I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
We wish to congratulate Co-chairs on their appointment and to assure you both of our constructive engagement in our work this week.
The European Union and its Member States welcome the progress achieved to date within the Regular Process. We are happy to note that since the last meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole in 2012 four more workshops in support of the Regular Process have taken place – in Belgium, Mozambique, the United States and Australia. We would like to thank the host Governments concerned for the generosity and commitment demonstrated by them in support of the Process, and we look forward to hearing their reports on the outcomes of those workshops.
We welcome the establishment of a dedicated World Ocean Assessment website which will both facilitate communication with the public and provide a forum for experts and contributors to collaborate on the drafting of the Assessment itself. This is an important and valuable tool both for publicising developments within the Regular Process and ensuring it delivers the outcome we all want.
We are pleased that the Bureau has approved the Guidance for Contributors document prepared by the Group of Experts and that the Regular Process has now moved to the 2nd Phase of its First Cycle. We would like to thank the members of the Group of Experts who have agreed to continue in their roles for the 2nd Phase. In order to aid this valuable work, the EU will fund two upcoming meetings of the Group of Experts in New York. We look forward now to the commencement of the writing of the Assessment itself. As revealed by the Workshops conducted to date, a wealth of data already exists globally which will be invaluable in the drafting process.
I would like to mention at this point that the Commission of the EU has agreed to provide funding through UNEP to assist in meeting the costs of a further regional workshop and in meetings of the Group of Experts.
While much remains to be done within the Regular Process we believe a good start has been made and we look forward to the completion of the 1st World Ocean Assessment by the deadline of the end of next year.