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BBNJ PrepCom: Iceland general statement

Statement by Hendrik Daði Jónsson,
Legal Adviser, Directorate for Legal & Executive Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Preparatory Commission for the Entry into Force of the BBNJ Agreement,Organizational Meeting, 24 June 2024 – General statement

Thank you, Madam Co-Chair,

At the outset, we would like to congratulate you on your election as Co-Chair for this Preparatory Commission. We further express Iceland’s appreciation to you for assuming this role under the present circumstances. We would like to take the opportunity to express and underscore Iceland’s hope and encouragement that the nomination and election of the second Co-Chair be resolved without delay, so that the Preparatory Commission may swiftly proceed with the important work which the General Assembly has mandated it to do.

Madam Co-Chair,

It is a familiar feeling to be gathered again at United Nations Headquarters to discuss the BBNJ Agreement. We remember the late nights and early mornings we spent in the halls and corridors of this building, as we exerted our very best efforts to find common ground. Our discussions were taxing and sometimes they were painful, as compromises often are, but they paved the way to a meaningful milestone: we concluded the BBNJ Agreement and we adopted it by consensus.

A year on from its adoption, we are encouraged to find that the BBNJ Agreement has already accumulated 91 signatories. The Government of Iceland is proud to have been among the first to sign the Agreement when it opened for signature on 20 September last year. We are pleased to share with you that work is already underway nationally to be able to implement the Agreement into national law so that we may join the growing list of States Parties as we count down towards 60 ratifications. We are mindful that it is only once we reach this milestone that the BBNJ Agreement can begin to serve its purpose of ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Thankfully, the task of this Preparatory Commission is very different from that of the Intergovernmental Conferences that came before it. Our task is not to draft the BBNJ Agreement but to translate it faithfully from the page into practice. The various rules, arrangements and terms of reference to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its first meeting are the instruments required for meeting the Agreement’s objectives.

We arrive at this organizational meeting ready to cooperate, to listen and to exchange with fellow prospective parties of the BBNJ Agreement – to ensure that the work of our COP meetings can be effective and efficient from day one.

With that, Madam Co-Chair, we join others in affirming that we are ready to get to work.

Thank you.




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