| Summary of UNICPOLOS-7 June 12-15, 2006 |
Representatives from the International Ocean Noise Coalition (IONC) attended the seventh meeting of the Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea at the United Nations (UNICPOLOS-7) June 12-15, 2006. A report of that meeting is provided below.
IONC Objectives for UNICPOLOS-7:
Because ocean noise is a form of transboundary pollution that increasingly threatens whales, dolphins, fish and many other species, we established our objectives for the United Nations and its Member States as the following:
IONC Actions Taken at UNICPOLOS 7:
The Coalition presented the program, "Ocean Noise and the Marine Ecosystem: Impacts and Solutions" as a side event. The purpose of this program was to discuss the management and mitigation of ocean noise within an ecosystem based approach. The program consisted of the short film, "Deadly Sounds in the Silent World II" with an introduction by Pierce Brosnan and presentations by several members of the coalition on the scientific and legal aspects of ocean noise pollution as well as possible mitigation measures including marine protected areas.
UNICPOLOS 7 Meeting Results:
Throughout the week States were given the opportunity in informal evening sessions to initially respond to the Co-Chairpersons' Proposed Draft Elements Report based on discussions in each day's plenary. The Co-Chairs' Elements Report sets agenda items for negotiating the Oceans Resolution language prior to the General Assembly meeting in the fall.
The Draft Elements Report initially included the following section on ocean noise:
8. It was proposed that the General Assembly call on States to recognize that improved application of an ecosystem approach will require, inter alia
c) targeted action to address root causes that can undermine the conservation and integrity of marine ecosystems, including overfishing, IUU fishing, by-catch of threatened species, land-based and sea-based pollution, man-induced climate change, noise pollution, dumping, physical destruction and degradation of habitats and invasive species
Consensus was not reached hence, noise pollution was bracketed for the full plenary to resolve on Friday.
Full Plenary Meeting:
The overwhelming majority of countries strongly supported including noise pollution and the need to address it in the Co-chairs' report. However two countries tried to remove the ocean noise issue and its impacts on the marine ecosystem from the report. However, consensus was finally reached by moving the issue of noise pollution to a new section of the document and by rewording the text to read "Understanding through increased research and consideration of the impacts of underwater noise on marine ecosystems."
IONC considers it important that ocean noise remained in the document in order to keep the issue under active discussions during the upcoming General Assembly negotiations when Member States draft the annual Oceans Resolution.