Thirty-Second Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
As this is the first time, I am addressing this Assembly, I wish to congratulate you and the Vice Presidents on your election and commend the effective manner in which the meetings in this session have been carried out. The delegation of Ghana thanks the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the issues relating to ocean affairs and the law of the sea, submitted pursuant to General Assembly decision 75/239. The occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the adoption and entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, this year, provides an opportune moment to reflect on the contributions of the Convention to the management and use of the ocean and its resources and collectively re-commit to ensuring its continuing relevance in responding to emerging challenges of the 21st Century, such as climate change, sea-level rise, marine biodiversity loss, marine pollution and maritime piracy among others. It is in this regard, that Ghana reaffirms her unwavering support for the Convention as it uniquely sets the parameters for the actions of States in the Area and seeks to protect and preserve the marine environment.
Since becoming a State party to the Convention on 7th June, 1983, Ghana has fully supported its implementation through the work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the International Seabed Authority and the International Tribunal on the law of the sea. Ghana’s commitment is demonstrated, not least, by the distinguished and high caliber Ghanaian judges and experts who, with the backing of the Government of Ghana, have at different times served in various capacities to help fulfill the mandates of the treaty bodies of the Convention.
We congratulate all elected candidates to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and are profoundly grateful for the support of States Parties resulting in the election of Ghana’s candidate, Mr. Lawrence Apaalse. We are hopeful that the newly constituted Commission would make significant progress in its work which remains vital to ensuring certainty of the maritime jurisdictions of coastal states and keeping the peace at sea.
The report of the Secretary-General rightly underscores the symbiotic and reinforcing relationship between the ocean and terrestrial life and emphasizes the need for the protection and preservation of the ocean and its resources as part of measures to achieve the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and our shared climate goals.
There is a need to harness efforts towards ocean sustainability and to balance the imperatives for the exploitation and use of marine resources and protection and preservation of the marine environment.
Through our membership of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Ghana continues to support global initiatives for sustainable ocean governance to create a more equitable and prosperous world, including ensuring that the Convention and existing treaties are implemented.
We welcome the progress made at the Intergovernmental Conference on an internationally legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction We urge flexibility on the part of all Member States during the 5th intergovernmental conference to be held later this year to allow for the early conclusion of the text that reflects the interests and priorities of all.
On 31st May, 2022, the Security Council, for the first time in ten years, adopted a resolution on Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea. The unanimously adopted resolution jointly initiated by Ghana and Norway seeks to re-focus the attention of the international community on the growing menace of maritime piracy which poses immense challenges to the development of coastal economies in the West African Region. The resolution, emphasizes the need to criminalize and prosecute acts of piracy and robbery at sea on the basis of international law. It also requests the Secretary-General to report on current efforts, including assessing the possible links between piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea and terrorism in West Africa and include recommendations for enhanced responses to the situation.
Greater collaboration and coordination at the regional and international levels is essential to disable the global network of maritime piracy that also threatens the security of maritime navigation straits and exacerbates the threat of terrorism.
Finally, we urge all Member States that have not yet ratified the Convention to consider doing so in order to further strengthen the legal regime and the rules-based order for ocean governance. The objective of universal participation in the Convention is well placed as it avails to all States Parties, the benefits of the diverse resources of the ocean as well as marine scientific research and emerging marine technologies.
I thank you for your kind attention.