Background

Committee was briefed by Andrew Hudson, Coordinator of UN-Oceans, on recent developments regarding UN-Oceans, its implementation plan and the revision of its terms of reference, and by Serguei Tarassenko, Director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs, on ongoing General Assembly processes. Mohamed Mounir Zahran, lead author of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on the evaluation of UN-Oceans (see A/67/400), had also been invited to participate in the discussions.  International attention to the issue of oceans had grown markedly over the past year, as reflected in the Rio+20 outcome document, the establishment of the Global Partnership for Oceans and the development of the Secretary-General’s Oceans Compact.

Intergovernmental interest in ocean matters had resulted in the adoption of General Assembly resolution 66/231, in which the Assembly had called upon JIU to conduct an external evaluation of UN-Oceans and requested UN-Oceans to prepare a new draft terms of reference for consideration by the Assembly at its sixty-seventh session. The Committee was informed that the external evaluation of UN-Oceans carried out by JIU had focused on the relevance, coherence, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the mechanism. The eval uation had resulted in recommendations concerning revision of the terms of refe rence of UN-Oceans, the need for a small dedicated secretariat, the establishment of a national focal point system, greater coordination between UN-Oceans, UN-Ene rgy and UN-Water under the High-level Committee on Programmes and the development of operational guidelines for UN-Oceans by the Committee.

The revised draft terms of reference, which were before the Committee for its consideration, included provisions for a dedicated secretariat, a multi-year work programme , reporting arrangeme nts and strengthened coordination with UN-Water and UN-Energy. 16. The Committee had also before it the Oceans Compact implementation note. The Oceans Compact, which had been reviewed by the Committee at its last previous, had been launched by the Secretary-General at Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Republic of Korea, in August 2012. To facilitate implementation of the Oceans Compact, the Deputy Secretary-General ha d asked the Chair of the Committee to consult with United Nations agencies in the preparation of an implementation note for the Compact.

The note had been formulated in close consultation with a small group of Committee members and contained two options for an Oceans Compact road map for consideration by the Committee. The options pertained to the number of meetings of the Oceans Compact Advi sory Group in the preparation of the Oceans Compact action and resource mobilization plan.

Discussion

In the ensuing discussion, Committee members noted that the preparation of  the Oceans Compact was within the purview of the Secretary-General, as the  Compact built on and was within existing mandates and ongoing activities by  United Nations system organizations already sanctioned by Members States. The  Compact set out a strategic vision for the system to deliver on its ocean-related  mandates, consistent with the Rio+20 outcome document, in a more coherent and  effective manner. It aimed to provide a platform for all stakeholders to collaborate  and accelerate progress in the achievement of the common goal of “Healthy oceans  for prosperity”.

The General Assembly’s  consideration of the revised terms of  reference for UN-Oceans, the JIU recomme ndations regarding UN-Oceans as well  as implementation of the Oceans Compact raised concerns regarding the relationship  between intergovernmental and inter-agency processes. 

Members also expressed their overall support for the revised UN-Oceans terms of reference. The World Intellectual Proper ty Organization indicated its intention to join UN-O

Action

The Committee took note of the revised terms of reference of UN-Oceans and the recommendations contained in the JIU report on the evaluation of UN-Oceans.The Committee also took note of the Oceans Compact implementation plan and endorsed option 1 for the Oceans Compact road map (see annex III to the present report).