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Co-Chairs,


We thank the Under-Secretary-General and UN Legal Counsel for his opening remarks and both the Co-Chairs for presenting the oral report on the activities of the Bureau of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on Regular Process. We appreciate your initiative and hard work in hosting seven meetings of the Bureau and the Group of Experts since the last meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group. 


We thank the Bureau for producing the Guidelines for conducting the workshops to assist the second cycle of Regular Process between 2017 and 2020 and the revised terms of reference and working methods of the Group of Experts. 


We also thank the Group of Experts for the Abstracts prepared by them. They are timely and relevant not only to the Eighteenth Meeting of the Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea to be held next month and to the BBNJ Process under the GA resolution 69/292, but also to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially to the UN Conference to support the implementation of the SDG-14, which will be held in June this year at the initiative of the President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly. We look forward to the presentation of these abstracts by the joint coordinators of the Group of Experts at today's meeting.


We take note of the appeal of the Co-Chairs and the UN Legal Counsel for designation of National Focal Points by 31st May to coordinate the activities of the Regular Process and for nomination of experts and scientists to the Pool of Experts by February 2018 to participate in the preparation of the Global Assessment Report during the second cycle. 


Co-Chairs, 


India as a country with vast coast line with peninsular features surrounded by the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, we recognise the importance of oceans and seas. They play pivotal role in furtherance of economic development. The 2030 Agenda recognized this in the Sustainable Development Goal 14. 


We also recognize the importance of the health of oceans and seas for economic development. Constant monitoring and adoption of measures to reduce and prevent pollution of oceans is very important. India has adopted and is implementing a unique monitoring programme for the past three decades. Under this programme we have undertaken extensive data collection in the coastal waters at several places and analysed that data for the physical, chemical, biological, etc., properties of waters. 


We have long standing collaborative relationship with international agencies, such as the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the UNESCO, etc. India has recently joined the International Energy Agency-Ocean Energy System, as a member with a view to further the collaborative research and development work in the area of renewable ocean energy. 


Co-Chairs,


India played an active role in the first Cycle of the Regular Process during 2010-2015, which resulted in the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment on state of the health of the oceans. We contributed our expertise in the area of marine chemistry, physical oceanography, marine geology, and marine biology. In collaboration with the UN- DOALOS, India hosted the eight UN Workshop on 27-29 January 2014 at Chennai in India. It was attended by several scientists from the countries in the region. It facilitated and contributed to the preparation of the Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment. The salient recommendations of the workshop pertained to communication among various States in the region, also involving regional organizations; promotion of establishment of a coordination mechanism for the conduct of assessments in the area beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) with the participation of the Indian Ocean Rim countries, updating of template with inventory of assessments, authentication of data especially, water quality data.


In terms of capacity building, India has necessary expertise and resources. We are partnering with other countries to share our knowledge and offering training facilities. We have a network of researchers and institutions in place for an effective system of regular reporting and assessment of the state of marine environment, including the socio-economic aspects, of the Indian Ocean and the Indian Ocean Rim region.


Finally, we extend our full cooperation to the Bureau and look forward to participating in the second cycle of the Regular Process. 


Thank you, Co-Chairs.

 


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