Friday, December 8, 2023

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France-Phl hold high-level meeting on sideline of UN General Assembly

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Catherine Colonna and Enrique Manalo took the opportunity to discuss the main issues of bilateral relations, notably in the fields of defense, energy, and agriculture. They reiterated the shared commitment of France and the Philippines to a free and open Indo-Pacific. 

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou met with Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga

Following the Minister of State’s visit to the Philippines in August, Minister Zacharopoulou and Secretary Loyzaga continued their discussions, focusing in particular on the 2023 Dubai Climate Change Conference (COP28), the Paris Pact for People and the Planet, and the fight against plastic pollution. Minister Zacharopoulou also mentioned holding the first global ministerial meeting of the School Feeding Coalition in October 2023 in Paris. 

France welcomes the signing on September 20 by the European Union and 67 countries, including the Philippines, of the historic agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in the high seas (“BBNJ” process). France has played an active role with the  European Union (EU) throughout this negotiation process, which began over fifteen years ago. 

Signing of the Treaty on the Protection of Marine Biodiversity on the High Seas at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (September 2023) 

After almost two decades of negotiations, the “High Seas Treaty” has been signed by the European Union and 67 countries, including the Philippines. This historic agreement, for which France played a leading role alongside the EU, represents a major step forward in the protection of marine biodiversity in over 2/3 of the world’s oceans. 

An essential treaty for the protection of marine biodiversity 

This treaty should enable the development of new tools for the protection of marine biodiversity, in particular through the creation of marine protected areas on the high seas, the execution of impact studies on activities in this zone, the establishment of a system for sharing the benefits of marine genetic resources beyond national jurisdictions, and the strengthening of the capacities of developing states and the transfer of marine technologies to them. 

Its adoption reflects the recognition by the international community as a whole that the ocean is a fragile environment, the protection of which is everyone’s responsibility and requires the adoption of binding rules enforceable by all. 

At a time when the ocean is one of the driving forces behind the global economy, marine biodiversity, which determines the health of the ocean and its ability to provide the goods and services on which humanity depends, is under serious threat, particularly in areas beyond national jurisdiction, where governance remains inadequate. 

This treaty guarantees sustainable management of the ocean’s many resources. It will enable our ocean to continue to play its role as a global climate regulator, because it is a source of solutions for mitigation and adaptation, thanks in particular to the smooth functioning of its ecosystems. 

French mobilization key to successful negotiations 

France played an active role with the European Union (EU) throughout the negotiation process that began over fifteen years ago, in order to maintain the necessary level of ambition. It has been committed to supporting a multilateral negotiation process that has led to a global, fair and enforceable agreement. As a member state of the European Union, its constructive participation has enabled an ambitious and inclusive final compromise to be reached.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s commitment to protecting the world’s oceans and marine biodiversity, particularly at the One Ocean Summit in Brest and at the Lisbon Conference for the  Oceans in 2022, has been a driving force in stepping up the fight at the international level, with the creation of the High Seas Alliance at France’s initiative. This coalition, which now has 51 members, is also in line with the announcements made by France at COP27 in Egypt in favor of a total ban on deep-sea mining. 

In keeping with this commitment, France will host the next United Nations Conference on the  Oceans in Nice in 2025. This event, which France will be co-chairing with Costa Rica, is a key opportunity to support the movement initiated in New York, which is essential for the protection of marine biodiversity. The conclusion of the treaty negotiations should mark the start of a new dynamic for cooperation and multilateralism to preserve and protect the oceans. France will continue to play its full part in achieving this objective. 

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