Statement by Ambassador Yuri Gala López, Chargé d´Affaires of the Cuban Permanent Mission, on behalf of G-77 + China, at the adoption session of the BBNJ Agreement. New York, 19 June, 2023.

Madam President Rena Lee,


Dear colleagues,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the G77 and China.

Today is an exceedingly important day for biodiversity. Nearly 20 years since the start of discussions for the conservation of the marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, we adopt an essential agreement for the imperative governance of biodiversity across more than 45% of the Earth.

It has been said that this successful result has been a victory of diplomacy and multilateralism. In fact, that has been the case. However, the adoption of the text we are celebrating today has been first and foremost a victory of developing countries, who stood together to shape an ambitious and very progressive treaty.

The force of developing countries, united in the Group of 77 and China, is the reason why the treaty we are seeing today is totally different from the version that was almost closed in last August. It was the strength of this Group that made possible the insertion of a truly balanced model of benefit sharing from the utilization of marine genetic resources and digital sequence information. We should highlight that this last model was even absent in the draft considered during IGC-5, and it was the G77&China who pressed for its inclusion, considering this is an important part of marine biological scientific research.

In a similar way, it is to be credited to developing countries the inclusion of the principle of common heritage of humankind in the final agreement, which is a fundamental conception that needs to be rooted in every action in the high seas, including scientific research activity. Since the very beginning of the Intergovernmental Conferences on BBNJ until the very last hours of negotiation, developing countries had to struggle to introduce this notion that certainly represents a progress in terms of international law.

These cases are just some of the two major achievements attributable to developing countries. In a similar way, the areas of capacity building, funding arrangements and many of the provisions in cross-cutting issues were shaped by the delegations of our Group.

Each and every single aspect in these areas was obtained by struggling against the immense pressures to which developing countries were subjected and despite the tough position shown by our partners. How was it possible then that we managed to be so decisive? It was because of the belief that grew among ourselves that we are stronger together and that united we can shape the world.

Madame President:

It has been an honor for Cuba to lead the Group of 77 and China during this last and decisive stage of the BBNJ negotiations. We spared no efforts or energies to give the best of ourselves to the Group, and in return, we have received a commitment towards the unity that remained solid until the end of this process.

We are deeply grateful for the support we have received from all members of the Group and for the bonds that have been forged and that will never be broken. We emphasize that without the unwavering commitment of all members of the Group, the achievement of our goals would not have been possible and we would not have the document we are approving today.

Our appreciation goes as well to the previous Chairmanships of the G77/China, who paved the road for the coordination and cohesion of the Group in this process. Certainly, without their legacy our task would have been much more difficult, if not impossible.

We have to recognize as well the substantive, technical and scientific support that we received from several advisors to the Chairmanship, mainly Mr. Daniel Stewart, a committed advocate for International Law, and the scientists Siva Thambisetty, Paul Oldham and Teresa Cruz, whose ideas are imprinted as well in the final text.

Our acknowledgement goes to you as well Madame President, for your commitment, your kind temper and determination. Without your guidance this long journey would not have had the same result. This success is also because of you, for which you will be remembered.

Now, a new path is opened for the establishment of the BBNJ regime. We look forward to the international community to broadly support the ratification campaign to ensure the swift entry into force of the treaty, and those efforts shall be assured by significant resource mobilization guaranteeing essential support for developing countries to create the required capacities for them to ratify the instrument.

A new era for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans starts today. We, from the Group of 77 and China, are proud of our contribution to that.

I thank you.