The United States thanks the Government of Chile for its hospitality and its excellent hosting of this very important meeting of the Commission. Chair, we are thankful for your leadership and the leadership of the Chairs and Co-Chairs of the informal groups. We are deeply disappointed that we have not made progress on establishing a representative system of MPAs at this special meeting, such as by development of a roadmap that would lead to the designation of marine protected areas in the CAMLR Convention area.

We have listened carefully to the robust discussions and believe there could be common ground among most of the Commission Members. We heard all Members express the common view that MPAs are an effective and important tool for meeting the Convention objective to conserve Antarctic marine living resources. We appear to diverge on whether CCAMLR should use this tool to achieve its conservation objective. The U.S. delegation is quite concerned that some statements made by one Member could signal that country is retreating from the consensus CCAMLR commitment to establish a representative system of MPAs.

The United States is convinced that a representative system of MPAs is necessary to achieve the objective of the Convention. Failure to fulfil this effort could lead to us failing to fully meet the objective of the Convention. We also risk failing to ensure the long-term ecological viability of Antarctic marine ecosystems and protection of Antarctic marine biodiversity. There are no winners when we fail. In fact, the real loser is Antarctic marine living resources.

The United States remains flexible on ways we can go about achieving this goal. As we stated before, we are open to discussions to improve the General Framework (i.e., CM91-04), but we must also achieve the end goal of establishing a representative system of MPAs. As reflected in our joint statement with other delegations, the United States is interested in continuing this discussion in advance of October, and hopes that we can make real, substantive progress towards achieving our common goal.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future