United Nations moves forward with high seas marine biodiversity protection plans
The five year United Nations process to develop a new legally binding international agreement for the conservation of marine biodiversity on the high seas (areas outside of national jurisdiction) continues to move closer to reality as UN Member States recently recommended the process move forward and convene an intergovernmental treaty conference. While the dates of this conference have yet to be established, the process moves the United Nations closer to establishing an instrument that better protects the 64% of the world’s oceans located beyond countries’ 200 km marine territories where international laws insufficiently address modern day issues including overfishing, seabed mining, and other extractive activities.
The four major aspects being discussed as part of the new instrument are the development of high seas Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s); environmental impact assessments; marine genetic resources including benefit sharing; and capacity building and marine technology transfer.
According to the High Seas Alliance (HSA), a consortium of 36 environmental NGOs and the IUCN, a new treaty would provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way nearly half the planet is protected and managed and its importance cannot be overstated. The group has advocated for the development of high seas protection throughout the process that began in 2002. Its work is aimed at building a strong common voice and constituency for the conservation of the high seas in order to strengthen high seas governance, and protect the almost 50 percent of the planet that is beyond national jurisdiction.
Please click here to read the HSA’s recent press briefing on the UN high seas process.
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