Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNGA plenary meeting “Oceans and the law of the sea, including sustainable fisheries”

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNGA plenary meeting “Oceans and the law of the sea, including sustainable fisheries”

Mr. President,


The delegation of Ukraine aligns itself with the statement delivered by the Delegation of the European Union and would like to make a statement in its national capacity.

At the outset, we would like to express our gratitude to the Secretariat and to the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea for their work and constant support during the year.

Today my delegation is pleased to join many others in co-sponsoring draft resolutions entitled “Oceans and the law of the sea”, “International legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction” and “Sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments”. We compliment excellent facilitation of the process demonstrated by coordinators.

The marine environment continues to be a matter of our serious concern due to climate change, marine- and land-based human activities, marine debris, over- and illegal unreported and unregulated fishing. All abovementioned factors increases pressure on marine ecosystems leading to their gradual degradation.

Thus, it is of paramount importance for international community to pay much needed attention to these problems and take concrete steps to address them. We also have to continue fulfilling our commitments according to Sustainable Development Goals, which provide internationally agreed policy guidance, goals and targets. Moreover, we believe that proper implementation of Goal 14, which recognizes the importance of conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and their resources, is vital to counter major threats the marine environment continues to face. In this regard, the adoption at the Ocean Conference in June this year of the outcome document “Our ocean, our future: call for action” served as a clear signal to all stakeholders on the urgent need for cooperation and coordination of joint efforts.

Mr. President,

We acknowledge the need for enhancing ocean governance as a fundamental cornerstone for preserving and protecting the marine environment and biodiversity, as well as ensuring peaceful relations between States.

The UN Convention on the Law of the sea is fairly considered by its 168 member-states, including my country, as the constitution of the oceans, which reflects customary international law and establishes the overarching legal framework for all activities in oceans and seas.

Unfortunately, nowadays the UNCLOS legal order faces great challenges due to the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, Ukraine’s rights as the coastal state in maritime zones adjacent to Crimea in the Black Sea and Kerch Strait have been interfered and usurped by the aggressor state. Ukraine is unable to carry out its international obligations under the respective treaties and conventional instruments in the maritime areas appertaining to the Crimean Peninsula, including those relating to safety and security of navigation, regulation of maritime traffic, protection of marine environment, search and rescue, operations.

As a result, the North-Eastern part of the Black Sea has literally turned into a dangerous “grey area” for international shipping that is being proved by the number of marine casualties and incidents. In this context, acting in a good faith, Ukraine is taking reasonable steps to cope with the situation caused by armed aggression of the Russian Federation, recoursing to peaceful means and instituting on May 12, 2017 the arbitral proceedings under the UNCLOS. We are convinced that the Tribunal will take an appropriate and fair decision.

Mr. President,

The ability of States to maximize benefits from oceans and seas and develop a sustainable ocean-based economy depends on maintaining and enhancing the security of maritime spaces. Given that, we condemn the incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, transnational organized crime and terrorism in the maritime domain, trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and other maritime activities that threaten global stability, security and prosperity.

We express our concern over the recent piracy incidents that occurred during 2017 in Somalia, which poses the ongoing threat to the prompt, safe, and effective delivery of humanitarian aid to the region, to international navigation and the safety of commercial maritime routes, and to fishing vessels and other ships operating in conformity with international law.

In this regard, we commend countries that have deployed naval forces in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin to dissuade piracy networks from carrying out acts of piracy.

Though being encouraged by the achievements of the international community in countering maritime piracy, Ukraine wishes to underscore that no sustainable results are possible without dealing with the root causes of piracy and robbery at sea and bringing to justice perpetrators of such acts, as well as their organizers and facilitators on land.

Mr. President,

To conclude, we would like to echo the latest report of the Secretary-General on Oceans and the Law of the Sea that emphasizes the necessity of full and effective implementation of the legal framework for oceans in the UNCLOS and related instruments at the global, regional and national levels as key to achieving ocean-related objectives and fulfilling ocean-related commitments.

I thank you.