Hoppa yfir valmynd

BBNJ Further Resumed Fifth Session - Adoption of the Agreement

Statement by Birgir Hrafn Buasson,
Deputy Legal Adviser, Directorate for Legal and Executive Affairs, MFA

Thank you, Madam President. We did it.

We would like to start by thanking you for your able and dedicated leadership. Your knowledge and professionalism kept us on track, and your lightness created an atmosphere where difficult positions could be reconciled. We would also like to thank your team, all facilitators and DOALOS, as well as the many interpreters and other staff who assisted us. Together you made all this possible.

Furthermore, we would like to recognize the support of civil society. Thank you for keeping us focused and on track towards conclusion of this agreement.

As the International Day for Women in Diplomacy is this week, allow me to highlight the major role played by a high number of female Heads of Delegations and negotiators in this process. Without them none of this would have been possible.

On that note, I see some familiar faces around the room, and there are many more that I miss. I would like to use this chance to thank you all, dear colleagues, for constructive engagement, especially those who sat with me for 17 hours on Wednesday, 19 hours on Thursday, and then 37 hours from Friday morning until 10 pm on Saturday night. We are and will forever be trauma bonded.

Madam President.

In a considerably high percentage of statements made by Iceland here at the UN, we emphasise the importance of the ocean to our country. I am sorry for the repetition, dear colleagues, but today will be no exception. A half a century ago, when many of the customs of international law were formed that later became the foundation of UNCLOS, Iceland was classified as a developing country. 

Since then, the sustainable use of the ocean has been a cornerstone of Iceland’s prosperity. A healthy and bountiful ocean, with long-term sustainability at the core of all management decisions is for the benefit of all. As we have said throughout this process, conservation and sustainable use are not separate or conflicting notions, but two sides of the same coin.

Iceland remains committed to the health of our Ocean and we see this new agreement as an important addition to the law of the sea family, under the Convention, our constitution of the Ocean. The BBNJ Agreement provides us with many of the tools we need to achieve our common objectives, some of which have now been set out in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity last December.

As so many of my colleagues have said, while this adoption is a victory for multilateralism, this is only the beginning. Nothing has been conserved or protected. No benefits have been shared.

Now it is our time to show the world that we cannot only come together and agree on text, we can take action - and we can do it together.

Madam President.

I thank you.



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