I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its 27 Member States.
First of all Mr Chairman, let me express our condolences for the decease of the member of the Commission, Mr. Tamaki, and convey the gratitude and appreciation of the EU and its 27 Member States for the work he performed in the Commission in his 9 year term of office.
We are grateful to the acting Chairman of the CLCS for his report on the progress of work of the Commission related to its twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh sessions, including the views expressed on the workload of the Commission.
We would also like to renew our gratitude to all members of the Informal Working Group for their useful work which contributes to inform the debate on proposed measures intended to face the matter we are dealing with, and for the recommendation presented to SPLOS in the form of a draft decision.
The EU and its 27 Member States wish to highlight once again the importance of the work of the Commission for coastal States and the international community as a whole and we want to stress again that the heavy workload of the Commission, and the delays affecting submitting States, are matters of great concern to the Member States. Furthermore, we acknowledge the need to ensure that:
(i) the Commission can perform its functions under the Convention effectively, timely and ensure the high level of quality and expertise required; and we look forward to the improvement of the swiftness and efficiency of the Commission’s work as it gains more experience
(ii) the Commission members can fulfil their duties effectively, including full participation in the sessions of the Commission and the meetings of the sub-commissions, taking into account the need for nominating States to defray their expenses.
In this regard, we welcome the draft decision put forward by the Informal Working Group. We are open to the possibility of extending the time the Commission needs to spend in New York, providing that this is sustainable for current and future nominating States, ensures access for developing States through the Trust Fund, and can be accommodated as appropriate within overall existing resources.
Furthermore, we would like to encourage States to contribute to the Voluntary Trust Fund to help defray the costs of the CLCS. There is also scope for more bilateral assistance in order to help in particular least developed countries and small islands developing states in the preparation of their submissions.
The European Union and its 27 Member States would finally like to pay tribute to DOALOS for the work it has undertaken in this matter and the practical guidance it gives through, inter alia, the publication on its website of Practical suggestions concerning the final preparation and deposit of submissions.
Thank you, Mr President.