Speech requesting approval by Parliament of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Fisheries Subsidies Agreement in terms of section 231(2) of Constitution, 1996
Speech by ACDP MP, Wayne Thring

Issued by the ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

ACDP supports Fisheries Subsidies Agreement to help curb depleted fish stocks

Feb 20, 2024

“Honourable House Chairperson,

This report was brought before the DTIC Portfolio Committee for ratification of the completed first phase of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies as recommended by Cabinet. It sets new binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks, including South Africa’s.

The Agreement recognises and provides for special and differential treatment to address the needs of developing and least-developed countries, albeit in the form of transitional periods. It also establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help these countries implement the obligations, and it prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks and subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.

While supporting the recommendation, the ACDP is concerned about the implementation of this Treaty, as 110 ratifications are required for entry into force, yet to date, only 52 member countries have ratified.

The ACDP is keenly aware that currently at the WHO, there are plans underway to amend the International Health Regulations of 2005 which, if passed, will:

  • erode the absolute sovereignty of our country;
  • remove our people’s right to participate in health decisions;
  • have implications of adopted/proposed IHR amendments;
  • see the WHO acting ultra vires, outside of its scope; and
  • cause the WHO to violate its constitution and processes.

Just as the WTO Fisheries Subsidies Treaty is brought before this Parliament for ratification, the ACDP demands that the International Health Regulations of 2005 be brought before both Houses for debate and ratification, and that our health outcomes are not determined by unelected WHO officials.

I thank you.”

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