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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

United Nations reach accord to protect marine life on high seas

by Daria Blackwell 21 Mar 2023 13:33 UTC
United Nations reach accord to protect marine life on high seas © Daria Blackwell

After almost 20 years of talks, United Nations member states agreed on a legal framework for parts of the ocean outside national boundaries in the historic High Seas Treaty.

Saturday night in New York, after days of gruelling round-the-clock talks, UN member states finally agreed on a treaty to protect the high seas.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea came into force in 1994, before marine biodiversity was a well-established concept. An updated framework to protect marine life in the regions outside national boundary waters, known as the high seas, had been discussed for more than 20 years, but previous efforts to reach an agreement had repeatedly stalled.

For the first time, United Nations members have agreed on a unified treaty to protect biodiversity in the high seas - nearly half the planet's surface.

The treaty will create a new body to manage the conservation of ocean life and establish marine protected areas on the high seas. This treaty will help to knit together the different regional treaties to address threats and concerns across species' ranges and that is critical to achieving the UN Biodiversity Conference's recent pledge to protect 30% of the planet's waters, as well as its land, by 2030.

The question now is how the ambitious treaty will be implemented.

The EU has announced more than €800M in funding toward its 39 commitments for action for the year 2023, confirming its strong engagement for international ocean governance. The EU's commitments for action cover Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), marine pollution, climate change, sustainable fisheries, sustainable blue economies, and maritime security. In addition to the commitments, the EU is also joining the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Action Alliance.

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This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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