“The action is a victory for multilateralism”,– said Secretary-General António Guterres congratulating the UN member countries for finalizing a text to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, calling it a “breakthrough” after nearly two decades of talks.

“It is the global efforts to counter the destructive trends facing ocean health, now and for generations to come,” said the UN chief in a statement issued by his Spokesperson, hours after the deal was struck at UN Headquarters in New York, where tough negotiations on the draft treaty have been underway for the past two weeks.

The agreement reached by delegates of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, better known by its acronym BBNJ, is the culmination of UN-facilitated talks that began in 2004.

The United Nations High Seas Treaty is a legal framework being developed to manage better and protect the high seas, which cover more than two-thirds of the world’s oceans and play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate and supporting marine biodiversity.

The treaty aims to fill gaps in the existing legal framework for the high seas, which is fragmented and lacks the necessary mechanisms to address the many challenges facing this global commons, including overfishing, climate change, marine pollution, and biodiversity loss.

One of the treaty’s key provisions is establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) on the high seas, which would be designated and managed by an international body. These MPAs would help protect vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as deep-sea corals and seamounts, and provide critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.

Another critical aspect of the treaty is creating a mechanism for sharing the benefits of marine genetic resources, such as medicines and new biotechnologies, discovered on the high seas. The treaty would establish a central repository of information on these resources and set out principles for equitable sharing and use.

Furthermore, the treaty would also establish a framework for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The same would include provisions for monitoring and assessing the state of marine biodiversity and addressing threats to its conservation and sustainable use.

The treaty is expected to be implemented through a series of protocols to establish the specific rules and procedures for carrying out its provisions. The said protocols will be negotiated by member states and address issues such as establishing and managing marine protected areas, sharing benefits from marine genetic resources, and monitoring and assessing marine biodiversity.

The treaty will be monitored by an international body, likely to be established through the treaty body itself. This body would oversee the treaty’s implementation, including establishing the marine protected areas (MPA) and sharing benefits from marine genetic resources. It would also be responsible for monitoring the state of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and taking action to address threats to its conservation and sustainable use.

Finally, the United Nations High Seas Treaty represents a critical step in managing and protecting the high seas. Its provisions on marine protected areas, the sharing of benefits from marine genetic resources, and the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity are all essential for ensuring this global commons’ long-term health and productivity. As the treaty is implemented and monitored, it will be necessary for member states to work together to ensure that it effectively achieves its goals and protects the high seas for generations to come.

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *