Ministers divided on Manado Oceans Declaration


Neil Ray, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Bangkok

Published on
May 13, 2009

A rift is developing among the ministers debating the Manado Oceans Declaration at this week's World Oceans Conference in Manado, Indonesia. The focus of the five-day conference is to discuss the oceans' role in the world's changing climate, and more than 120 countries are participating.

The ministers were expected to sign the declaration so that it could be placed on the agenda for the United Nations' meeting on climate change in December.

However, the differences are becoming apparent as developed nations appear to be less than committed to developing nations because they fear they will be legally bound to finance programs in the developing countries.

Some of the declaration's wording has been changed, and some has been completely ruled out. The original draft to be submitted to the Adaptation Board of the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) suggested that a financing scheme be included for ocean management in the context of climate change.

Mary Glakin, head of U.S. delegation, refused to say whether the United States would push for an inclusion of the Manado Oceans Declaration at the UN talks or agree to a financing scheme.

In a separate statement, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton supported the World Oceans Conference.

"We must do more to protect our oceans and preserve the long-term health of our planet and its people," she said. "The World Ocean Conference provides an opportunity for representatives from many nations to unite around this common concern, and I urge you to make the most of this time together."

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