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NZ and Australia to work together on high seas conservation

NZ and Australia to work together on high seas conservation

New Zealand and Australia will work together on proposals to develop a new international agreement for improving conservation and management of the marine environment beyond countries’ national jurisdiction, New Zealand Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith and Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced today in Kaikōura.

“New Zealanders and Australians share a strong association with the ocean environment, both of us have responsibility for huge ocean areas and we both have a strong history of leadership in oceans management,” the Ministers say.

“It makes good sense for us to work closely together on improving the conservation and management of the ocean environment beyond national jurisdictions.”

In 2012, the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development agreed on a deadline to report back to the United Nations General Assembly on filling this gap in oceans governance by September 2015.

United Nations discussions on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction are due to be held in New York next month.

“Two thirds of the world’s oceans are in areas beyond the national jurisdiction of individual nation states. Strengthening environmental governance to ensure the sustainable management of marine resources in this huge area is needed,” Dr Smith says.

“New Zealand has a proud record of leadership in oceans management with our Quota Management System, our network of marine reserves and our EEZ regulation, and we need to contribute constructively to this UN process by ensuring the high seas are also better managed.

“Australia is an obvious partner in this work as our near neighbour in the Southern Ocean and as a country which has long played a major role internationally in oceans management.”

Minister Hunt says this presents an ideal opportunity for Australia and New Zealand to forge an even stronger bond.

“Australia will work in close collaboration with New Zealand on ensuring that any instrument adequately addresses the gaps in governance and marine conservation and does not adversely affect our significant oceans interests and our associated rights, and obligations under international law,” Minister Hunt said.

Discussions this weekend in Kaikōura have reinforced the ambition our countries have for improving the management of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction,” he says.

“Our officials will be working closely together through the United Nations processes to help develop a new agreement to improve the sustainable management of our global oceans,” the Ministers said.

Ends

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