Rio+20 Official text about Seas & Oceans

Find here the Rio+20 Official text about Seas and Oceans

It is composed of 12 parts that you can find below :

  • 158. We recognize that oceans, seas and coastal areas form an integrated and

essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem and are critical to sustaining it, and

that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of

the Sea, provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of

the oceans and their resources. We stress the importance of the conservation and

sustainable use of the oceans and seas and of their resources for sustainable

development, including through their contributions to poverty eradication, sustained

economic growth, food security and creation of sustainable livelihoods and decent

work, while at the same time protecting biodiversity and the marine environment

and addressing the impacts of climate change. We therefore commit to protect, and

restore, the health, productivity and resilience of oceans and marine ecosystems, and

to maintain their biodiversity, enabling their conservation and sustainable use for

present and future generations, and to effectively apply an ecosystem approach and

the precautionary approach in the management, in accordance with international

law, of activities having an impact on the marine environment, to deliver on all three

dimensions of sustainable development.

  • 159. We recognize the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of

the Sea to advancing sustainable development and its near universal adoption by

States, and in this regard we urge all its parties to fully implement their obligations

under the Convention.

  • 160. We recognize the importance of building the capacity of developing countries

to be able to benefit from the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and

seas and their resources and, in this regard, we emphasize the need for cooperation

in marine scientific research to implement the provisions of the United Nations

Convention on the Law of the Sea and the outcomes of the major summits on

sustainable development, as well as for the transfer of technology, taking into

account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines

on the Transfer of Marine Technology.

  • 161. We support the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the

State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects, established

under the General Assembly, and look forward to the completion of its first global

integrated assessment of the state of the marine environment by 2014 and its

subsequent consideration by the Assembly. We encourage consideration by States of

the assessment findings at appropriate levels.

  • 162. We recognize the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of marine

biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. We note the ongoing work under

the General Assembly of an ad hoc open-ended informal working group to study

issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity

beyond areas of national jurisdiction. Building on the work of the ad hoc working

group and before the end of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly we

commit to address, on an urgent basis, the issue of the conservation and sustainable

use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, including by

taking a decision on the development of an international instrument under the

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

  • 163. We note with concern that the health of oceans and marine biodiversity are

negatively affected by marine pollution, including marine debris, especially plastic,

persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and nitrogen-based compounds, from a

number of marine and land-based sources, including shipping and land run-off. We

commit to take action to reduce the incidence and impacts of such pollution on

marine ecosystems, including through the effective implementation of relevant

conventions adopted in the framework of the International Maritime Organization

(IMO), and the follow-up of the relevant initiatives such as the Global Programme

of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities,

as well as the adoption of coordinated strategies to this end. We further commit to

take action to, by 2025, based on collected scientific data, achieve significant

reductions in marine debris to prevent harm to the coastal and marine environment.

  • 164. We note the significant threat that alien invasive species pose to marine

ecosystems and resources and commit to implement measures to prevent the

introduction, and manage the adverse environmental impacts, of alien invasive

species, including, as appropriate, those adopted in the framework of IMO.

  • 165. We note that sea-level rise and coastal erosion are serious threats for many

coastal regions and islands, particularly in developing countries, and in this regard

we call on the international community to enhance its efforts to address these


  • 166. We call for support to initiatives that address ocean acidification and the

impacts of climate change on marine and coastal ecosystems and resources. In this

regard, we reiterate the need to work collectively to prevent further ocean

acidification, as well as enhance the resilience of marine ecosystems and of the

communities whose livelihoods depend on them, and to support marine scientific

research, monitoring and observation of ocean acidification and particularly

vulnerable ecosystems, including through enhanced international cooperation in this


  • 167. We stress our concern about the potential environmental impacts of ocean

fertilization. In this regard, we recall the decisions related to ocean fertilization

adopted by the relevant intergovernmental bodies, and resolve to continue

addressing with utmost caution ocean fertilization, consistent with the precautionary


  • 168. We commit to intensify our efforts to meet the 2015 target as agreed to in the

Johannesburg Plan of Implementation to maintain or restore stocks to levels that can

produce maximum sustainable yield on an urgent basis. In this regard we further

commit to urgently take the measures necessary to maintain or restore all stocks at

least to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield, with the aim of

achieving these goals in the shortest time feasible, as determined by their biological

characteristics. To achieve this we commit to urgently develop and implement

science-based management plans, including by reducing or suspending fishing catch

and effort commensurate with the status of the stock. We further commit to enhance

action to manage bycatch, discards and other adverse ecosystem impacts from

fisheries, including by eliminating destructive fishing practices. We also commit to

enhance actions to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems from significant adverse

impacts, including through the effective use of impact assessments. Such actions,

including those through competent organizations, should be undertaken consistent

with international law, the applicable international instruments and relevant General

Assembly resolutions and FAO guidelines.

  • 169. We urge States parties to the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the

Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to the

Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish

Stocks to fully implement that Agreement and to give, in accordance with part VII

of the Agreement, full recognition to the special requirements of developing States.

Furthermore, we call upon all States to implement the Code of Conduct for

Responsible Fisheries and the FAO international plans of action and technical


  • 170. We acknowledge that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing deprive many

countries of a crucial natural resource and remain a persistent threat to their

sustainable development. We recommit to eliminate illegal, unreported and

unregulated fishing as advanced in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and to

prevent and combat these practices, including through the following: developing and

implementing national and regional action plans in accordance with the FAO

International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and

Unregulated Fishing; implementing, in accordance with international law, effective

and coordinated measures by coastal States, flag States, port States, chartering

nations and the States of nationality of the beneficial owners and others who support

or engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by identifying vessels

engaged in such fishing and by depriving offenders of the benefits accruing from it;

as well as cooperating with developing countries to systematically identify needs

and build capacity, including support for monitoring, control, surveillance,

compliance and enforcement systems.

  • 171. We call upon States that have signed the FAO Agreement on Port State

Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated

Fishing to expedite procedures for its ratification with a view to its early entry into


  • 172. We recognize the need for transparency and accountability in fisheries

management by regional fisheries management organizations. We recognize the

efforts already made by those regional fisheries management organizations that have

undertaken independent performance reviews, and call on all regional fisheries

management organizations to regularly undertake such reviews and make the results

publicly available. We encourage implementation of the recommendations of such

reviews and recommend that the comprehensiveness of those reviews be

strengthened over time, as necessary.

  • 173. We reaffirm our commitment in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation to

eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and

overcapacity, taking into account the importance of this sector to developing

countries, and we reiterate our commitment to conclude multilateral disciplines on

fisheries subsidies that will give effect to the WTO Doha Development Agenda and

the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration mandates to strengthen disciplines on

subsidies in the fisheries sector, including through the prohibition of certain forms

of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, recognizing

that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and

least developed countries should be an integral part of the WTO fisheries subsidies

negotiation, taking into account the importance of the sector to development

priorities, poverty reduction and livelihood and food-security concerns. We

encourage States to further improve the transparency and reporting of existing

fisheries subsidies programmes through WTO. Given the state of fisheries resources,

and without prejudicing the WTO Doha and Hong Kong ministerial mandates on

fisheries subsidies or the need to conclude these negotiations, we encourage States

to eliminate subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and to refrain

from introducing new such subsidies or from extending or enhancing existing ones.

  • 174. We urge the identification and mainstreaming of strategies by 2014 that further

assist developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and small

island developing States, in developing their national capacity to conserve,

sustainably manage and realize the benefits of sustainable fisheries, including

through improved market access for fish products from developing countries.

  • 175. We commit to observe the need to ensure access to fisheries and the

importance of access to markets, by subsistence, small-scale and artisanal fisherfolk

and women fish workers, as well as indigenous peoples and their communities,

particularly in developing countries, especially small island developing States.

  • 176. We also recognize the significant economic, social and environmental

contributions of coral reefs, in particular to islands and other coastal States, as well

as the significant vulnerability of coral reefs and mangroves to impacts, including

from climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, destructive fishing practices

and pollution. We support international cooperation with a view to conserving coral

reef and mangrove ecosystems and realizing their social, economic and

environmental benefits as well as facilitating technical collaboration and voluntary


  • 177. We reaffirm the importance of area-based conservation measures, including

marine protected areas, consistent with international law and based on best available

scientific information, as a tool for conservation of biological diversity and

sustainable use of its components. We note decision X/2 of the tenth Meeting of the

Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, that by 2020

10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for

biodiversity and ecosystem services, are to be conserved through effectively and

equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of

protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.