DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “I am grateful for the United Arab Emirates' formal acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. As host of the upcoming 13th Ministerial Conference to be held in February 2024, and with its affirmation of this historic agreement for healthier oceans, the UAE is providing invaluable support for the work of the WTO and its continuing efforts to ensure the multilateral trading system contributes to sustainable development.”

Ambassador Al Jarman said: “The United Arab Emirates is proud and honoured to be one of the early member countries to join the international efforts to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Aware of the harmful impact of overfishing and overcapacity and the urgent need to protect oceans from the widespread depletion of the world's fish stocks, the UAE has formally accepted this long-awaited and historical Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.”

“The UAE attaches great importance to environmental sustainability, as we are preparing to host two landmark events: the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 30 November – 12 December 2023) and the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, end of February 2024. In this regard, we expect a meaningful outcome on trade and sustainability in Abu Dhabi; we therefore call other countries to deposit their instruments of acceptance so as to reach two thirds of the membership, for the benefit of humanity,” he said.

Adopted by consensus at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Geneva on 12-17 June 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies sets new binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world's fish stocks.  In addition, the Agreement recognizes the needs of developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.

The Agreement prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks, and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas. Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13, to be held in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.

The full text of the Agreement can be accessed here. The list of members that have submitted their acceptance of the Agreement is available here.

Information for members on how to accept the Protocol of Amendment is available here.




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