I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Alliance of the Small Island States (AOSIS). At the outset, let me associate myself with the statement just delivered by South Africa on behalf of G77 and China.

SIDS are custodians of vast expanses of oceans and are considered as large ocean states.   . We have a unique dependency on the health of global oceans and marine resources and we must have ownership of strategies concerning the sustainable development of oceans. SIDS believe that it is the land, the seas and oceans surrounding us that define us and that will largely determine our future. We know that we have inherited them from our forebearers and hold them in trust for future generations of our people. Oceans under our national jurisdiction provide very important environmental services not just for our countries but also for the planet itself.

In line with the importance of oceans and seas for the development of SIDS, we highlight the importance of taking steps to preserve its ability to be a long-term resource for our peoples. This includes ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The current status quo is far from adequate.

Clearly, the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction can be considered as the common heritage of mankind. This is why AOSIS supports the development of a specific legal regime, and to that end, to initiate, as soon as possible, the negotiation of an implementing agreement to UNCLOS which would address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, in particular, and as a single undertaking, marine genetic resources, including access and benefit-sharing, measures such as area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, and environmental impact assessments, marine scientific research, capacity- building and the transfer of marine technology. We believe the time is ripe to launch such negotiations.

I thank you.