UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME
PROGRAMME DES NATIONS UNIES POUR L’ENVIRONNEMENT
P.O. BOX 30552
CABLE ADDRESS: UNITERRA NAIROBI ROOM DC2-803
UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. lOO17
TELEPHONE: (212) 963-8139
CABLE ADDRESS: UNATIONS NEWYORK
To Whom it May Concern:
I am writing to make you aware of an environmental victory and an environmental challenge. At stake is nothing less than the entire ocean’s resources and biodiversity.
On June 30, 1992, United Nations Resolution 46/215 will go into effect. This landmark resolution calls for a global moratorium on the destructive practice of deep-sea driftnetting, which has been shown to be a non-sustainable fishing technique capable of causing the eradication of commercially valuable fisheries as well as the destruction of hundreds of other seagoing species. The UN moratorium is a vital step towards saving the seas from destruction.
As the Regional Director of a Programme which is directly concerned with the productive capacity and environmental sustainability of the oceans, I have observed the progress of the Driftnet issue; which was brought to international prominence by Earthtrust’s expeditions, research documents, and video productions of 1988-89. Despite its comparatively small size as an international organization, Earthtrust maintained credible pressure on the issue in the face of intense lobbying by driftnetting nations; building a network of concerned individuals, businesses, legislators, and others. The UN Driftnet resolution of 1989, the follow-up resolution of 1990, and the final defining resolution in November 1991 are results of Earthtrust brining this issue before the international community; an inspirational victory showing the power of good research and effective presentation.
We are now only scant months from the beginning of the United Nations driftnet moratorium-and yet there is no independent verification mechanism in existence. Thus, this historic international environmental resolution may be effectively subverted. I urge you not to let that happen.
As far as I know, the only mechanism now proposed which may credibly provide the information necessary to implement the full Moratorium is the concept of the DriftNetwork planned by Earthtrust. The DriftNetwork will be a network of individuals and organizations worldwide which tackles the difficult task of tracking the world’s driftnet boats, filling a necessary gap until other international enforcement mechanisms are developed. Earthtrust would seem to have the background and the motivation to create this network; as well as a demonstrated history of granting to other organizations with high efficiency. The level of funding necessary to accomplish this will be considerable; but at stake is nothing less than the seas themselves.
I offer these comments to aid in your decision-making. Writing a letter such as this is not a common thing for me to do, but I believe it is important that I speak out on this issue at this crucial time.
Yours in the service of the Earth,
NOEL J. BROWN