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Barbados, Dominica, Senegal, Uruguay formally accept Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies 

 Wednesday, February 14,2024

AsemconnectVietnam - Four more WTO members — Barbados, Dominica, Senegal, and Uruguay — deposited their instruments of acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies on 14 February 2024. Ambassador Matthew Wilson of Barbados, Acting High Commissioner Janet Charles of Dominica, Ambassador Coly Seck of Senegal and Ambassador Alvaro Moerzinger Pagani of Uruguay presented the instruments of acceptance to Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

DG Okonjo-Iweala said: "I am delighted to receive these formal acceptances of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies from Barbados, Dominica, Senegal, and Uruguay. This growing momentum is encouraging as we call on remaining WTO members to follow suit, so that this milestone Agreement can enter into force as quickly as possible and start delivering its benefits for the health of our ocean, and for the long-term livelihoods of the 260 million people who depend on marine fisheries. I am also grateful to these four Members for their constructive participation in the ongoing second wave of negotiations on fisheries subsidies."
Ambassador Wilson said: "The June 2022 Fish 1 Agreement confirmed that the WTO can produce legal outcomes and it sent a strong signal that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing would not be tolerated. A February 2024 outcome on Fish 2, an even more transformational agreement, will be a sign that the WTO can deliver for sustainability and that the developmental priorities of small island states like Barbados can be reflected. I am delighted that Barbados has ratified the agreement as this confirms the commitment of the Government to ensure that we protect our global commons for generations to come."
Acting High Commissioner Charles said: "Dominica is pleased to deposit its instrument of ratification of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement. The Agreement signifies the high level of priority that the WTO and its members place on addressing the sustainability of our oceans. It is a major step towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.6. Dominica is the Nature Island of the Caribbean, and we pride ourselves on being a country that is in harmony with the environment. We believe in preserving both land and marine resources, for future generations. So, for us, this agreement is an extension of our desire to secure our marine space from unsustainable fisheries, which are usually supported by subsidies."
Ambassador Seck said: "Senegal is honoured to deposit its instrument of acceptance for the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. The conclusion of this historic Agreement by member States marks a major step forward for ocean sustainability by prohibiting harmful fisheries subsidies in the face of the scarcity of fisheries resources. Senegal remains fully committed to the second stage of the negotiations on fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. A comprehensive Agreement on fisheries subsidies will contribute to efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on the protection of oceans, seas and marine resources."
Ambassador Moerzinger said: "Consistent with its long-standing commitment to the multilateral trading system, Uruguay wishes today to confirm to the Director-General that it has completed all the necessary steps to deposit the instrument of ratification of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. We are also convinced that this instrument will contribute to environmental sustainability by avoiding the decline of fish stocks, the degradation of marine habitats and the loss of biodiversity. It will also serve as a tool to achieve trade equity and boost economic development by reducing subsidies that can distort global trade--an important first step that we hope will be followed by further efforts by the international community."
These newly deposited instruments of acceptance bring the total number of WTO members that have formally accepted the Agreement to 60. This is 55 per cent of what is needed for the Agreement to come into effect (two-thirds of the WTO membership).
Adopted by consensus at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), held in Geneva on 12-17 June 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies sets new, binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world's fish stocks. In addition, the Agreement recognizes the needs of developing and least-developed countries and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.
The Agreement prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.
Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13, to be held in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.
 
Source: www.wto.org/english/news_e/news24_e/ffm_14feb24_e.htm

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