UN adopts historic treaty to protect high seas

UN adopts historic treaty to protect high seas

Mon, 19/06/2023 - 20:59
Posted in:

The landmark accord will establish a legal framework to extend swathes of environmental protections to international waters.

he UN’s 193 Member States adopted a landmark legally binding marine biodiversity agreement on Monday

The Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty, widely known as the High Seas Treaty, establishes the first-ever framework for governing practices like fishing, mining and oil extraction in international waters, an issue that has threatened oceanic ecosystems across the globe with little oversight.

Nearly 200 nations signed the document, officially known as the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty, after agreeing to its terms in March following roughly 15 years of discussion. "You have delivered," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the member nations Monday upon the treaty's adoption. "And you have done so at a critical time."

You have delivered.

Binding accord

The legally binding accord outlines rules to protect biodiversity in waters outside national boundaries. The legislation establishes large-scale marine protected areas in international waters, which protect biodiversity beyond the 12-mile stretches of water off coastlines protected by individual countries.

The treaty is meant “to prevent a cascading of species extinctions” brought on by overfishing, oil extraction, deep-sea mining and other activities with environmental impacts that occur in the high seas, Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Oceans, told CBS.

The treaty will create a new body to manage conservation of ocean life and establish marine protected areas in the high seas.

Climate change is disrupting weather patterns and ocean currents, raising sea temperatures, and altering marine ecosystems and the species living there, and marine biodiversity is under attack from overfishing, over-exploitation and ocean acidification.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

United Nations

Press releases from Divers Alert Network (DAN)