of an international framework to promote the sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.
"As small island developing states, countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are only too aware of the significance of the sea to their developmental imperatives. We have long looked to the ocean for our sustenance and have grown accustomed to its influence on our lives and livelihood," the minister said.
"Conservation of marine resources should be the responsibility of all CARICOM states... as there is an urgent need to address ocean governance in a more holistic manner."
Brown said marine resources are the common heritage of all mankind and its vast wealth should be shared equitably among all nations.
"This new agreement should also ensure a level playing field between developed and developing countries with attention given to the development of benefit-sharing arrangements based on transparency, information sharing and other disclosure requirements," he said.
Brown also said a new legal regime will address the current gaps in ocean governance and will allow Caribbean states to partake in the sharing of both monetary and non-monetary benefits.